‘No Days Out for Groups’ in south Armagh

March 23, 2010

Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has come under fire from Sinn Féin Councillor Colman Burns following its near complete omission of the south Armagh area from a recent publication entitled ‘Great Days Out for Groups.’

The booklet, which contains 246 pages detailing places to visit, devotes just six lines to the south Armagh area.  Furthermore, south Armagh has been included in the County Down section of the booklet.

Sinn Féin’s response to the guide has been scathing with Councillor Burns remarking: “At first glance, the ‘Great Days Out for Groups’ guide looks like a fantastic publication.  It’s glossy, colourful and full of pictures.  I couldn’t wait to see what NITB had included on my area.  I was dismayed however to find that within the County Armagh section there was no reference at all to south Armagh.

“Any group basing their visit to the six counties on this production would be forgiven for thinking that south Armagh doesn’t exist or, at best, that there is nothing to do in south Armagh and no reason to visit.

“The Tourist Board has failed to note in their publication that in 1991 a large section of this area was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  There is also no mention of the beautiful lakes and rivers of south Armagh.  In fact some of these lakes were found by an NRRTI (Natural Resource Rural Tourism Initiative) study to contain rare specimen fish and an excellent water quality.”

Mr Burns continued: “The sheer wealth of attractions in south Armagh, from the scenery to the cultural and music heritage, make this a fabulous area to visit.  Any night of the week visitors can enjoy traditional music sessions in local clubs and bars. There are also plenty of things going on around Camlough Lake, which was recently used in the successful World Record swimming event.

The Councillor also pointed out the public and private investment in the last number of years to improve the aesthetics of the area’s towns and villages, and in particular, the Square in Crossmaglen.

“I am demanding a meeting with NITB to discuss the exclusion of south Armagh from this booklet.  People must bear in mind that this sort of thing impacts on ratepayers as it is now left up to the local council to promote south Armagh,” he said.