THE FIRST PHASE of a mobility-disabled access boardwalk running from Youghal Front Strand to Claycastle, (395 metres) delivered in partnership with Youghal Town Council and Failte Ireland was officially opened by Minister of State at the Department of Tourism & Sport on Tuesday 24th July 2012. The boardwalk consists of hardwood timber deck supported on piled foundations, not requiring a railing, and once complete will span 1926 metres, eventually forming part of the National Coastal Walking Route. The Minister also took the opportunity to officially ‘turn on’ the new 75kw wind turbine at Youghal Aura Leisure Centre.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Ring paid tribute to the vision of Youghal Town Council and its determination to undertake and complete such projects. “When I was here this time last year, I was hugely impressed with not only Youghal’s tourism offering, but the will and determination of the Council and the local community to see this town grow and succeed. It is wonderful to see plans that were presented to me followed through and executed in full. With over 180,000 people working nationally in tourism, this sector is hugely significant in terms of growth in the economy and Youghal is certainly setting about playing its part in getting this country working again”, said the Minister. The second phase of the development would see the completion of the link between Claycastle and Redbarn to the Quality Hotel and Self Catering Apartments. The Minister agreed to review the submission to Failte Ireland, agreeing that the project would be of huge benefit to the local economy if completed in full.
Mayor of Youghal, Cllr Michelle Hennessy suggested it shouldn’t be underestimated just what the boardwalk had done for the people of Youghal. “Not only has it become a major tourist attraction, but it has become a major social gathering for the people of the area, and has brought a new life and vibrancy to this area of the town. The quality of the boardwalk is evident; – it consists of 395 metres of hardwood timber deck and again is wheelchair accessible. The Mayor emphasised how important the delivery of Phase Two of the project, saying: “This will have a huge economic impact on the town once complete. The delivery of this Boardwalk shows the commitment of Youghal Town Council to improving the tourism infrastructure of the Town, in partnership with Failte Ireland and is a further step forward in maximising the potential of our natural tourism assets for the economic benefit of business in Youghal” said the Mayor.
In advance of the official opening of the Eco-Boardwalk, the Minister also commended Youghal Town Council in their efforts in securing a €400,000 grant under the Improved Energy and Enhanced Disabled Grant Scheme for Youghal Aura Leisure Centre. The upgrade works have enabled huge energy savings – including up to a 40% saving in electricity to the Centre from the installation of a 75kw wind turbine. Currently employing 39 staff, the grant has also facilitated an extension to the existing facility for the disabled, with the addition of a new changing area, a major upgrade of the turnstile system and automatic doors to changing areas. All of the works completed at the centre serve to enhance the centre’s reputation as both a community resource and first class tourism facility. Referring to Youghal’s Aura Leisure Centre, the Minister commented:
“This is a hugely substantial amount of money to be granted in this current economic climate and it can only have a positive effect on employment in the town, helping to sustain jobs and hopefully create new ones too.” Said the Minister.