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Shock closure of Buncrana Tourist Office 12.02.08

Story: Inishowen Independent

VISITORS to Inishowen will be left scratching their heads in despair in their search for information about the peninsula’s attractions in the weeks ahead, because even though the holiday season is just around the corner, Buncrana’s tourist office lies shut and there are currently no plans to re-open it.
Fáilte Ireland provides a limited service and maintains a part-time presence, but for the past year Buncrana Chamber of Commerce administrator Deirdre Bradley has manned the office and dealt with thousands of tourists.
However, Bradley has left the Chamber to take up a new job and there are no plans to replace her with the result that tourists coming to Buncrana will find little more than a ‘closed until further notice’ sign at the tourist office on the Derry Road.
On one day last week more than 20 tourists called into the office and up to 120 tourists use the office daily
Buncrana tourist office.
at the height of the summer season.
“By moving there we have proven that a group can take the tourist office over and make it work all year round,” Chamber president Paddy McLaughlin said. “It’s now time for the tourist authorities to step up to the mark.”
“It’s Fáilte Ireland’s responsibility,” said independent town councillor Nicholas Crossan. “The Town Council provided the site, the Chamber provided the staff, what more do they want? It seems that the further north you go, the less evidence there is of Fáilte Ireland on the ground.”
The matter is to be discussed at tomorrow night’s Town Council meeting where the development of tourism projects for Buncrana and environs will be discussed.
The Chamber has approached Inishowen Tourism with a view to the latter relocating one of its four staff members to Buncrana. “It’s an invaluable facility and it’s vital that it’s kept open,” Inishowen Tourism chairman John (Henry) McLaughlin said. “We’ll be hoping to assist in getting the office open again.”
“We got a big increase in visitors since Deirdre Bradley moved into the Buncrana Tourist Office,” said Pat Doherty of the Doagh Island Famine Village. “She will be badly missed. The tourist office and the Swilly and Foyle ferries are very important to Inishowen tourism. We may as well give up if they don’t invest in this.
“Tourism is the only outside money that’s coming into Inishowen,” Willie Grant, proprietor of Westbrook House, a B&B in the town said. “Every tourist coming here is a bonus for Inishowen and it’s vital that we keep the office open.”
Fáilte Ireland North West did not seem to be aware that the office was closed but were unavailable for comment despite several attempts to contact them yesterday.
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