Cllr Bugler calls for dedicated Nenagh area tourism officer

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The level of assistance given to tourism operators in the Nenagh area has beeen criticised by Nenagh Municipal District Council councillors.

The level of assistance given to tourism operators in the Nenagh area has beeen criticised by Nenagh Municipal District Council councillors.

It is the second time in the past number of months that Tipperary County Council has been criticised over the service.

Late last year, Cllr Phyll Bugler complained about Tipperary County Council’s two tourism officers being off work. She was told that both would return following maternity leave.

Not satisfied with the response, the FG councillor called at the area council’s February meeting for Nenagh MDC to have its own part-time tourism officer to organise trade shows and to promote festivals in the district, which stretches from Ballina to Portumna.

However, she was told by district administrator Rosemary Joyce in a written reply that Bord Failte operates a tourist office at Banba Square and that when this is closed, the service is available through Nenagh Arts Centre.

“Tipperary Tourism Company will continue to arrange for attendance at trade shows,” said Ms Joyce. “Tipperary Tourism Company will look to promote festivals where appropriate.”

Cllr Bugler dismissed the reply, saying she was “not happy” with it and was “stunned” that someone could write so little about what was happening in the area.

“We had it in our budget that we would have a tourism officer. I am in business and nobody has ever contacted me about trade shows. Tourism is our bread and butter. We don’t have factories,” she said.

She claimed the approach to tourism in North Tipperary was “fragmeneted”.

Cllr Bugler was backed by Cllr Seamus Morris, who pointed out that he had brought 14 or 15 North American colleges to Nenagh in the past few years under sports tourism, “and nobody ever contacted me”.

He said the area had a huge amount to offer and needed its own tourism officer.

“This is a fob-off answer,” he declared.

The SF councillor wondered if Tipperary was represented at the annual Milwaukee Irish Festival, the largest in North America, pointing out that it was always attended by neighbouring County Clare.

Indepedent Cllr Joe Hannigan believed the present approach was not working.

“There is a serious amount of opportunites we are missing out on. At the moment we are knocking on five or six doors. We need a dedicated officer,” he said, questioning the effectiveness of the tourism agencies.

Ms Joyce said the were stand-ins for the toursim officers and pointed out the council had gone through a merger process.