There was some heated debate at Tuesday’s Inishowen Municipal District meeting in Carndonagh after Councillor Bernard McGuinness claimed criticism over a delay in providing funding for facilities at Malin Head was “very unjustified.”
Councillor Martin McDermott initially raised the issue, welcoming the recent confirmation of funding for phase two of development at the location.
He praised Failte Ireland for providing the funding and the government for “backing it up, stating he “always said” he didn’t mind where the money came from as long as “we get what we need.”
Colr McDermott called for the works to be undertaken before the summer season and asked for an update as to when it was planned to proceed.
Colr McGuinness said the funding announcement “did not come as a surprise” to him, stating that Malin Head was the “number one project”in the county.
He added: “Some of the criticism dished out against Failte Ireland and other bodies was very frustrating. To those promoting Malin Head, this criticism was very unjustified. The project had to be done right and we don’t want to have a situation like down the country where some work is done, not done right and then has to be taken away again. The bottom line is that it had to be done right.”
Colr McDermott replied that Colr McGuinness’ comments were “probably directed at me” and said he made “no apologies” for his previous comments when he called on Failte Ireland to make Malin Head a priority project.
He said Failte Ireland had “certainly come up with the goods” but had previously been “sitting on their hands.”
He added: “They got an application in July 2014 and it took them to August 2015 to look at it.” Colr Nicholas Crossan stated this was “100% right.”
Colr McGuinness said only “one person” gives the money needed - the government to which Colr Crossan responded: “And who gives the money to the government? The tax payer.”
Colr McGuinness added that with “all due respect, it’s a long-time waiting to happen.”
Colr McDermott said he wished to particularly thank Joan Crawford in the Failte Ireland Letterkenny office for “all the work done.”
The councillors comments come as it was confirmed that following counter checks at Inch Wildfowl Reserve and Malin Head, it was indicated that there was a 25% increase in visits to Malin Head last year.
In December, it was announced that 396,000 euro was to be provided for works at Malin Head. These include: road widening to accommodate passing bays and associated drainage improvements and surfacing; extending existing car park facilities to incorporate twenty one additional car and bus parking spaces; and the development of a new toilet block.