Tayto Park gets green light for 'iconic' €14m roller-coaster

The Cú Chulainn roller coaster at Tayto Park, Co Meath, which opened in 2015. Planners say a new roller coaster is vital to ‘the longer-term viability of the park. Picture Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Ireland’s largest theme park, Tayto Park, has secured planning permission for an “iconic” €14m roller-coaster ride.

The ride, called ‘Coaster 2021’ in planning documents, will help projected visits to Tayto Park increase 15%, from 630,000 in 2019 to 725,000 in 2023.

Tayto Park is aiming to build the attraction next year and open it in 2021.

Meath County Council has given the green light to the project, attaching 26 conditions. ‘Coaster 2021’ will be 32m high, like the park’s 1,082m-long Cú Chulainn ride, but will be 400m longer.

The planning authority gave the the go-ahead in spite of a small number of objections from locals.

However, the opposition to the roller coaster — which is expected to create 40 full-time and part-time jobs — raises the threat that the decision may be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

A 189-page environmental impact statement (EIS), lodged with the planning applications, outlines the stark need for ‘Coaster 2021’ for the future of Tayto Park.

The document says if the Tayto Park operators do not add a major attraction at this time, “the longer-term viability of the park would be brought into question”.

Reporting the breakdown of visitor numbers to Tayto Park, the EIS states that 33% are from Dublin, 27% from Northern Ireland, 16% from Meath, 2% from Great Britain, 1% from Europe, and the remainder from the rest of Ireland.

In 2017, Tayto Park recorded an 8% rise in pre-tax profits, to €3.65m, as revenues increased by 5%, to €17.533m, or an average of €92,770 a day in revenues for each of the 189 days Tayto Park was open 2017.

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