Waterford City Walking Tours boss, Jack Burtchaell, believes that matters have improved on the city streets since speaking out against the intimidation which tourists face in the city centre.

Thanking The Munster Express for the role it played in highlighting his concerns, Mr Burtchaell said a Garda presence on the streets had been more notable since speaking out in this newspaper.

But he rejected claims made by Waterford City Councillor Mary Roche that his recent intervention, as the tourist season approaches its height, was, in fact, counterproductive.

Cllr Roche claimed that all Jack Burtchaell’s comments had achieved were to shoot ‘his own business and every other tourism related business in Waterford, right bang in the foot’.

She added: “Now whether he’s wrong or right isn’t my point, for the moment. My point is that what he did was counter-productive and destined to damage his own business!” Cllr Roche went further, describing Mr Burtchaell’s comments to The Munster Express in our June 26th edition as ‘self sabotage’.

Fantastic tour

“Jack Burtchaell runs a fantastic Walking Tours of Waterford business – built out of his own extensive knowledge and innovation. Fair play to him, but I have spoken to other people in the tourism business here in Waterford who are most upset at his comments and who are not and never have been affected by either drunks or graffiti.”

However, speaking on Thursday’s ‘Deise AM’ programme on WLRfm, Mr Burtchaell was adamant that his coming forward hadn’t shot his or any other tourism-related business in the foot.

“If there was any other way for me to get something done about what I see on the streets every day, I would have done so”, he told presenter Billy McCarthy. Referring to an early morning tour conducted yesterday, Mr Burtchaell commented: “I had a group out at eight o’clock, mostly made up of Australians and Canadians and we had a fantastic tour. The streets were free of the hassle that I have been talking about because the usual suspects were not around.”