I thank the Ceann Comhairle for selecting this Topical Issue, and the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Paschal Donohoe, for coming to the House to address the topic. I hope the Minister can give us a positive update today on the potential for investment by Bord Fáilte in tourism facilities on Malin Head. While the role of distributing investment is primarily for Bord Fáilte, the Minister allocates funding to it. He has stood four-square behind Bord Fáilte's Wild Atlantic Way initiative. I very much welcome the initiative, the Minister's support of it and the investment that has been provided to put facilities in place in different parts of the country. I encourage the Minister to continue it through further investment.
Donegal is already seeing the benefits of the Wild Atlantic Way. There has been an increase in visitor numbers which will continue. The initiative puts forward the very real merits of Donegal's tourist product, of which people are aware. Crucial to it, as the Minister knows, is ensuring the facilities are in place to match the concept. While we have the natural landscape, the people and the businesses that are willing to tap into it, we need the tourist infrastructure to be put in place. County Donegal is fortunate to have three of the 15 signature points along the Wild Atlantic Way, namely, the Slieve League cliffs, Fanad Head lighthouse and Malin Head. The county also has 30 of the 150 way points on the Wild Atlantic Way. Overall, Donegal has approximately one fifth of the signature points and way points of the Wild Atlantic Way. There has recently been investment in the Slieve League cliffs. There has also been a very welcome investment in Fanad Head lighthouse, where accommodation is due to open after investment through the Commissioners of Irish Lights working with Donegal County Council and Bord Fáilte. More investment needs to be allocated there to finish the product and deliver toilet and reception facilities there. I commend the participants for the progress made there.
However, today I wish to talk about Malin Head. The local community has been working very hard, along with Donegal County Council and its director of services, Michael Heaney, and Bord Fáilte through Joan Crawford in the county, on putting in place plans which can be brought forward. I commend the local councillor, Martin McDermott, who has worked very hard on this, along with Malin Head Community Association and the Malin Head working group under the auspices of Inishowen Development Partnership, IDP, which, along with the Loughs Agency, has already invested in phase one development at Malin Head, which includes walkways and a viewing platform. Today, I am asking the Minister for an update on funding for phase two, to include toilet facilities, of which there are none, and parking for buses and cars. Donegal County Council approved planning permission for the initiative last Monday and the way is clear for Bord Fáilte to come forward with funding. If it does so, work can begin very promptly. I hope the Minister will have some positive news for us today.