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The development of the marine tourism in Youghal must be examined said Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton. Deputy Stanton secured a commitment from Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, in Dail Eireann that he would ensure that the marine element of any tourism strategy for Youghal and the Cork area would not be ignored.

“Youghal has a huge amount going for it, with great heritage and history. It is a seaside town with 4.5 km of beach and is home to 7,000 people. Youghal was once the second busiest port in the British Empire yet now this aspect of Youghal has been almost forgotten. There are no berthing facilities for visitors and very few for local people. With its location on the sea and on the Blackwater estuary, it is astounding that this aspect of Youghal’s tourism product has not been exploited”, said Deputy Stanton.

“I know there have been plans for a marina in Youghal and that funding has been an issue. However, one of the main problems is that marine tourism and marina development comes under the remit of a number of Government departments and agencies so ideas and strategies are difficult to progress. Many boating enthusiasts and other people have asked me to whom they should speak in this regard. There is no one agency with responsibility for this. This has led to neglect of the marine in tourism strategies across the whole country.

“While I believe the construction of a marina in Youghal would be huge benefit to the local economy in the town and the wider East Cork area this is not the only aspect of marine tourism which needs to be advanced. The recently published Youghal Tourism Audit commissioned by Youghal Socio-Economic Development Group also identified sailing, kayaking, angling, bird and whale watching and other boat trips, as more areas of water based activity which would to attract visitors to Youghal and improve its tourism offering.

“Minister Donohoe advised me during our debate that work is underway to develop a new marketing framework for the south and east of the country, given the success of the Wild Atlantic Way. I understand from him that in February this year a group, consisting of representatives from the Cork county and city local authorities, Fáilte Ireland and various stakeholders in tourism, was also formed to examine how a single tourist offering and brand for the county and city of Cork could be developed. The Minister will also contact this group to ensure that marine tourism forms part of this work.

“One of our country’s greatest assets is that we are an island with thousands of kilometres of coastline. Youghal has a wonderful position as a seaside town in an area of great scenic beauty. It is imperative that this marine aspect of its tourism potential be developed.”

Debate transcript available at: