Minister Leo Varadkar praised Leitrim for “punching above it’s weight“ during the year of the Gathering - but what about next year?
Minister Varadkar said there are more flights into the country and Leitrim is more accessible.
He said despite criticism from actors and even locally within the Irish departments, 5,000 events were held across the country. He said these visitors will tell the world about Ireland and Leitrim.
Also, this year 14,000 more people are working in the tourism/hospitality industry. He said the events helped give communities pride in their area.
Speaking to the Leitrim Observer the minister said there are plans to follow up on the Gathering’s legacy.
For 2014 Minister Varadkar said Leitrim will benefit from the new tourism focus on the “Wild Atlantic way” and activity tourism.
When asked about what impact the prospect of fracking could have on Leitrim tourism, the minister said “I am no expert” on the subject. He said “some people say extraction can be done sensitively and won’t damage the landscape,” while others say it will “destroy the landscape.” He said the decision lies with the planning authorities.