Week’s events; From Kilkenny to Killarney

28th March, 2015

This week brought me right across the country from Kilkenny to Killarney and back again. On Monday, I was in Kilkenny Castle with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, to launch the Government’s tourism policy for the next decade. Entitled ‘People, Place and Policy – Growing tourism to 2025’, the document sets ambitious but achievable targets to grow our tourism sector to €5 billion per year from €3.5 billion in 2014; to support 250,000 jobs, compared with an estimated 200,000 at present; and to grow the sector to the point where we welcome 10 million overseas visits to Ireland, compared to 7.6 million last year. This policy adopted by Government will ensure that tourism continues to play a key role, as it has over the last number of years, in the further development of our economy.


Later that week, I travelled to Wicklow to address the CAPA conference where aviation CEOs from all over the world assembled to discuss what is happening in the sector. Then it was onto the Transport Ireland Conference 2015, where I gave a keynote speech in respect of our transport sector and, in particular, the funding of such now and into the future (You can read the text here: https://paschaldonohoe.ie/speech-to-transport-ireland-conference-2015/).


I then headed to West Cork to meet my colleague, Fine Gael Deputy, Jim Daly, and a number of local tourism groups to discuss the best way forward for the promotion of tourism in the region. Cork is in the unique position of being placed on the Wild Atlantic Way, as well as being part of Fáilte Ireland’s new proposition for the south and east of the country. This initiative will see this region’s heritage and culture progressed as the driver of tourism in the area in the years to come. I will be making an announcement in respect of this in the coming weeks.


It was then off to Kenmare for the opening of the new ring road which is already having a significant and positive impact on the region, before heading to county Kerry to commemorate 100 years of service at the Irish Coast Guard Valentia Marine Rescue Sub-Centre, where in 1915 some of the last messages to the ocean liner Lusitania were transmitted.


While in Kerry I hosted a seminar on the Wild Atlantic Way and addressed the Cantillion conference on entrepreneurship in tourism, which was attended in great numbers by key stakeholders from the sector in Kerry and beyond. On my trip, I also addressed Fine Gael AGMs in Dunmanyway in Cork and Killarney in Kerry to hear directly from the members about how they view the Government, its performance, and Fine Gael’s position within it.


I met with the Coast Guard service men and women at Doolin the following day, where I officially opened the new facility there. The work carried out by the Coast Guard, much of which is done on a voluntary basis, is exemplary. It was great to open this new building which will enable staff to carry out their life saving work in state-of-the-art surroundings that are also architecturally sensitive to the landscape around it.