Members of the Longford delegation who visited Mexico last week were keen to stress the positive aspects of the visit and its potential for the county upon their return at the weekend.
As reported first in last week’s Longford Leader Longford county manager Tim Caffrey, County Librarian Mary Carleton-Reynolds, Cathaoirleach Mark Casey and councillors Peggy Nolan (FG) and Martin Mulleady (FF) formed the delegation visiting Mexico city and Huixquilican, which was twinned with Longford town just two months ago.
“It was a very positive visit,” Cllr Mark Casey told the Leader on Monday.
“We met with business leaders both within Mexico city and in Huixquilican, and we learned more about the political structures there.”
While the divide between wealth and poverty remains very stark in Mexico city , much has been done to improve the city and Huixquilican has been one of the main areas to benefit from that.
“We also visited the local college which has 12,000 students and is run by a Dublin man - David Tennyson,” added Cllr Casey.
“We examined the possibility of a student exchange programme as well, and that would be a major accomplishment if that were to come about.
“Business links have now been established and a Mexican delegation will visit Longford in July, so we are hopeful that jobs for Longford will come out of this.
“The Government has ignored Longford and there is no IDA strategy in the county either, so this is about us doing it for ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Martin Mulleady pointed to Longford’s central location and the country’s improving economy as the main attractions in business relations with Mexico.
“The Mexicans see our economy as very attractive as indeed is our corporation tax rates, and as well as that Longford is situated in the centre of Ireland - it doesn’t get much better for us in business terms,” he added.
“There is a market to be tapped into in Mexico and Longford has been one of the first in Ireland to tap into it. We sold ourselves in the best way we could and there is no doubt in my mind there will be jobs for Longford out of this.”
Just last March Mexican Ambassador to Ireland Carlos García de Alba with his delegation from Huixquilican signed the twinning agreement at Longford Co Council’s headquarters on Great Water Street.
“The potential for jobs for Longford from this is huge,” Cllr Peggy Nolan told the Leader on Monday adding that, she believes, if Co Longford could provide the necessary infrastructure, multinational companies would be in a position to establish their European base here.
“We would then be able to provide high tech jobs right here in Co Longford. The visit was the first block to building something extraordinary and it is time now for Longford to believe in itself.”