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Is This What They Label As “Fake News”?

A new €2million initiative has been launched in an effort to boost tourism across ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ region, with a promise of further funding to follow this initial €2m allocation.

‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ is the latest brand to be launched by Fáilte Ireland following their ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ and even less convincing ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’.

This ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ promotion will covers parts of Leitrim, Roscommon, East Galway, East Clare, North Tipperary, Offaly, Westmeath, Longford and Cavan.

Same, we are informed will encourage tourism through the promotion of walking, cycling and boating, as well as fishing and other activities in and around towns and villages within the region. A series of food networks and trails will also be developed; with the flood prone River Shannon marketed together with Waterways Ireland to encourage tourism both on and off the river.

Today was obviously a slow news day everywhere; with national and local TV, Radio, Press and social media outlets, all grabbing the “Fake News” for their various publications.

Photo-shopped children appeared; jumping off boats into Lough Allen in one publication; in others a water scape showed a leaking waterlogged boat on a reeded shoreline, and all designed to drive visitor growth across the Midlands region, thus exposing the Midland’s rich natural assets, which includes our God given lakes, walkways and ‘Sunday Blueways’. (They are right in one stated fact; to immerse yourself in the heart of rural Ireland you do need a canoe.)

Is ‘Drive’ the Clue?
Sounds great, but it would appear that Fáilte Ireland’s members; their CEO Mr Paul Kelly and Mr Paul Keeley (Director of Commercial Development), apparently just don’t get “out and about”, much, anymore. While they have been sweating; involved “in months of extensive market testing”; gleaned they claim both from here (I can’t find one person contacted in North Tipperary, in relation to this new branding) and overseas, it would appear that most of the gathered information came from tourists abroad, and from persons who have never driven on Ireland’s secondary road surfaces.

Keep in mind that this new initiative, which has little for North Tipperary natives to get into a bee-like frenzy about, is expected to tap into that “off the beaten track” experience.

But perhaps the biggest chuckle, is that this new ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ brand was officially launched by Mr Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport who sped down the M4 & M6 motorways for an announcement ceremony in Athlone, Co. Westmeath. (Home of Mr Kevin “Boxer” Moran).

Latter named Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Minister Mr Kevin “Boxer” Moran, who first revealed the name of this new brand as ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’, declared it to be a beautiful name, which had proven very successful in pre-trials, (Me I would have preferred a more descriptive brand name myself, something like “The Deep Pot Holes, Beyond The Luas Line”

No, Mr Moran and Mr Ross made no mention of structural failures on off-motorway road surfaces, caused by flood water in the underlying soil structures; as they gazed grinning from behind a cardboard cut-out.

Why does my late grandmother’s dissenting description now echo and spring to mind; “Asses looking over a whitewashed wall”.

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