Sunday 13 October 2019

Tourism video and sequel 'very light' on North Cork

Councillor's anger at County Council Tourism UNIT

North Cork councillors were horrified when the latest tourism video posted by the County Council on social media channels mentioned only one attraction in the northern section of the county in a production which was focused on promoting the county's coastal attractions.

During the Kanturk Mallow Municipal Area monthly meeting last week, councillors from all parties were aghast that the only north Cork attraction to star on a video lasting two-and-a-half minutes, promoting more than 60 features and festivals, was the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trail.

Mallow Castle, the racecourse, Doneraile Park, the Racing Home for Easter festival and a host of other north Cork attractions and events were mentioned by councillors as deserving of a slot on the video which was released on Thursday.

Cllr John Paul O'Shea was sharply critical of those in the 'caboon' of Cork County Council's Tourism Office who had published the video. "We have spent a few million euro of public money and that didn't even feature," he said, promising to pursue the matter with the council.

"I know we're a new county since May 31 and we need to act like a new county," said Councillor O'Shea in reference to the redrawing of boundaries following the recent local elections and the impact that would have on issues such as tourism promotion within the different areas in the county.

However, following the meeting, contact was made by Kanturk/Mallow Municipal Area officer Liz Donovan with the Council Tourism Office who were quick to respond.

According to the tourism office, the video, which was commissioned in January in order to be shown at the Holiday World Travel Show, did contain 'significant footage' of north Cork, including the River Blackwater, Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails, Ballybeg Priory, Buttevant, Doneraile Park, Castletownroche and Glanworth Mill.

"An updated version of this video was completed this week to add new footage.

"In error, an incorrect version of this updated video was sent to Cork County Council by the videographer whereby scenes of north Cork were removed and this was subsequently uploaded to Cork County Council Facebook and Twitter pages yesterday.

"This was noted this morning and has since been corrected."

While this sequel was an improvement on the original according to Cllr. O'Shea, the improvement was by no means sufficient and the Fine Gael councillor feels it highlights the marginalisation of north Cork as the coastal area is highlighted because of the decision to use county's maritime history as the main focus of its brand.

"I believe it needs to be broadened a lot more to include the areas in north Cork and indeed mid Cork," he said, pointing to north Cork's long tradition of high quality food production as an example of where promotion could be directed.

Cllr O'Shea intends to raise the matter again at the next meeting of the council.

There was a strong feeling expressed across party lines at the meeting that north Cork was losing out in tourism and other vital sectors following the changes earlier this year.

Cllr Pat Hayes expressed his disappointment at the lack of north Cork features in the tourism video, also pointing out that events such Mallow's popular Racing Home For Easter Festival didn't get a look in.

"Obviously it's very well put together," said Councillor Hayes, observing that he or other north Cork councillors didn't want to take away from the success of tourism promotion in west Cork at all.

"It's very professional in highlighting all that's good about west Cork but very light in information about what places like Mallow, the Blackwater, Doneraile have to offer.

During Friday's meeting, details were given of plans to publish a tourist map of Mallow and to improve signage on the approaches to the town and within the urban area as efforts towards promotion of its attraction to visitors were stepped up.