Cham­ber of Com­merce come up trumps with last-minute re­prieve

Bray People - - News - Myles BUCHANAN

WICK­LOW GAOL could re­ceive a last minute re­prieve af­ter the lo­cal District Cham­ber of Com­merce stepped in with pro­pos­als which could see the well known tourist des­ti­na­tion re­main open af­ter all.

The Cham­ber have been hard at work be­hind the scenes work­ing on pro­pos­als that will see Wick­low Gaol re­main open while Wick­low County Coun­cil con­tinue their ten­der­ing process to find a pri­vate op­er­a­tor.

Cham­ber Pres­i­dent Martina Robin­son is adamant that the gaol won’t miss one sin­gle day of the up­com­ing hol­i­day sea­son.

‘We are de­ter­mined not to let this his­toric build­ing close for even one sea­son. If the gaol isn’t open for the forth­com­ing sea­son, it would take us years yo re­gain the con­fi­dence of tour op­er­a­tors, and valu­able vis­i­tor trade to the town would be lost for a min­i­mum of five years.’

The Cham­ber have al­ready met with County Coun­cil of­fi­cials to dis­cuss their pro­posal. Work­ing along­side Wick­low Tourism, the cham­ber would of­fer a ‘ hold­ing po­si­tion’ while the coun­cil com­pletes its ten­der­ing process. This would see the gaol open for busi­ness on April 1 and re­main­ing open for busi­ness dur­ing the sea­son. It also means they would be able to hon­our any book­ings al­ready taken.

Martina ex­plains, ‘be­tween the Cham­ber of­fice and Wick­low Tourism we wanted to en­sure conti- nu­ity of the Gaol, and are cur­rently tak­ing book­ings and con­firm­ing to tour op­er­a­tors that all book­ings made will go ahead. On Tues­day we wel­comed 15 Amer­i­can tourists to an evening tour of the Gaol. It is very much busi­ness as usual.’ The pro­posal of­fers a skilled man­age­ment com­mit­tee to di­rect the gaol un­til Wick­low County Coun­cil finds a suit­able ten­der. It also con­tains a ded­i­cated mar­ket­ing and fi­nan­cial team.

‘There can be no doubt this is a very big com­mit­ment and a se­ri­ous un­der­tak­ing by Wick­low Cham­ber of Com­merce. How­ever, we can­not stand by and watch our lo­cal econ­omy be­ing dealt a fur­ther blow in th­ese al­ready crit­i­cal times. It would be a catas­tro­phe for our Town were we not to fight for this his­toric build­ing and Wick­low’s ma­jor tourist at­trac­tion,’ adds Martina.

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