Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East Anne Rabbitte says the Lakelands region is being ignored by the Government’s tourism strategy, despite it being a key commitment in the Programme for Government. Junior Tourism Minister Patrick O’Donovan failed to mention the Ireland’s Lakelands initiative in his Budget speech last week, while name-checking the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin – A Breath of Fresh Air.
Deputy Rabbitte commented, “I have been expressing serious concerns for months now about the lack of progress on developing the Ireland’s Lakelands brand. We’ve seen how successful the Wild Atlantic Way has been in attracting tourists to the west of the country and that model should be the basis for tourism initiatives across the country.
“The Ireland’s Lakelands strategy was proposed in the Programme for Government when it was published in May but there have been no references to it since then. The fact that every other tourism initiative was mentioned in Minister O’Donovan’s Budget speech while Ireland’s Lakelands was blatantly omitted speaks volumes of this Government’s commitment to the project.
“East Galway and the Midlands could benefit greatly from a targeted tourism strategy. This region has so much to offer – from historical ruins to forest parks and walking trails to fabulous lakes and waterways. However, it’s being totally ignored.
“The Budget allocation for 2017 should be used to support and develop brands. The Wild Atlantic Way has been a tremendous success and we should be striving to replicate that here in the East Galway and Midlands. The Government must follow through on its commitments and I have written to the Minister asking him for an update on the progress of Ireland’s Lakelands to date”.