Senator Denis O’Donovan has expressed his concern about road conditions in West Cork.  He says tourists could be put off by the state of the roads in the region and is calling for more Government funding to carry out repair work.

“We’re heading into the busy summer season when thousands of tourists flock to West Cork to enjoy the sights and scenery, and with the addition of the Wild Atlantic Way driving route, I’m hopeful that tourism numbers can be increased.  However, I’m extremely concerned about the condition of many roads in the area and the impact they may have on repeat tourism.  Millions of euros of damage was caused to roads on the Sheep’s Head peninsula and Cape Clear island as a result of the winter storms, but many of the routes have not been fully repaired”, commented Senator O’Donovan.

“The Wild Atlantic Way was officially launched earlier this year in a bid to attract more visitors to the west and south coasts.  However, the world’s longest touring route could be jeopardised if the roads are badly damaged and in poor condition.  A Council ban on temporary staff was lifted in the aftermath of Storm Darwin to carry out repair work, but the Government recruitment embargo is preventing it from taking on permanent road maintenance workers, and slowing down the process.

“Tourism is the lifeblood for many businesses in West Cork, and it’s imperative that every effort is made to ensure that the industry is not put at risk.  Tourist visits will be negatively impacted if they are unable to get from one place to the next, or if the road conditions are so bad that their cars are damaged.  We need to be putting the most positive face of the south west forward, but it’s being hampered by the bad roads along the route.

“The poor condition of the roads and footpaths is not only affecting tourism, but is having a major impact on locals in West Cork.  It’s an issue that has been coming up on the doorsteps over the past few weeks.  Residents are angry and feel abandoned by the County Council and Government, which has left them with cracked and dangerous roads and footpaths, without allocating adequate funding to have proper repair work carried out.

“I would urge the Government to allocate more funding to the affected areas to allow local authorities to repair all roads, lanes and thoroughfares as a matter of urgency so that locals and tourists in West Cork can travel on roads that are fit for purpose”.