This morning’s confirmation that An Bord Pleanala has given the go-ahead for Center Parcs Longford Forest holiday village at Ballymahon has been warmly welcomed by local politicians and business groups.
Longford Chamber of Commerce President Derek Scanlon said, “This is a landmark project for County Longford and will enhance the local community and economy immeasurably.”
Mr Scanlon added, “We have a large number of hidden tourism gems already in County Longford, not least, the fantastic waterways that are the River Shannon, the River Inny, the Royal Canal, historic and award winning villages such as Ardagh, Newtowncashel and Abbeyshrule, monastic monuments and sites and of course the newly refurbished Cathedral in Longford Town. This exciting new development will be the jewel in the crown for our tourism initiatives.”
He thanked the Center Parcs team for choosing Longford and for their dedication to making this project a reality. Mr Scanlon concluded, “I must also highly commend the community of Ballymahon and Ballymahon Traders who have warmly welcomed this project and the team from Center Parcs right from the outset. Their hard work in conjunction with the Members and Executive of Longford County Council has led us to this decision today. Longford Abú.”
Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy pointed out that the Center Parcs Longford Forest project shows that a co-ordinated effort between local and national agencies alongside cross-party support can deliver vital investment for the Midlands region.
Deputy Troy outlined, “Longford County Council and Coillte are to be commended for their efforts in advancing this project, something which has been acknowledged by Center Parcs CEO Mr Martin Dalby. Fianna Fáil has been a long supporter of this proposal. I welcome the comments made by Mr Dalby today that he intends on proceeding with the project without delay.”
He concluded, “We will continue to work to ensure investment is continued for the Midlands region in the years ahead.”
Independent Alliance TD Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said today’s news represents a major vote of confidence in county Longford. “I wish Center Parcs every good wish as they now set about bringing their Longford Forest project to fruition. I look forward to seeing construction beginning as soon as possible.”
Deputy Moran continued, “My sincere hope is that this morning’s news will deliver a permanent boost to the local economy that will be self-sustaining for decades to come. This investment is equivalent to an Intel or Google coming to the midlands.”
Fine Gael Deputy Peter Burke stressed the importance of having sufficient training in place for the local workforce, to ensure that as many of the 750 jobs (during construction) and the 1,000 permanent jobs (when Center Parcs Longford Forest opens in 2019) as possible, stay locally.
Deputy Burke added, “We need to take full advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity for Longford and the Midlands. As the Government TD for Longford, I will be working hard to ensure that Government provides maximum support for this development and all the advantages it will hopefully bring.”
Labour Deputy Willie Penrose Deputy Penrose said it is a red letter day for Longford and the wider Midlands region.
Deputy Penrose remarked, “Center Parcs Longford Forest can become a magnificent ‘jewel in the crown’ for the tourism sector.”
He added, “The potential economic impact is huge and it will boost investment across Longford and Westmeath, and will be transformative from the perspective of employment opportunities economic activity and spin off opportunities.
“I compliment everyone concerned who put their shoulders to the wheel so as to secure this huge project for the Ballymahon area. Having witnessed first-hand how Center Parcs operates in England, I am confident that Longford Forest will be a great success.”