Councillors from Malin Head and the Gaeltacht have criticised the lack of amenities at some of Donegal’s most iconic locations.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Martin McDermott said he learned last week that Fáilte Ireland wants to see a broader plan for Malin Head improvements before funding a proposal for toilets and parking that Donegal County Council submitted more than a year ago. Earlier this year, the county council granted planning permission for the project, considered to be phase two of proposed Malin Head improvements.
Cllr. McDermott said he will ask Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe, to intervene.
“I think the minister has to step in here,” Cllr. McDermott said. He said, “Malin Head and Inishowen, in my mind, have been left behind for years.”
In the same way, independent Cllr. Micheal Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said developed lay-bys for visitors are needed at Errigal and Dún Luiche, as well as other scenic Donegal sites. He said the amenities should not be delayed while broader plans for the area are developed.
“If you go anywhere in Europe or England or Scotland, there are scores of lay-bys that are properly maintained with seating,” he said. “We don’t have that here.”
Cllr. Mac Giolla Easbuig said that while he used the example of Dún Luiche and Errigal, there is a lack of these amenities across the county.
“These are very, very basic things that tourists expect, to be able to pull into the side of the road in a safe place, and we don’t really have that,” he said. The councillor said those facilities -- a lay-by served with benches and a place to dispose of rubbish -- would also benefit Donegal people when driving around the county.
Cllr. Mac Giolla Easbuig said he was looking for, “some nice spots where people would like to pull in, stop and stretch their legs, maybe have a picnic”, saying there was a lack of foresight in relation to these services.
He said the Wild Atlantic Way tourism route was “fantastic”, but in many locations along the scenic coastal route, “the basic services are not there”.
Cllr. Mac Giolla Easbuig said he understood that planning under way for development of the Errigal area will take those locations into account. “But that’s years away,” he said. “That’s years away.”