A significant meeting took place in Inishowen last night, during which a robust cross section of the community created a lobby group to advocate for the promotion and future of the peninsula.
As the Journal went to press last night, up to 40 business people, service providers, community groups, tourism promotors and representatives of the peninsula’s most visited attractions, were meeting in the Ballyliffin Golf Club.
The lobby group has identified the Malin Head project as their key priority due to the fact they believe it will have monumental benefits for the entire peninsula as a whole.
They will now focus on ensuring this project comes to fruition.
Last night, they agreed to write to all confirmed candidates for the forthcoming General Election, asking them to ensure it is on their mandate due to it’s importance for the future of the peninsula.
The group is comprised of some of Inishowen’s biggest employers, as well as single business owners, groups such as Tidy Towns, service and adventure tourism providers, including cafe and B&B owners and representatives from groups such as Fort Dunree and Greencastle Maritime Museum.
Each have come together due to their belief that the Malin Head project will be hugely beneficial to each of them and to the future of the peninsula itself.
They want Inishowen to attract the same investment as some of the country’s other key tourism attractions and believe that by using the country and world-known Malin Head as a focal point, tourism numbers will treble and employment will increase.
They believe now is the prime time for them to form, citing the popularity of the Wild Atlantic Way and the recent announcement of the Derry to Donegal air link.
Some of those who attended the meeting spoke to the Journal and said it was not time to “put our best foot forward” for the future of the whole peninsula.
Ali Farren from Malin Head, said it was evident the Malin Head project was one many in Inishowen were pushing for.
He said: “Myself, Jim Mullin and Martin McDermott here in Malin Head are continuously asked how the project is going and what’s happening. People see it as very important for Inishowen and Donegal as a whole. The group is hopeful that there’ll be good news coming from Failte Ireland in the near future, but as yet, we have nothing here and the bulk of Inishowen would love to see investment at Malin Head.
It would have a huge knock on effect that would have for the rest of Inishowen.”
Pat Doherty of Doagh Famine Village said they have been battling for 30 years to get Inishowen the recognition it deserves and the time had come to develop a cohesive and co-ordinated approach.
He said: “My feeling is that what we have been doing so far hasn’t worked. We now have to look at it in a different way and from a different angle. Malin Head will be the focal point. It is recognised across the country, perhaps more than the name ‘Inishowen’ and that’s what we need to focus on. It will be easier to sell. This then will have a positive effect on the rest of the peninsula. Everyone is now coming together for the future of Inishowen and that’s what’s needed.”
John Farren, Ballyliffin Golf Club, said Malin Head was a signature point for the Wild Atlantic Way, but there weren’t enough facilities in place to cater for the number of tourists visiting it. He said development there, which must enhance and support it’s natural beauty and habitat, would boost the entire economic structure of the peninsula.
He said: “It’s time to put our best foot forward and ensure Inishowen receives the same investment and promotion as other key points around the country. Malin Head is the starting point to put not just Inishowen but Donegal and the North West really on the map.”