Donegal County Council has reacted angrily to reports that it hosted a conference in a five star hotel.
A conference was held at the Solis Lough Eske hotel recently by the council on the SailWest Initiative, now branded as Malin Waters.
But the council today issued a press release denying that it wasted money on hosting the conference.
The council says that proper procurement procedures were followed which resulted in awarding the conference to the Donegal Town hotel.
The following is a statement issued by Donegal County Council today in relation to these reports.
“Since 2007, Donegal County Council has led out on the SailWest Initiative, now branded as Malin Waters, which is a €7 million EU Transnational project to develop and promote the potential of marine tourism as a driver of economic growth.
“In addition to infrastructure, branding and marketing, this project included the hosting of a major international conference, which could have been hosted in any of the partner jurisdictions including Scotland, Northern Ireland and Donegal.
“Donegal as lead partner was glad to be in a position to host this conference and in line with required EU Procurement requirements, the successful venue for this conference was Solis Lough Eske Hotel, Donegal Town.
“Donegal County Council has worked with various hotels in all parts of the county over the years in respect of various conferences and events and the Council will continue to do so in the future, in order to develop and promote the county’s tourism industry by supporting hotels in the county and in recognising this sector as a vital part of the local economy.
“The County is fortunate to have a stock of hotels that reflect very positively the quality of the accommodation and hospitality sector and the Solis Hotel, Donegal Town, in the context of this conference, delivered a superb experience of quality and service at the event to the many International, National and local attendees.
“Donegal County Council is disappointed with the direction and tone of the report itself and the comments and insinuations put forward by Donegal News in relation to this event. For instance, no Donegal County Council staff or members stayed in the Solis Lough Eske Hotel.
“Donegal County Council did pay, as part of conference costs, for 4 bednights for international speakers who attended the conference. A further 17 rooms were booked by attendees at the conference who covered their own costs. Further visitors to the conference stayed in other hotels in the area, visited restaurants and had a positive economic impact during their attendance at the event.
“The Council will continue to work in collaboration with all 20 transnational project partners on the SailWest Initiative so as to continue to realise the potential of the marine tourism sector as a driver for economic growth in this region.
“Furthermore, the Council will continue to maximise all opportunities available to it by proactively developing initiatives and projects to support the economic, cultural and social development of the County.”