If the access road to Tullan Strand is not re-instated as soon as possible, there could be a lot of “derelict buildings in Bundoran” a town councillor has warned.
Sinn Fein councillor Michael McMahon told a town council meeting lst night that even a “temporary access’ would help revive one of the town’s greatest tourist jewels.
But he warned that business in Bundoran could be dealt a crippling blow, if the access was not restored.
Tullan Strand has been cut off for walkers and surfers since Storm Brigid battered the seaside town in early February.
The Tullan Strand factor is worth an estimated E2.5 m to the town every year from the surfing and allied tourist trade, but that could be jeopardized if a solution is not found soon.
Fine Gael Council chairperson Denis Connolly said that they had been debating the issue for 20 years and she now wanted some definitive answers.
“Tullan Strand is part of who we are and part of what we are.
“It is a place very close to the hearts of the people of Bundoran.
“And just when we seemed to be making some progress in developing it along comes nature and changes everything.
“It is one of our greatest assets and we cannot overstress its importance.”
The chairperson said she wanted definite answers from Donegal County Council as to when the access would be re-opened.
Sinn Fein councillor Dermott Doherty said that the Tullan Strand factor was just as important to Bundoran as Waterworld or any of its other assets.
Mr Doherty pointed out that there was a right of way from Finner Graveyard to the Strand that could be re-opened or developed.
Town Engineer Liam Murray said that the cost of repairs for damages in county Donegal was E2.8m and the County Council had been given E1.38m.
He added that they had got 50% of what they had asked for.
“We are waiting for the Office of Public Works to get back to us.”
Town Manager Garry Martin said the County Council were looking at a number of options but they would entail a “big demand on resources”.
He added that they had to engage with ten to twelve stakeholders including the Army and various landowners in the Tullan Strand area.
The Manager added that they had E150,000 to deal with the issue temporarily, but warned that this might stymie future development.
He said that the capital programme should begin by the end of the year.
But he added that any repair work had to also deal with environmental issues.
Mr Martin said that Tullan Strand was an important part of the infrastructure of Bundoran.
The Manager said he hoped to have more information for the councilors at a meeting in April.