A plan to generate extra business for traders in Longford town ahead of last Sunday’s All-Ireland Finals received a mixed reception from locals.
The ‘Little Mayo’ initiative saw the town being festooned with green and red bunting, streets renamed after Mayo county footballers and many commercial premises displaying Mayo flags, with the intention of attracting passing trade from Mayo Supporters on their way to Croke Park for the big game against Dublin.
However, a section of the local community was less than impressed with the move and a number of people took to Twitter to voice their disapproval.
One user tweeted, “it would suit them better to put this effort and support into their local teams”, while another added, “can we not hold onto whatever dignity we have left?” Elsewhere on the social network, one Longfordian simply stated, “embarrassing.”
There were some messages of support for the project, with one local person saying, “begrudgers need to deal with your poor attitude.”
Responding to the comments, the Chairman of Longford Business Forum, James Behan, clarified that it was his organisation which had spearheaded the initiative and not the Chamber of Commerce, Town and County Councils, who had been in the firing line of some of the negative comments.
Mr Behan pointed out that the project had generated positive coverage of Longford outside the county. “Conceptually, Little Mayo was about projecting a much needed positive image of Longford for Mayo people as they journeyed to Dublin,” he said. “In that respect the event was a success as Longford benefitted from significant positive coverage in print, radio and social media throughout Mayo. It also featured in a TG4 news bulletin, with very favourable footage of the town... as a Dublin man myself, I was not in the least bit offended by the support we gave our Mayo neighbours.”
Mr Behan also confirmed that no public money was used to fund the project. “The venture was financed through very generous sponsorship from town and county businesses,” he explained. “Also, on the plus side for local businesses, the nominal costs of the project went to seven businesses, all of whom are local.”