“The céad míle fáilte that we are known for is needed now more than ever” to help Ukrainian families, says Catherine Martin


Arts and Culture Minister Catherine Martin has said Ireland “will not be absent” from efforts to help “war-torn” Ukrainian families.

Speaking at Knowth in Co Meath, where a €1.8million visitor experience at Brú na Bóinne officially opened today, Ms Martin described the devastation in Ukraine as “absolutely heartbreaking” and although the immediate concern is life Protecting them, she said there too, “appears to be an attempt to wipe out their culture and heritage.”

She said the focus must be on humanitarian efforts and that the “céad míle fáilte that we are known for is needed now more than ever”.

“It’s unbelievable that on the eighth day over a million Ukrainians crossed the border.”

“It’s absolutely devastating for her and the heartbreaking scenes of families being torn apart. So we’re not going to fall short, and that’s what we’re focusing on on how we can help those families.”

When asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin, she said: “The unity of the countries against oppression and the attitude towards the Ukrainians may have surprised him and I think we will only be more united in the coming days.”

Meanwhile, Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly said it was too early to tell what impact the war in Ukraine might have on attendance.

He said the price of fuel “is going to affect the cost of air travel, so there’s certainly going to be a lot of cost pressure coming into the market that could depress demand a bit.”

He said that in general people are “optimistic about the year in terms of demand, it’s just too early and too difficult to say what the impact of the war in Ukraine will be.”

Mr Kelly said after being devastated by the pandemic, the signs have been positive for this year.

“We have good growth in flight access, which should bring a good recovery in international visitors, and we hope to retain much of the strong domestic tourism economy we’ve had in recent years.

“We know from the past that any kind of unrest in Europe will deter long-haul markets, the US market, etc., which tend to see Europe as a ‘one region’ sort of thing.

“The fact that Ireland is on the western edge of Europe and Ireland has an excellent reputation for safety. We hope this provides some level of protection for all of us.”

The enhanced visitor experience at Knowth includes an enhanced interpretation to tell the story of Professor George Eogan’s 50 year archaeological excavation of the site, the importance of the site’s megalithic art and its importance nationally and internationally.

It was officially opened by Mrs Martin and Deputy Secretary for the Office of Public Works (OPW) Patrick O’Donovan.

Ms Martin said the Knowth investment will create over 260 jobs and generate an additional 14,000 visitors each year.

“WWe expect EUR 1.6 million in additional tourism revenue over five years, so this is an extremely important day,” she said.

Among those attending the opening was Prof Eogan’s widow, Fiona, who said he was “absolutely thrilled”.

she said it will “do a great job of immortalizing the site and immortalizing him and all the work he has done here – he has been totally devoted to this site for decades”.

Clare Tuffy, manager of the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, said the art is the site’s great treasure and the exterior art at Knowth “suggests that people may have gathered here around the monument to admire this magnificent ritual site”.

“WHere in Newgrange it’s all about exclusivity, entering the small chamber and the very few people who could see the sun.

“SA visit to Newgrange and Knowth complement each other and celebrate all the richness of the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage site.” “The céad míle fáilte that we are known for is needed now more than ever” to help Ukrainian families, says Catherine Martin

Fry Electronics Team

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