By Dan Walsh
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions that included a summer ban on overseas holiday travel there was a notable upsurge in camper van and motor-home related tourism, especially around the coastal areas of County Wexford, and consequently, the need for parking facilities was discussed at the September meeting of Wexford County Council held under Covid-19 government guidelines at Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy.
Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin made reference to the huge growth witnessed this year in camper van and motor-home related tourism and he outlined the benefits this form of tourism could bring to an area and he pointed out that it was a central part of the tourism infrastructure in many counties as well as being a generator of revenue for local authorities.
Under a Notice of Motion, Cllr Ó Súilleabháin called on the Council to identify sites in County Wexford to develop motor-home/camper van parks. He felt it could attract many visitors from the UK and the continental market and it would tie in very nicely with Ireland’s Ancient East and he felt it could complement tourism trends in Wexford.
Cllr Jim Codd said Cllr Ó Súillleabháin’s idea was very good but it would make it very difficult for caravan parks that were already established if the Council comes along and establishes other ones.
CEO Tom Enright felt it was not a market that the Council should be stepping into. “What we can do is if communities or local people want to develop these facilities we (the Council) should encourage them through the planning process and financially as well to provide the basic infrastructure that is needed to provide and identify sites.”
“A lot of mobile home parks and caravan parks in the county have facilities for people to come along to erect tents and park motor-homes overnight,” added Mr Enright who questioned the need for the local authority to compete with that market.
With a slight amendment, agreed by the proposer, the motion was seconded by Cllr Codd and was passed by the members. The same motion from Cllr Ó Súilleabháin was on the following day’s agenda for the Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council meeting, but because it had already been discussed at the County Council meeting, and a decision was agreed there, it was withdrawn.