They came. They saw. Now they must conquer! And last week the event at the Irish Embassy in London to showcase all the very best that Longford has to offer certainly went down a treat with pubic representatives, dignitaries and business people on both sides of the water.
The event aimed to explore mutually-beneficial opportunities in the areas of trade, communications and culture between Longford and the diaspora in London and was hosted by His Excellency, the Irish Ambassador Mr Bobby McDonagh at the Irish Embassy in London. Minister for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD was also in attendance and he officially launched the county’s ‘Programme of Events and Festivals’ for The Gathering Ireland 2013.
No less than six Longford businesses travelled over and all were provided with a unique opportunity to extend the hand of friendship and harness contacts and connections in an effort to promote the business and tourism potential of this county.
Initiated by Cllr Peggy Nolan, the event in London allowed business representatives there to meet with the IDA in the UK’s capital city. They talked, they networked and they listened and already two businesses in the UK have spoken about their interest in developing and expanding operations to Longford.
“It was a huge success; six Longford companies travelled over to London and met with the IDA there,” Cllr Nolan said. “Also in attendance was a lot of our young diaspora – second and third generation – and as I have always said before, Longford’s loss was London’s gain.”
The local public representative went on to say that she felt compelled “to do something” that would showcase the business and tourism potential of Longford after she realised that the IDA had not invested in the county in over three years. “Everyone in London was very impressed by what Longford had to offer,” Cllr Nolan continued. “There are already a number of companies considering Longford as a destination in which to do business and we were also in a position to network with other Irish business people when we were in London. There is the potential to develop several sites in Longford from a business point of view and as regards tourism, well we have it all – it must be marketed correctly. The professionalism in which the event was carried out is something, that I have to say, could be emanated by other counties and we are the first county that made contact with the Embassy in London. There were also a number of presentations on the night and everyone there, was provided with Torc chocolates – showcasing world-class chocolates made in Longford; it was just such a successful event and we must have a can do attitude in Longford, because yes we can.”
Meanwhile, Michael Nevin, Longford Enterprise Board CEO said that the event provided a “real” and “valuable” opportunity for Longford to do business. “It was very worthwhile; we went to the Enterprise Ireland office in London and the six local businesses that travelled over were provided with a presentation on breaking into the UK market,” Mr Nevin added. “The event provided us all with a unique opportunity to connect with people, businesses and other entities in London and to showcase and promote all that Co Longford has to offer. Already we have been approached by a number of business people in the UK who wish to do business in Longford and that is a very positive step in the right direction.”