CLLR PAUL McNAMARA ‘Achill and Erris is the true heart of the Wild Atantic Way’.
Island beauty being used to bring ‘tourists to Westport’
The beauty of Achill is being used as fodder to attract tourists to Westport. That was the strong message delivered by Cllr Paul McNamara at a Municipal Area meeting last Monday when he said generations of Achill people were being ‘dishonoured’ by the latest advertising campaign from Fáilte Ireland.
Cllr McNamara’s ire had been risen by a full-page advertisement in the Sunday World on July 5, which invited tourists to Westport and Connemara, but featured a picture of Achill’s Keem Bay.
“The ad tells people they can send their spirits soaring in Westport, Connemara or Kinsale, but they run all these fine words over a picture of the most beautiful beach in the world, Keem Bay, and not one word about Achill. They give you the impression that it’s just a few miles outside Westport, and I find this an absolute disgrace.
“Achill’s beauty is being used as fodder to bring tourists into Westport. It’ll soon be the same with Ballycroy National Park. That’s not the way to promote tourism.
“I want Mayo County Council to contact Fáilte Ireland and insist wherever a picture of Achill is used, that the parish is credited in the caption. Keem Bay has been voted among the top ten beaches in the entire world and instead of promoting it, they give the impression it’s somewhere else altogether.”
Cllr McNamara’s statement was fully supported by Cllr Gerry Coyle, who said he wasn’t surprised by the advertisement. “If our beauty could be traded it’d be long gone. The IMF or some crowd would have come in and taken it long ago, but they cannot and we have it.
“Achill and Erris is the true heart of the Wild Atantic Way. Ballycroy National Park, Blacksod Lighthouse, The Céide Fields and hundreds of other attractions are here, and it’s an absolute scandal that the ad in a national newspaper insulted us like this.
“We have nothing against Westport and are delighted to see it full of tourists because it’s easier to get them to Belmullet from Westport than it is from Germany, but we want a fair crack of the whip.”
Director of Services Catherine McConnell said Keem Bay was the jewel in the crown of the Wild Atlantic Way and assured the meeting that Fáilte Ireland would be made very aware of the anger generated by the newspaper advertisement.