Anger at summer closure of sea cliffs
FAILTE Ireland and a county council are both under fire after deciding to partially close one of Ireland's most spectacular tourist attractions for repair work during the height of the tourist season.
Sliabh Liag cliffs in south west Donegal are among Europe's highest sea, rising to 589m. And while the number of people visiting them is just a fraction of those corralled to the Cliffs of Moher every year, it is fast becoming Donegal's biggest tourist attraction.
Donegal County Council says that, in the interest of public safety, it has decided that it is necessary to restrict access to the cliffs for a week, starting next Monday. Repair work is being funded by Failte Ireland, with tonnes of stones being airlifted to the top of the cliffs by helicopter.
However, local TD Thomas Pringle has called for the work to be postponed until September.
"It is the height of the tourist season and you would have thought delaying this work for another fortnight or so wouldn't make much of a difference," he said.
"It's not as if a delay will make a massive difference. The weather is pretty poor right now and it's just as likely to be better in September."
However, the council insists the work is weather-dependant and must go ahead next week in an area where former tourism minister Leo Varadkar spent his holidays last summer.
A council spokeswoman insisted: "Donegal County Council wishes to stress that the works and the closure of these sections of path will have no impact on the majority of visitors to Sliabh Liag as the upper car park and viewing areas at Bunglas which are the destination for the majority of visitors to Sliabh Liag will remain open at all times during the helicopter lifting operations."