PRO of Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, Paddy Malone, says a way forward needs to be found for a proposed vehicle ferry which could unlock the tourism potential of the region.
Last week plans for a vehicle ferry were once again put forward, which would see the development of ferry terminals at both Greencastle and Greenore.
A standoff is however forming between those who want the ferry and those who don’t.
Mr Malone however believes the ferry would create a ‘Ring of Kerry’ like atttraction in the area, and would work in tandem with the Narrowwater Bridge should it be built.
“I’m personally all in favour of a car ferry, whoever gets the go ahead to build it.
“The fears of the people of Greencastle of course need to be addressed, but a way forward for such an enterprise needs to be found.
“The last thing we want to do is wreck the natural beauty of the area by over commercialising it. The area is the product, and obviously it’s in no one’s interest to destroy it.
“Last year we were at the tourism expo and people from the Greencastle ara spoke to us about their very real concerns for what a ferry would do to the area. Many farmers in the area are afraid that ramblers will flood in the area.
“After speaking to them I think we allayed a lot of the fears that are there. “
Mr Malone visited the area last year and he says that talking about the issue is the only way forward. “We need to sit down and calmy and logically debate the issues.”
Mr Malone says that it will benefit the Mourne at least as much, if not more then it willthe Cooley area.
“You create a ring where you could drive across the Narrowater and return across the ferry. It would make the entire area a tourist destination in a simliar vein to the Ring of Kerry.”
Both the Narrowater and the ferry are not dependent on one of the other project failing and would work together to create a circular route - according to Mr Malone.
However there has been significant opposition to that plan from Greencastle Area Residents Group (GARG) who oppose plans for any ferry service between the two points. At a meeting of the GARG in October of 2011, a sounding was taken from those present regarding their views on the proposed ferry. The views expressed were resoundingly opposed to the ferry – with 90 per cent opposed the introduction of the ferry.