Sheila Reilly


Sheila Reilly

Every now and then, somebody somewhere in Longford says something needs to be done for Longford.

Every now and then, somebody somewhere in Longford says something needs to be done for Longford.

“Somebody should do something,” they will proclaim wholeheartedly while they do precisely nothing except wring their hands and grind their teeth.

Inevitably, they will go on to say that ‘Nobody does anything for this county’ and ‘It is time that something was done’. By somebody, one presumes.

They will go on to list a long line of agencies and organisations who ‘do nothing for the county’ before adding that ‘the place has gone to the dogs’. Case closed, then.

Well, not quite.

This week’s Longford Leader contains a 60 page guide to events celebrating The Gathering in Longford in 2013. Over 140 events are taking place in Longford throughout the year for a festival that draws on everything from our proud literary tradition to potatoes. Yes, potatoes.

There are school reunions, clan gatherings, sports days, cultural events, vintage exhibitions, the list goes on and on. The President of Ireland is coming to visit. The French crew from Noyal are coming to visit. People are coming home for the various events that are taking place. Some are only coming home from Dublin but they are are as welcome as those coming from Dubai or anywhere else.

The Gathering is what you make of it and that is why it is so positive to see so many people joining in the effort to make something out of it for Longford.

This county is woefully neglected when it comes to tourism promotion. But the Gathering is an opportunity to promote ourselves and showcase the county.

The best part is that it is all happening because somebody, somewhere, did something.

A true Longford man:

Paddy Belton was a Longford man to the core of his being and his sudden death last week at just 66 years of age has profoundly saddened all who knew him. Paddy, a long-standing county councillor, was a true man of the community.

He was fiercely proud and protective of his native Kenagh and was deeply involved in myriad community events. But he was also very proud of his native county and this was particularly evident during his time as County Mayor, a role he carried out with diligence and vision.

He had a finely tuned political mind but he also understood people and this was his real strength. His passing is a true loss to his community, council colleagues and county but most of all, to his family. May he rest in peace.