Make Malin Head a national priority

Traffic chaos at Malin Head this week.
Traffic chaos at Malin Head this week.

Malin Head’s “shamefully inadequate” tourist facilities have been actively highlighted this week as scores of visitors flocked to the area, according to campaigners.

While this has been warmly welcomed, those campaigning for a tourist facility for the area say it is “disgraceful there’s “not even a toilet” for them when they get there.

Malin Head is a key part of the Wild Atlantic Way route, which is expected to bring further numbers to the area in years to come.

However, there are fears it could get “left behind” other locations on the route, which have better facilities.

It is estimated that over 100,000 people visited Malin Head last year.

The issue has been gaining ground in recent months, with a locally-based social media campaign attracting over 1000 ‘likes’ in just days.

Donegal North East Deputy Joe McHugh has also stated he has been “liaising” with the Secretary General of the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport, Tom O’Mahony, regarding the matter, as well as Failte Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way group in Donegal.

Newly-elected Donegal County Councillor Martin McDermott, who lives in the local area, is also due to meet with representatives from the Council next week to discuss the progress of a development plan for the area, which was announced in 2007.

The plan has yet to come to pass.

Mr Ali Farren, who has long called for more recognition for Malin Head as a tourist hub, said the issue was crucial for the future of not just Malin Head, but for Inishowen and Donegal as a whole.

He said “proper, quality” facilities needed to be put in place, which would create jobs and put Inishowen on the map.

On Sunday, a Mizen to Malin Head cycle was welcomed by a large crowd at Banba’s Crown. But this led to “mayhem” in the car park.

Mr Farren also told the ‘Journal’ he witnessed tourists break the front bumper and damage the undercarriage of their hire car as they had nowhere to park.

Colr. McDermott said ensuring proper facilities at Malin Head was something he hoped to focus on within Donegal County Council.

He told the ‘Journal’ the facilities were “shamefully inadequate” and a “disgrace.”

He said: “Between 100,000 and 150,000 people visited Malin Head last year, according to Inishowen Tourism. If each of those spent one euro, that’s 150,000 to the Inishowen economy. It’s time to bring this forward and stand up and be counted for Inishowen.”

Mr Farren, who runs the nearby Ardmalin Caravan Park, said while a new car park and toilets were needed, the plan for Malin Head and by extension Inishowen, needed to go further than that.

He said: “We need a proper, quality tourist facility. We need something which will create jobs and positivity, all year round.

“Malin Head is recognised across Ireland and beyond; it has its own brand.

“It’s a national treasure. We now need to make it a national priority.