Government approach to Blasket Islands misguided – Peadar Tóibín TD
While €2.25 million invested by the government in an interpretive centre and viewing point for the Blasket islands is to be welcomed, Deputy Tóibín has questioned why state investment in the historic island itself has stymied.
Deputy Tóibín said:
“I welcome this investment into our cultural heritage by the government as I recognise the importance of the Blasket Islands to our country.
"However I would question the overarching strategy of the government, or whether they even have one.
“In 2009 the State bought the majority of properties on the island in order to develop it as a national historic park.
"However they have made no purchases since then despite other owners wishing to sell their property to the state.
“Currently there is a property for sale which belonged to the Ó Catháin family. There have been a number of calls for the government to intervene in this sale and purchase the property – from the great commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh to the Blasket Foundation.
"They correctly maintain that the purchase of this cottage and associated land is integral to the establishment of a national park on the island.
“While the interpretive centre is a great asset, I cannot understand why the government has neglected the development of the island itself.
"If the property is in state hands then the government will be able to develop the island as is due – a place of great literary and historic note.
“I am urging the OPW to submit a bid for this property. This present a wonderful opportunity – which will only benefit the locality.
"With the popularity of Skellig Michael rendering the island increasingly difficult to access, it may be wise to develop another jewel of the Wild Atlantic Way – an untainted stronghold of Irish culture.”