Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon has called on the Transport & Tourism Minister to use common sense and reverse a decision to ban boats from landing on Inishmurray island. The Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport has written to boat owners warning them they face prosecution if they land on the island. It claims there are health and safety issues.

Deputy Scanlon raised the issue in the Dáil this week.

“This intervention from the Department is extremely worrying and has the potential to threaten tourism in the area. Tourists head out to Inishmurray every summer to visit the historical site and try and trace their roots. These trips are particularly popular with American visitors and many boat owners have tours booked over the summer season”, said Deputy Scanlon.

“This announcement is as a major blow and appears to have come out of nowhere. It will have a serious financial impact on local boat owners and may even cause reputational damage for the area.

“One man who contacted me had spent €200,000 on a boat. What is he meant to do now?

“To date, there has not been an accident on any tours to the island. I cannot understand the decision to ban all boats and tours. If there is an issue with the landing area then the Department needs to ensure that it is remedied without delay. The tourist season should not be threatened.

“I am calling on Minister Ross to get to grips with the situation and ensure that the visits to Inishmurray island can proceed as normal this summer”.