Question to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Dr Leo Varadkar, TD)
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for the development of Spike Island and Cork Harbour as a tourist attraction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 7th November, 2013.
While my Department provides capital funding for investment in tourism product development through Fáilte Ireland, it is not directly involved in the development and promotion of tourist attractions. However,
I am informed that the Board of Fáilte Ireland recently approved a grant of €2,500,000 to Cork County Council for the development of the Fortress Spike Island experience.
The Fortress Spike Island project is to be developed around three principal themes – military heritage, penal heritage, and stories of enforced transportation. These themes will allow visitors to get a real sense of the place of Spike Island in Irish history and indeed the wider history of the British Empire and the world. These are also areas in which there is strong interest, both in Ireland and overseas, especially Great Britain. It also resonates with the “decade of centenaries” which we have now entered on the island of Ireland. I am informed that the Council presented a detailed market assessment which indicates that the proposed development on Spike Island will have a broad appeal across many international tourism market segments.
I also understand that Cork County Council placed its application for funding in the context of the Interpretive Framework for Cork City and Harbour, which was commissioned by Fáilte Ireland to guide the tourism development of the area. This will place Spike Island as part of the wider effort to maximise the tourism potential of Cork and its harbour in coming years, which the tourism agencies will continue to support directly and indirectly.
I look forward to the completion of the Fortress Spike Island experience which will play a key part in the development of tourism in the Cork city and harbour area in the coming years.