herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Dublin Castle could be €20m tourism hub

DUBLIN Castle should be raking in €20m a year from tourism instead of acting as a civil servants' car park, a city business leader has insisted.

The castle should contain six or seven museums rather than being used as a parking area for Revenue Commissioners staff, Dublin City Business Association (DCBA) chief executive Tom Coffey said.

He was speaking ahead of his presentation with economist Felim O'Rourke to Dublin city councillors.

They are expected to argue that Dublin City Council should be in charge of tourism in the capital, rather than the Government and Failte Ireland.

Mr Coffey said there is a "fundamental problem" with the way Dublin is promoted.

Tourism chiefs allocate only 6pc of an annual budget of €174m to the capital, he said.

"If you were running a business, you would not run it like that," he said.

Mr Coffey believes the council and the Office of Public Works (OPW) should be given the responsibility, along with a budget of €30m a year.



Potential

"Edinburgh Castle brings in €20m a year. It's not the fault of the OPW (that Dublin Castle performs badly). They are not allowed run it as a major tourism product because it's being used by civil servants for parking," he said.

"There should be six or seven museums in there. There is huge potential in the tower where Red Hugh O'Donnell was imprisoned."

Failte Ireland spokesman Alex Connolly said the organisation is "more than aware" of the criticisms of Mr Coffey and Mr O'Rourke.

"They have made them before and they are based on a misreading of the facts," he said.

"Failte Ireland is very much committed to Dublin. This year, we are spending €17m on Dublin, way more than 6pc of the budget."

The organisation recently made a €5.5m capital investment in the city and also announced plans for a 'Dubline' heritage trail, which has been very well received by the local tourism industry.

Mr Coffey and Mr O'Rourke will be speaking to councillors about the report Rejuvenating Dublin's Tourism Product.

comurphy@herald.ie

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