THE local community in Doolin have giving a warm welcome to last week’s decision of the an Bord Pleanála to give the go ahead to the construction of a new pier at Doolin. It is now hoped that the pier could more than double the numbers travelling from Clare to the Aran Island’s each year and revolutionise the tourism trade across the county.

“This is huge for us – it is going to be a big big things for Doolin. About 90 per cent of the traffic currently going to the Aran Islands goes from Galway and even if Clare could grab 10 or 20 per cent of that it would make a massive difference to the trade here. It would be a huge boost for all of County Clare – it would feed on all over the county,” said Niall O’Dwyer of the Doolin Tourism Committee.

“I’m in tourist trade myself and I know when the boats are not going we feel it straight away – so this will have a massive impact on the tourism trade. There has been a few difficult years for tourism but something like this will really change all of that. I’m sure that the new facilities will also help the surfers and the divers – and other people who use the water as well.”

The decision was also welcomed by Matty Shannon of the Doolin Unit of the Irish Coastguard. The Office of Public Works will also be seeking tendor for the construction of a long- awaited rescue centre in the coming weeks.

“The people of Doolin are delighted that the pier is going ahead. I think with 70,000 people going to the Aran island every year that this development is for the common good of the people of Doolin and North Clare,” he said.

“With this and the Coastguard Rescue Centre it will be a new look pier. We are hoping that the rescue centre will go to tender in the next week or two so hopefully there will be a couple of great years for Doolin. It’s been a long wait for all of this so it is great to finally get it off the ground.”

Local hotelier John Burke, who operates the nearby Hotel Doolin, also welcomed the announcement. Mr Burke, who previously challenged local surf groups to produce evidence of the damage that the new pier will do to the Crab Island surfing wave, said that the concern of surfers have now been addressed.

“The pier will be hugely beneficial for ferry operators and local fishermen, it will also provide improved facilities for many other pleasure activities, including divers, sailors and kayakers. It’s a win-win for everyone concerned and I am delighted to see one of the largest and most important infrastructural projects in this part of County Clare finally being given the go ahead,” he said.

“Concerns by local surfers, have been addressed through their engagement with the council and the redesign of the pier from the original proposal. I am sure that the surfing representatives will engage with their community openly and honestly, and endorse this development now.  They contributed to the final design which should work for all users of the ocean, and give great benefits to all.”

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Andrew has been working in the media in the West of Ireland for more than a decade. During that time he has been shortlisted for many national journalism awards, served as a judge for the Choice Music Prize in 2008 and was part of the nominating panel for the Meteor Ireland Music Awards from 2008 to 2011. He holds an MA in Journalism and Public Relation and a BA in English, Sociology and Politics. He is currently working on his debut novel. A selection of his writings, including a number of new short stories can be viewed on Fighting Talk - Follow Andrew on twitter: @Andrew_CPeople Contact Andrew on [email protected]

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