Tourism is a big focus for Fingal going ahead in the future, according to the Chief Executives Report discussed at the monthly meeting held on March 13 at the County Council Chamber in Swords, Co.Dublin.
Members of Fingal County Council have been working in conjunction with students from Dublin Institute of Technology to generate ideas that would make Fingal a popular tourist destination.
These ideas included the building of an outlet mall similar to the one located in Banbridge, a tourism app for smartphones and a focus on food tourism, spurred by Blue Bar in Skerries receiving major acclaim for their chicken wings from many websites and food blogs.
The ideas will be brought forward in the Council Chamber on April 6th, when the proposed projects will be discussed by the council in an open forum.
Councillor Edmond Lukasa discussed the homelessness issue within Dublin and Fingal, saying that more money should be invested to house these people. He argued that hotels and B&Bs are regularly not full and that families who have fallen on hard times should be given “a roof over their heads in an environment that is made for people to sleep”. This issue could also affect the tourism industry, which was pointed out by councillors.
Darragh Butler, Mayor of Fingal, later repudiated this claim saying that over 2000 new homes and shelters have been built since 2015. This is not including those that have been built for members of the travelling community. A budget of €81 million has been allotted to the construction of homes for this purpose across 52 private lots in Fingal to date. Butler said that there is lots being done to alleviate the issue and the progress made since 2015 is representative of this. While Lukasa’s issues were dismissed by Butler, he also expressed feeling the same frustration as his fellow councillor and seeks to improve on this area even more in the coming years.
The extension of the planning permission given to the Dublin Airport Authority on the construction of a new runway was also discussed heavily in the chamber. This extension runs until August 2022, and while the councillors were mostly in favour of this, Councillor Healy said that he felt the proposal should have returned to stage one, rather than being granted. He also shared a story about Vienna Airport, where a new runway was rejected in recent weeks due to worries amid an increase in air pollution in the city. Healy suggested that this should have been reconsidered again upon the decision to extend the planning permission.
Among other topics discussed by the council was the possibility of a new recycling plant in the Ballycoolin Industrial Estate beside Blanchardstown and Councillor Waine seeking more council housing in Fingal to reduce lengthy waits, as there is currently only one council house to every 53 people.