Proposal to develop Town harbour

In the week that the Town Council received the go-ahead to proceed with a feasibility study into linking the town with a spur from the Royal Canal, one councillor put forward the proposal of redeveloping and re-opening the old harbour area in Longford.

In the week that the Town Council received the go-ahead to proceed with a feasibility study into linking the town with a spur from the Royal Canal, one councillor put forward the proposal of redeveloping and re-opening the old harbour area in Longford.

Cllr Paul Connell, who proposed the idea at the recent Town Council meeting, said Longford Community Resources Ltd should be approached with a view to making it one of the 'flagship' projects as part of its allocation to be spent by 2013.

Speaking at the recent Town Council meeting, Cllr Connell, said, "We (Town Council) should start ourselves and as a project that we would open the harbour here in Longford as a flagship project backed by Longford Community Resources."

He said project must be good for the whole county, and with just three flagship projects agreed for the entire country, it would represent an opportunity to move the canal project further.

Cllr Connell said LCRL has e13m to spend by 2013 and said he couldn't see how or where the money could be spent.

"If we don't soon do something like that, we will be handing back in excess of half of the monies that we were granted, because for the simple reason some of it will have to be match-funded.

"If we started to open the (old) harbour here, we could use all of the works that we are doing here as matching funding, as I understand it."

He said that once the project was underway, the council would be in a greater position to ask for the spur to be brought from Clondra to Longford.

Town Clerk Dan Rooney told councillors that plans for a feasibility study are progressing, following a meeting with the department.

"Cllr Connell, Mayor Warnock and myself met with the Minister early in the year and he (Pat Carey) has now given a commitment that Waterways Ireland will carry out that feasibility study this year," said Mr Rooney.

Cllr Mae Sexton welcomed the news, saying it was very important to get the spur to Longford.

"I think it would be very, very important for the growth of Longford. With any town that has river or water going through it, it's very clear that it does give them that extra boost. Not just with people coming off the boats, but people tend to be drawn to the water in good weather. If you go to Carrick-on-Shannon on any summer's evening, you can see the crowds there."