Michael MacGréil SJ was characteristically pulling no punches when he called for an immediate end to adventure races on Croagh Patrick to protect it from further erosion. He was speaking at the launch of his latest report which charts the course for Westport Co Mayo’s tourism future.
“We as a town have to make it clear that Croagh Patrick is not an obstacle course,” he said. “100,000 people came to this area to climb the mountain last year and it’s clear that the hundreds who are running up and down the mountain for events like Gaelforce are doing untold damage. This has to stop.”
MacGréil made 17 recommendations in his book including the building of a multi-story car park in Westport town. “The survey revealed tht car parking was a serious problem in Westport due to its success as quality destination for tourists”. He said a multi-story car park would be the best solution to the parking problem as it would be more environmentally friendly than using up ‘green space’ in the locality.
Entitled ‘Westport Eleven- Twelve’, this is the fourth survey which the highly regarded sociologist and proud Mayo man has conducted for the Westport Tourist Organisation (WTO) and the information was gleaned from over 1,000 interviews conducted between 2011 to 2012. Eight hundred and fifty seven of those interviewed were visitors to the town who gave their opinions on a variety of tourist related issues. Service providers in Westport were also consulted. The report was launched at WTO’s annual general meeting where a large crowd attended the Knockranny House Hotel on Thursday 6 June.