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Councillors call for roll-out of beach facilities around county


MUCH NEEDED DEVELOPMENT Carrowmore Beach near Louisburgh is one of two beaches in Mayo that will have a new all-weather centre developed.

All-weather centres to be built at Achill and Louisburgh beaches

Anton McNulty

MAYO County Council have been urged to roll-out facilities for beaches through out the county after two Mayo beaches availed of national funding to develop all-weather centres.
The Tourism Strategic and Policy Committee met last Friday. Details of the all-weather centres for water-based activities located at Keel beach in Achill and Carrowmore beach near Louisburgh were revealed by Donal Newcombe, the Sports Tourism and Leisure Manager in Mayo County Council.
The meeting was informed that €650,000 has been allocated to each centre, and they are expected to be built and open to the public for the summer of 2022. The centres will also be open all year round.
Mr Newcombe said the county has world-class tourism offerings and the infrastructure is needed to back it up.
While the funding for the two beaches were welcomed, questions were asked about why these two beaches were chosen ahead of other locations.
“Once the announcement made I happened to be out snorkelling, and I was accosted by a load of swimmers wondering why Kilcummin beach [in north Mayo] wasn’t included,” explained Crossmolina-based councillor Michael Loftus.
“I thought they were going to drown me by the way they were coming at me. My question is how do you propose to look at locations for next year. We in the north Mayo coastline need things to happen in our area as well. Mayo has the longest coastline in Ireland and I’d like to see Fáilte Ireland do more. I hope north Mayo gets a little bit more consideration with regards to outdoor activities.”
Meanwhile, Westport councillor Peter Flynn said that a lot of surfers were disappointed that Carrowniskey beach was not chosen. He added that Bertra and Old Head beaches were also popular and should be considered in the future.
Mr Newcombe explained that Fáilte Ireland had set out criteria for a location to qualify for funding. These include having two or more commercial activities in the locality willing to use the facilities and proximity to accommodation and other tourism attractions in the area.
Achill-based councillor Paul McNamara said he has been calling for infrastructure for locations along the Wild Atlantic Way and that he is delighted with the funding. He said Keel beach is used throughout the year and that he did not want to see any delays.
“There is no reason why it cannot be delivered for the summer of 2022. If these projects drag on into 2023 and 2024 that is far too long. Let’s get our house in order. The money is announced and Mayo County Council own the land it is going on. Get the application in and get the job done.”

Public toilets debate
Meanwhile, Michael Ring TD, has called on Mayo County Council and all local authorities to open up public toilet facilities
“Now that lockdown has been lifted to movement within counties, it is vital that public facilities in our towns and at our amenities are opened,” said Deputy Ring. “I wish to compliment the service stations around the country who opened up their facilities and made them available. I want to compliment them as they are were frontline workers as well and I want to thank them for keeping their facilities open.”
Deputy Ring added that the government themselves did not show any leadership on this matter by closing down public toilets.
“To me, this was wrong. I am calling on the State and on local authorities to immediately open up all public toilets. It is terrible for people who are travelling in the county, yet there are no public toilets available. As we are being advised that being outdoors is safer, public toilets should never have been closed as they are essential.  The toilets should be opened and left open,” concluded Deputy Ring.