'CUSHENDALL village is dying' – these are the words of a well known local man as he called for Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council to invest more in the 'Gateway to the Glens of Antrim'.
Paddy McLaughlin issued the stark warning last week after observing the amount of investment made by Council in Portrush prior to the Open.
Highlighting the tired looking picnic table in the boat club car park, Paddy said: “After Council has poured all this money into Portrush there won't be any money left for beauty spots like Cushendall.
“We are right beside a Council owned caravan park and there are international tourists there every day. They look horrified when they see the state of the village.
“This is the international gateway to the Glens of Antrim and it's an absolute disgrace that the grass is left to be overgrown, the bin is rusty and the picnic tables have seen better days.
“I needn't even say the grass is overgrown because it wasn't even grass that was planted in the first place. We get tourists camping and there's no place for them to tie up their bikes, yet in the bigger towns they have amenities there. We just have nothing, it's a joke, but not a funny one.
“Perhaps when the Open is over, their cast-offs will be shipped down to Cushendall? There is a massive opportunity here just passing Council by. There are boats in Cushendall every night but the facilities here for them are terrible, the slipway is terrible.
“Council came out a few years ago when a wall fell down at the beach and rather than repair it, they put a fence around it.
“Dalriada slipway has been closed for around two years now, though I hear that once the contractors are finished in Portrush they'll be back.
“Cushendall village is dying. Without investment from Council in jobs, businesses and tourism as well as housing, what is the future for Cushendall? The neglect of the village is a total disgrace whilst the bigger towns get all the money spent on them. Ratepayers live in Cushendall too and we're sick of being the poor relations.
SDLP Cllr Margaret Anne McKillop echoed Mr McLaughlin's concerns, saying it was “high time Causeway Coast and Glens Council stopped ignoring the Glens”.
Sinn Féin's Cllr Oliver McMullan said he wouldn't disagree with Mr McLaughlin, adding that he has been lobbying Council for a number of years now for more investment in the area.
He told The Chronicle: “I have recently been in touch with Council in regards to life-saving equipment at the beaches – what's there is unfit for purpose. I have also been in touch regarding the wall Paddy is talking about – they say they are waiting on the Maritime Environmental Agency to respond, but it's been going on for far too long."
For full story see this week's paper