News that Failte Ireland is to withdraw support for the Nenagh Tourist Information Office has been greeted with much disappointment and anger by members of North Tipperary County Council who were informed of the decision on Monday.
County Manager Mr Joe MacGrath delivered the news and said that the decision was taken by Failte Ireland with the view to having a third party running the office from here on.
“I have indicated to them that I regard this as being very disappointing news and I highlighted the reasons why this office is so important to the area as a whole,” Mr McGrath told members at the monthly meeting.
However, the Manager, while acknowledging that the news is not good, said that Failte Ireland has been extremely good at what it does and the council would be very anxious to retain their presence in the Nenagh office. The council has even offered rent free accommodation in a bid to keep Failte Ireland there.
Mr MacGrath has sought a meeting with Failte Ireland to discuss the matter further and with the office acting a tourist information point for all the county, it’s importance cannot be understated.
Cllrs Eddie Moran and Jim Casey described the decision of Failte Ireland as being a ‘retrograde step’ while Cllr John Hogan said that it was an ‘insensitive move’ by the agency who were showing little regard for the county.
Cllr Virginia O’Dowd had hoped that news in relation to the Nenagh office would have been more positive – ie. that it was being opened all year round rather than for six months a year. There is plenty going on in the region to support a year round office, she said.
Cllr Michael Smith called on the three TD’s in the county to intervene while Cllr Jim Casey agreed. Cllr Pauline Coonan offered to personally work in the office in order to keep it open and said that Job Bridge options should also be explored. “We need to keep this office open and practical solutions must be found. We need to get behind Tipperary,” she said.
Mayor Michael O’Meara supported the notion of meeting with the three TD’s to discuss the situation while Mr MacGrath said that it is vital for the development of tourism in the region that a Failte Ireland presence be maintained in Nenagh.
“I have always found them to be extremely professional and very very good at what they do. We need to do everything in our power to ensure that they remain in the county,” he said.