Plans afoot to bring digital hub to Longford

Plans afoot to bring digital hub to Longford

A digital hub aimed at attracting new business and investment opportunities to Longford town could be just around the corner.

Local authority officials have held preliminary talks with Department of Environment bosses over seeking possible funding streams to finance the project.

The announcement was delivered by Director of Services Barbara Heslin at last week's monthly county council meeting.

Ms Heslin said progress had been made  in relation to piecing together a detailed proposal to put to department figureheads.

But she warned any hopes of securing the required  approval needed to fund  the project to fruition hinged on the support of the local business community.

 “There has been quite a considerable amount of work  that has gone on in the background in relation to this,” she said.

Ms Heslin said two major strands of those endeavours had centred largely on the development of a local economic and community plan through the auspices of the Council's Environmental Strategic Policy Committee (SPC).

She also revealed representatives from its Local Enterprise Office together with the Longford Chamber of Commerce have focused much of their time in recent  weeks on the development of a detailed business plan.

  Despite those attempts, not every member of the Council chamber welcomed the news.

Cllr Mae Sexton said she harboured grave concerns about the apparent lack of input which had been set aside for Longford Municipal District members.

Chief Executive Paddy Mahon gave a short, snappy reply to Cllr Sexton and insisted any limited company board set up to oversee the project would not be  at the expense of elected members.

“This is a democratic forum for councillors and that's my answer?” Cllr Sexton grumpily retorted.

Ms Heslin who attempted to clarify the Council's stance for a second time said talks were progressing across a number of areas with a view to demonstrating any would be hub was both viable and sustainable.  “If we can't do that then we won't get funding,” she told Cllr Sexton, adding the strategy was very much at the behest of Longford County Council.

“So it's not being driven by the Municipal District?” Cllr Sexton asked for a second time. “That's fine.”