County Louth and the East of Ireland is consistently being touted as the place to go for those visiting or touring Ireland with its rich heritage and the launch of Ireland’s Ancient East programme aimed to attract tourists to the area. Fáilte Ireland believe this initiative will increase the visitors to the area by 25% and has described the area as a ‘touring region’. Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Cunningham wants tourists to not only visit County Louth but to stay and spend their Euros and boost the local economy.
At November’s County Council meeting, the Clogherhead councillor asked for ‘serviced parking ’ for touring camper vans. Cllr Cunningham said “what this means is, if a camper van is touring the area they can go to one of these ‘serviced parking bays’ and hook up their van overnight. They would ‘pay as they go’ and it would be similar to the power point for electric cars in Ardee. It gives the tourist freedom to just plug in and charge up without having to return to a camp site. If we could provide these bays throughout the county along with fresh water facilities for camper vans it would boost our local economy and encourage others to visit the area. The bays would pay for themselves.”
Tom Cunningham explained how he has noticed “an increasing number of non-Irish registered Camper vans especially around Annagassan Harbour and Port Oriel in Clogherhead since before the summer months. These people should be encouraged to remain in the area and so need to be catered for and where better than our wee county for breath taking scenery and amazing hospitality.”
The County Louth Tourism and Heritage Action Plan states ‘we aim to encourage more visitors to the county by exploiting the benefits of Ireland’s Ancient east’ and Tom Cunningham believes these ‘safer parking bays’ is a means of doing just that.
Cllr Cunningham said “it also says in the Tourism and Heritage Action Plan that it is a priority to deliver a ‘better visitor experience’ and create a demand for tourists to return and why wouldn’t they want to return to County Louth? But we need to be prepared to cater for them and these bays are a very simple way to do this.”
The response from the Council was that there were already three static caravan parks and one touring caravan park in County Louth.
Cllr Cunningham said “there is no point in publishing Action Plans if we are not going to see them through. I am determined to encourage more tourists to the county and am determined to pursue this.”