Mall facility to drive civic pride

Michael Ring TD, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, cutting the tape to mark the official opening of the new facilities at The Mall, watched by Mae Sexton (Mayor Longford Municipal District), Seamus Butler (Deputy Mayor Longford Municipal District), Frankie Sheridan (Director of Services), Dan Rooney (former Town Clerk), Tim Caffrey (Longford County Council CEO), James Bannon TD, Cllr Paul Ross and Cllr John Browne with the kids from Gaelscoil Longfoirt and St Michael Boys NS. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
It’s not often you see two well known politicians pitting their wits against one another on the field of play.

It’s not often you see two well known politicians pitting their wits against one another on the field of play.

But that’s precisely what transpired at Longford’s Mall Complex on Tuesday of last week as Sports Minister Michael Ring cut the ribbon on a new pitch and bocce court.

At a total cost of €67,000, the funding forms part of a €3m initiative for recreation facilities across the country.

And it didn’t take the Mayo TD long to try out the new surrounds alongside party colleague and local Fine Gael TD James Bannon.

The pair enjoyed a brief exchange of bocce in front of local politicians and pupils from Gaelscoil Longford and St Michael’s Boys National School.

The results of that impromptu contest were not disclosed as Mr Bannon opted to heap praise on the quality of the new facilities.

Mr Bannon commented, “Since February 2011, Longford and Westmeath have received €2.57 million in funding under the sports capital programme.

“The new Pitch and Bocce Court that we see here are a prime example of how that money is used.”

More specifically, the Legan TD said the State funding would go a long way towards promoting health and well-being across the county.

“The sport capital grant aims to assist voluntary and community organisations and schools develop high quality, safe, well-designed, sustainable facilities in appropriate locations and to provide appropriate equipment to help maximise participation in sport and physical recreation.”

Deputy Bannon suggested that facilities like the Mall’s new Multi Use Games Area and Bocce Court would drive civic pride.

“Every community deserves and needs recreational and sporting facilities for all age groups to foster a sense of belonging and pride in local areas,” he said.

“This is exactly what is happening with this new facility in Longford town and I was delighted to have the Minister officially open it.”