Week’s events; Tourism, maritime safety, threatened industrial action

17th April, 2015

This week marked a number of positives for tourism. Earlier in the week Fáilte Ireland’s Visitor Attitudes Survey 2014 found that of the 1,500 overseas visitors questioned about their Irish holiday, 55% said that their trip met all their expectations and a further 44% said their holiday exceeded expectations. Furthermore, where value for money is concerned 54% said they found good or very good value in Ireland (up from 51%) and just 6% found value for money to be poor – down from 41% in 2007! We also saw from the CSO that the number of domestic holiday trips in Ireland grew by 3.6% in 2014 compared to 2013. And that trips in the fourth quarter of 2014, which is a traditionally quiet time for domestic tourism, grew by an encouraging 10%. This reflects the growth and confidence in the economy as more people get back to work and are in a stronger financial position to spend money in the domestic economy.


Myself and Minister Ring also launch a very exciting initiative on behalf of Failte Ireland.  Ireland’s Ancient East plans to build on the wealth of historical and cultural assets we have in the east and south of Ireland, stretching from Newgrange and the Boyne Valley in the north east and ranging through the midlands all the way down via Kilkenny’s Medieval mile to Waterford’s Viking Quarter and Cork’s many cultural attractions. The new brand proposition is intended to match the Wild Atlantic Way in terms of scale and ambition and will contribute to the Government’s policy objective of growing the number of tourists that are coming to Ireland to 10 million per year by 2025.


Later in the week I was joined by the Director of the Irish Coast Guard, Chris Reynolds, to launch our new Maritime Safety Strategy 2015 – 2019, the theme of which is ‘Make Time for Maritime Safety.’ It analyses the factors contributing to maritime fatalities in Ireland, most of which are avoidable, and sets out 33 actions that all stakeholders; Government, individuals and communities, can work together on to reduce the number of fatalities at sea.


In the Seanad this week, I took the Roads Bill 2014, which deals with the merging of the NTA and the RPA and on Friday afternoon I welcomed the return to Dublin of the fourth annual Irish Cycling Show which will take place in the RDS Main Hall this weekend. Later in the day, I met with the NTA to mark the fact that 1 million Leap cards have now been sold. The success of the scheme is evidenced by the fact that more than 60% public transport journeys in Dublin are now paid for with Leap, which delivers savings of up to 20% for commuters.


I also responded to threatened industrial action at Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann which is planned for 1st May. My commitment to the future of both of these companies can be seen by the fact that more than €180 million was invested in them last year in PSO funding and for the upgrading of their fleets. I have called for the action not to go ahead, as it will cause disruption to the public and cost businesses money. I remain open to discussions with unions on both sides.


I called on the people of East Wall during the week in a bid to find out what concerns they have and as always how I can be of assistance to them.