Clare “behind the curve” in catering for camper vans

Clare is not designed for camper vans and suitable locations need to be found to accommodate such visitors, members of the West Clare Municipal District have said.

Councillors Ian Lynch (IND) and Cillian Murphy (FF) both tabled motions relating to overnight camping, caravans and camper vans to the MD’s September meeting. Lynch asked for bye laws to be developed “to regulate and control the influx of temporary overnight visitors” and to identify “safe and suitable locations” for them to reside at. Murphy requested a feasibility study on the number of sites for overnight rental “on a twenty four hour basis using existing public car parking facilities”.

“There is merit in improving/increasing the provision of these tourism services tailored to demand and appropriate regulation,” Leonard Cleary acknowledged in his reply. The Director of Rural Development confirmed the County Council would “develop a proposal for a feasibility study to address this tourism need and also associated issues acquiring bye-laws”.

Waste left behind by guests to the county in camper vans is causing problems for residents and the Kilrush Tidy Towns who “are having to clean up their waste,” Cllr Lynch said. “Every time we look at doing something in West Clare we say tourism is going to be a saviour but we are not set up for camper vans”. He added, “We’re a bit behind the curve but before it passes us out, we might come up with the infrastructure for it”.

Cllr Murphy stated, “Ireland in general and Clare specifically is extremely poorly served by serviced overnight parking for motor homes”. In Ireland, the local spend per day of motor home owners is believed to be in the region of €30-€40. To highlight the differences in spend, he referred to a New Zealand study on the subject which estimated that the stay length of domestic renters was 9 days and international visitors 19. €115 was their average daily spend.

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