A Government backbencher has called for the Wild Atlantic Way route to be extended into East Cork and Waterford as soon as possible to help boost visitor numbers to the picturesque region.
Fine Gael TD John Deasy made the call after suggesting the Ireland’s Ancient East initiative, which was launched on Tuesday, “in no way” promotes the coastline in his county.
Speaking during a Dáil debate on the issue the Waterford TD said while the Ancient East venture has its merits, the “priority” for his region is the coastline.
Calling for the Wild Atlantic Way initiative to be extended from its conclusion in Kinsale on the fringe of West Cork into East Cork and Waterford, he said it was time for the benefits of the tourist project to be shared with other communities.
Responding to the comments yesterday, minister of state for tourism Michael Ring said the Wild Atlantic Way’s route was decided after an “extensive review” of 366 submissions from interested parties last year.
However, the Fine Gael TD said he was open to hearing a presentation on the need to extend it into Waterford and would meet with Mr Deasy today to outline when this would take place.
While the potential extension of the project into East Cork and Waterford would benefit more communities and help to link the Wild Atlantic Way with the Ireland’s Ancient East initiative, it is understood there are concerns it could also damage local economies dependent on the existing route.
Tension is likely to focus in West Cork, with business groups previously stressing the value of being a start or end point of the route.
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