Senator Michael Mullins (FG) in the debate on the Second Stage of the National Tourism Development Authority (Amendment) Bill 2011 on 30 November 2011:
[…] We need to see that [tourism] business spread to the regions. In my own county of Galway, one of the most beautiful in the country, Galway city and Connemara do very well. However, while parts of east Galway which I represent have wonderful attractions, we do not seem to be on Fáilte Ireland’s radar to the same extent as other parts of the county or country. In Ballinasloe we have a fine marina in which the State invested significantly some years ago. Ballinasloe is on the River Suck which runs into the River Shannon.
One can travel up the River Shannon through Shannonbridge to Ballinasloe. However, we have a little problem and I hope the Minister of State will be able to help us. There is a Bord na Móna bridge between Shannonbridge and Ballinasloe which, when water levels are high, prevents cruisers of a certain size coming up the river to Ballinasloe. We need the Minister of State’s help to get a number of organisations, including Fáilte Ireland, Bord na Móna and Waterways Ireland, together. We also need some money. A solution to the problem, without having to dismantle the bridge, has been found, but it will cost a significant amount of money. We need the Minister of State’s help to resolve that issue in order that we can increase the number of tourists coming to east Galway, particularly Ballinasloe in which we also have fine conference centres. If other parts of the country are not suitable for the holding of conferences, we have a fine new hotel in Ballinasloe that would be capable of handling large conferences.
I would welcome information about the expensive solution to which Senator Mullins refers.