TOURISM AND heritage have the potential to make a huge impact on the economy and employment prospects in the county, Padraic White, chairperson of the Louth Economic Forum, told members of Louth County Council at their monthly meeting.
Praising the role which the Louth County Council had played in securing EU funding for the Narrow Water Bridge, he said the project would not have happened but for the council driving it and keeping it to the fore.
The bridge is key to opening up the potential of the Mourne, Slieve Gullion and Cooley area to tourism, along with the Greenway cycle and pedestrian route from Carlingford to Omeath and geotourism project which had also received funding.
These three major projects potentially have the capability to transform this area and make it a tourism destination,' he said.
However, he stressed the need for an all-island tourism body which would promote the region as a whole. This, he said, 'would totally transform the tourism potential of the region.'
Cllr. Declan Breathnach agreed that they should push very strongly for a cross-border tourism body.
Cllr. Martin Murnaghan said that there was 'a real fear' in the Cooley area regarding a GeoPark and he urged the council officials to hold a meeting in north Louth to explain what is involved.
Narrow West Street had become a 'forgotten street' and 'an eyesore' in Drogheda, said Cllr. Tommy Byrne, calling for something to be done to the old abbey in Drogheda.
Director of Services Michael Curran said that there were misunderstandings over the geotourism project and undertook to meet with farmers in the area. It was not a GeoPark, he said, simply that they had received funding for the development of geotourism in the area.