Longford needs to harness the expertise of companies and entrepreneurs already in Longford as part of the new County Mayor’s primary aim of promoting Longford in a positive light.
Speaking to the Leader days after becoming the mayor for the second time, Cllr Sean Farrell said it was essential Longford harnessed the expertise and the natural beauty already within the county.
“Longford’s industrial base is not huge, and we know outside agencies aren’t promoting us the way they should be, but what we do have is established and successful companies and we need to liaise more with these companies.
“It was gloomy reading seeing that the IDA hasn’t visited this county in three years, but there are companies already here that already know what Longford has to offer. There may be other parts of their businesses that could be encouraged into the county,” the Fine Gael councillor said.
The Newtowncashel native will be mayor when Minister Phil Hogan publishes his long awaited plans for Local Government reform. It is expected that a number of smaller town councils will be abolished and merged with the County Councils prior to the next Local Elections in 2014.
“If we look at what’s happened recently with Dáil deputies being reduced, it’s inevitable the number of councillors will drop. How that is going to manifest I do not know, but I think Longford will have grave difficulty in holding onto its 21 county councillors.”
Just months ago, Cllr Farrell got into hot water for describing some Town Councils as “talking shops”, but the outspoken councillor believes it is hard to ignore that major changes are in the pipeline. “The Minister has made it clear he intends on amalgamating and abolishing a number of Town Councils. How that manifests itself in this county remains to be seen, but the likes of Granard, which is neither a rating or a planning authority is very much at risk, I would say.”
Farrell, who was first elected in 1999, also believes ‘The Gathering 2013’, a government sponsored initiative aimed at encouraging people to visit Ireland next year, is a great opportunity for Longford to showcase itself.
“There isn’t a family in this county who hasn’t seen family members leave in the last 100 years. Many of these have gone onto great things and these people still have a real goodwill for the county. It’s a great untapped resource for us here and if The Gathering is sold well it has enormous potential both for tourism, and perhaps for encouraging new business into the county.”