A KERRY Councillor has called for Dingle and the surrounding areas to receive financial support if Fungie the dolphin does not return.
Fianna Fáil Councillor and Corca Dhuibhne representative Breandán Fitzgerland said that Fungie had been the prime livelihood of up to 13 families providing boat tours in the Dingle area for decades.
Not only this, but the majority of tourists from Ireland and beyond who descend on Dingle and west Kerry do so in order to catch a glimpse of the dolphin, and should Fungie not return, the local economy would be hurt.
According to The Irish Times, Mr Fitzgerald suggested a diversification support for the families involved in boating trips, such as providing marine craft licenses which would allow them to bring people further out to sea to see whales and other pods of dolphins.
The love people had for Fungie, his unique story and the effect he had on the town could also be utilised in the creation of a cultural centre or museum in Dingle, Mr Fitzgerald suggested.
He said that over the winter, he, the Department for the Marine, Dingle Harbour officials and the local authority would get together and "investigate what supports are out there and can be put in place".
The search for the world's longest-living solitary dolphin continues, but is being wound down.
Fungie has now been missing for well over a week; previously, the longest he had gone missing was around four or five hours.
Breandán Fitzgerald told The Irish Times "I hope Fungie comes back but even if he does not return, this isn't the end of his story".