Sinn Féin Councillor John Sheamais Ó Fearraigh has today renewed calls for improved facilities and additional car parking at the foot of Donegal’s highest mountain, Errigal.
The Glenties Municipal District Councillor’s calls come as road safety concerns have re-emerged over recent weeks owing to the increasing numbers of tourists and climbers visiting the site as the summer months approach.
Cllr Ó Fearraigh said: “As many people living locally will be aware, the famous peak receives many hundreds of visitors each weeks during the summer months, and over recent weeks the numbers visiting the site has grown considerably as the weather improves and conditions for climbing and now very favourable.
“However, safety fears are re-emerging as existing parking spaces at the foot of the mountain are wholly inadequate to accommodate these tourist and visitor numbers.
“As a result, visitors are forced to park their vehicles at the edge of the busy main road next to the main access route to Errigal and this of course creating huge hazards for other road users and those leaving their vehicles to climb the summit.
“Due to the Bank holiday weekend in the north, we witnessed huge volumes of people coming to the site and, while they are very welcome and happily received, it’s clear that current facilities at the mountain cannot meet such swell in numbers.
“At present, there are only a handful of car parking spaces while there are no facilities for climbers such as heavy duty outdoor boot scrapper stations.
“Clearly, this is not good enough for an attraction as iconic and famous as Errigal and from a road safety point of view it is very worrying.”
Cllr Ó Fearraigh said he has regularly raised the issue of the need for additional car parking spaces and associated visitor facilities to be provided at the foot of Errigal.
He said: “In fact, following the announcement back in 2016 that preservation and conservation works worth over €500,000 under the EU’s ‘ACCENT’ programme would be undertaken at Errigal, I immediately tabled Council motion calling for the installation of these facilities and for a suitable development plan to the developed.
“While of course the ASCENT funding decision was fantastic and gave real recognition to the value of the mountain to this county in terms of natural beauty and its tourism potential, it’s clear that this work needs to be complimented by further investment to provided extra parking and facilities for visitors.”
Cllr Ó Fearraigh said he intends to raise this issue again with both Donegal County Council and the Road Safety Authority this week and to urge both bodies to re-examine this issue and to deliver these facilities.
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