The tourist season at the Swiss Cottage will not start until Wednesday, April 2 this year, more than two weeks later than last year.
The decision to delay the opening from St Patrick’s Day, which locals had campaigned for, to next month has been met with anger.
The Swiss Cottage is one of the hidden gems of Tipperary and the site is of a great economic benefit to the town but is not utilised as it should be, according to Chairman of Cahir Tidy Towns, Andy Moloney, who has been looking for a reprieve for the traditional opening date of March 17.
Minister Brain Hayes pointed out, in response to the campaign, that the cost of security, heating and wages have to come into consideration and suggested that The Swiss Cottage could be opened by volunteers in the interim period from March 17 to April 2. However Mr Moloney disputes these statistics saying the Swiss Cottage has to be heated and needs security 24/7. “When we take the cost of wages less social welfare currently being paid for the staff and less admission fees we are only talking buttons.”
The minister said that they are currently looking at all sites nationally as to their viability and is looking for the “Friends of Irish Heritage” to get involved in running more sites on a voluntary basis.
“In order for the Swiss Cottage to generate more revenue we will need to be proactive and not fall foul of the Ministers axe in future years,” Mr Moloney said, calling on the council to erect decent picture signs in the Castle Car Park and approach roads to help the Swiss Cottage and the town in general, as Tidy Towns have made huge strides in selling Cahir Town in recent years but sadly the pulling power of large centres like Clonmel.
“The bottom line is that Cahir needs the Swiss Cottage and tourist office open longer to reap the economic benefits,” according to Mr Moloney.