A CUSHENDALL resident who was born and bred in the village has said the constant promotion of tourism has concealed a growing problem for Cushendall and at this stage it has become a “critical emergency.”
Colum Thompson, who sat as a Sinn Féin Cllr on Moyle District Council, said this is a community issue that needs genuine radical thought and thinking outside the box.
Speaking to The Chronicle following our feature last week where Paddy McLaughlin claimed Cushendall village was dying, Colum said he agreed with Mr McLaughlin's sentiments, but couldn't help thinking the problem facing Cushendall is “much more serious than that.”
Colum said: “I’ve known Paddy for many years and he has always been a superb advocate for the promotion of The Glens in general and Cushendall in particular. A real genuine community man. I cannot help but agree with him about the plight of our village but while he bemoans the standard of picnic tables and a rusty bin around the boat club and the lack of mooring space and facilities for visiting boats I am afraid that the problem facing Cushendall is much more serious than that.
“Yes, Cushendall is a local beauty spot, we market ourselves as “The Gateway To The Glens”, we have areas of outstanding natural beauty and areas of specific scientific interest on our doorstep as well as a rich vibrant cultural offering and local history that is the envy of many.
“Tourism is extremely important to our village and I agree wholeheartedly that The Causeway Coast And Glens Council have failed in their responsibility to present Cushendall in the best way possible.”
However, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council defended their position, telling The Chronicle: “Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council continues to maintain all its assets to the same high standard based on the resources available. If there are particular issues which need addressed, Council Officers are always available to inspect and assess the priority needs of the area.”
Whilst Colum said the promotion of tourism is important for any village, he felt the constant promotion has concealed a growing problem for Cushendall.
He continued: “This is an issue that should take priority for every elected representative, community group and club in Cushendall. Less than 30 years ago I attended St. Mary’s Primary School in Cushendall I was in a class of 36, a few years after there was a class in the school with 42 pupils.
“My daughter is a current P5 pupil in the school and in her class there are 10 pupils."
For the full story see this week's Ballycastle Chronicle