Week’s event; Dublin tourism office, Carlow aviation, Aer Lingus and the Global Greening

14th February, 2015

The week began with the opening of a new state-of-the-art visitor centre in Suffolk St in the heart of Dublin city. The new cutting edge Tourism Information Office offers a blend of traditional interaction with Failte Ireland staff, combined with an array of technological fora, such as interactive pods and social media walls, designed to deliver relevant and high-tech info for those in search of the most exciting things to do in the city.


Later in the week I paid a visit to Carlow for a very busy day, which involved addressing a meeting of the Carlow Tourism Forum, a visit to the county museum and officiating at the opening of a €5.5million aerospace facility at Carlow IT. Aviation has a critical part to play in our economy and the development of this Centre for Aerospace Engineering, which is the only third-level facility of its kind in the country, will provide undergraduates in pilot studies, aerospace and aircraft systems engineering with an opportunity  to acquire the most up-to-date industry skills, helping to secure their future in aviation for the years to come.


As debate rolled on this week about the future of the Government’s stake in Aer Lingus, I met with Willie Walsh, the CEO of IAG – the company proposing to make an offer for the airline; its advisers and the board of Aer Lingus. We are still in early stages of evaluation with no formal offer having yet been made. The Government is keeping the matter under consideration, with jobs and access primary considerations in whatever decision is to be made.


This week also saw Tourism Ireland, myself and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, announce the line-up for the Global Greening that takes place around the world for St. Patrick’s Day. With the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, the Sacre-Coeur in Paris and the Colosseum in Rome all added to the list for this year, our potential to remind the rest of the world about what Ireland has to offer, while instilling a tremendous sense of pride in our people here at home, is greater than ever.


More locally I attended two public meetings this week; one in Claremont to discuss planning issues surrounding the retention of a telephone mast and the second was a forum to discuss policing issues in Cabra West.


I was out meeting the people of Glasnevin this week. I also spent a portion of Friday meeting officials from O’Devaney Utd to discuss their plans for a new permanent football pitch that will cater for the number of their senior teams.


I visited the site for the new Grangegorman DIT Sports Campus on the former Hannay site in Cabra and had the chance to tour Fr. Scully House following the completion of negotiations between Dublin City Council and the Catholic Housing Aid Society on the rent to be paid by the new tenants of the complex.


Finally, I was delighted that Councillor Ray McAdam secured almost €900,000 in City Council funding for road and footpath improvement works across the Inner City, with places like Ossory Road, East Road, Royal Canal Bank and Ballybough Road, among others, set to benefit from essential maintenance and improvement works across this year.