- Motorhome owners have mounted campaign
- Calling for facilities to allow them to travel the country
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe is calling for facilities to be put in place to allow motorhome owners park up and enjoy Co. Clare – but says it must not come at a cost.
A number of motorhome owners from across the country have mounted a campaign against what they feel are measures which discourage them from parking up.
“Earlier today, I held a virtual meeting with a large group of motorhome owners from throughout Ireland,” said Deputy Crowe.
“As a group, they are warmly embracing the idea of a staycation and many of them told me that Clare is one of the top counties on their list to visit.
“However, they say that most scenic spots in Ireland are unsuitable for overnight campervan stays and that signage that has gone up around the country has made them feel somewhat unwelcome.
“They very much want to see a national policy, in terms of overnight camping and have asked me to look into this.
“I have explained to them that a very delicate balance has to be struck here.
“Whilst we want to see motorhome owners visit Co. Clare and enjoy their time here and hopefully spend their money locally, there is a sizeable problem already with illegal roadside encampments which, in recent years, has caused huge upset for residents in our county and also costed Clare County Council hundreds of thousands in legal challenges.
“A lot of people living in coastal communities feel that the removal of height restriction barriers at carparks would serve to entice further illegal encampments.
“The motorhome sector representatives have advised me of locations where they believe best practice can be seen. France has a nationwide network of supervised and properly maintained overnight park-ups for motorhomes and closer to home, Portumna is seen to be leading the way.
“I have told the group that I will make an approach to Clare County Council on this matter and I feel that a way forward may be to have automated barrier systems so that individuals would pay to enter an overnight parking position.
“This charge would be low level for the first night or two then increase and there would be legal undertaking to that as well.
“Another challenge will be having these sites maintained and supervised and it’s for this reason I believe an automated system could work best in Clare.
“This can only happen, however, with the consent of communities and these overnight facilities should only be placed in parts of the county where they’re not in direct competition with more traditional campsites.
“Motorhomes have become increasingly popular in recent years and as we try to see a bounce-back for tourism in the months ahead, they will have a key role to play.
“We must embrace motorhomes, but it shouldn’t come at a cost to local communities.