Deputy Pearse Doherty has expressed his concern following confirmation that Glenveagh National Park reached car park capacity 24 times this year, which meant that no further vehicular access was possible to the site during such times.
Deputy Doherty has said that urgent action must be taken to ensure that locals and those who wish to visit the National Park are accommodated.
Deputy Doherty said “The car parking issue at Glenveagh National Park is something which has been raised with me many times over the past few years. The issue was evident in light of increased staycations and visitors to the area since the Covid-19 pandemic.
“At one stage, cars were parked in any available spot at the side of the main road behind Errigal, which in itself caused access issues for emergency vehicles and others.”
The capacity levels were confirmed by the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage.
Deputy Doherty described the situation as “embarrassing.”
“Glenveagh National Park is spectacular and we are lucky to have such national beauty on our doorsteps here. But when we are trying to attract visitors to Donegal, it’s embarrassing not to have basic facilities such as car parking available for them.
“People travelled, in many cases for hours, only to be turned away again. That is not the type of welcome that we are known for in Donegal.
“In response to a parliamentary question I asked, I was told that the car park reached full capacity on 24 occasions during 2021, meaning for a limited period (usually less than 2 hours and generally between 12.30-2.30 pm) no further vehicular access was possible to the site.
“This is not acceptable.
“It’s obvious that there is an issue there and I have brought it to the attention of the Minister that works must be carried out to expand car parking if that is what is required.
“I do welcome the news from the Minister that a draft Visitor Experience Development and Management Plan is being drawn up and that this will include, as part of it, expanded parking capacity.
“This must happen as a matter of urgency during this low-season so that the same issues don’t arise when tourists return in 2022.”