Tourism Minister accused of 'completely ignoring' Longford

Troy takes aim at Shane Ross over county's €2,000 Fáilte Ireland funding

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Clondra Harbour.

Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has lambasted Tourism Minister Shane Ross over Failté Ireland's decision to grant Longford €2,000 in funding for festival promotion in the county

Tourism Minister Shane Ross has been accused of “completely ignoring” Longford’s tourism industry after Failte Ireland allocated the county €2,000 for its promotion in 2018.

The Independent Alliance TD came in for stinging criticism this week over his department’s handling of the fallout by Longford-Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy.

In his capacity as party spokesperson on Transport, Tourism & Sport, Mr Troy hit out upon receiving responses to a series of parliamentary questions.

Details of that correspondence, which has been seen by the Leader, effectively ruled out the chances of additional funding being allocated to the county for 2018.

“The funding which has been allocated by Fáilte Ireland to each local authority for 2018 is based on the figures allocated to festivals within the various counties in 2017, hence the allocation of €2,000 to Longford for 2018,” read an extract from one of Mr Ross’ replies.

Giving his reaction to that statement, Mr Troy said the figure was at odds with the advances made by local authority chiefs and volunteering groups in helping to Longford’s tourism model.

“It’s extremely regrettable,” he said, when assessing the four figure sum ring-fenced for Longford in 2018.

“They (government) won’t step in over this, yet they still want to claim credit for a new (Midlands/Lakeland) brand.

“They can’t have it both ways.”

Mr Troy said Longford’s share of funds for various festival promotions in 2018 was derisory in the context of the anticipated arrival of Center Parcs in 2019.

“It’s a retrograde step especially when you look at the great work which has been done by the local authority to establish the walkways and greenways along the (Royal) Canal.

“We also have the largest investment in the tourism sector, not alone in Longford, but in the country due to arrive here in less than two years time,” he added.

The Ballynacargy man vowed to press ahead with holding the Government to account over the issue

His comments follow similarly belligerent soundings from local politicians at Longford County Council’s October meeting.

Cllr Gerry Warnock was arguably the most vocal, describing Longford’s expected €2,000 quota as an insult to “every man, woman and child in the county”.

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