Fifteen out of Longford County Council’s 18 elected representatives have flown to a Center Parcs site in the UK today (Wednesday) to see how one of its five holiday resorts operates.
The trip follows on from an open invitation from Center Parcs which was delivered at the July meeting of the local authority by Director of Services, Frank Sheridan.
Local representatives were set to fly into Luton Airport this morning for the one day excursion, before later travelling to the leisure firm’s Woburn site in Bedfordshire.
A representative from the Longford Leader and another from Shannonside Radio also travelled.
Only three councillors-John Duffy, Peggy Nolan and Mae Sexton- will not attend, the Leader understands.
In a statement this week, Acting Director of Services Michael Nevin explained the decision to bring such a large delegation, saying the trip would give local politicians a better handle on Center Parcs as a company.
“The trip to Center Parcs at the invitation of the Center Parcs Management gives our public representatives an opportunity to see first-hand the scale and quality of a Center Parcs development and will ensure that they are better informed as the project moves through the different phases,” he said.
“The trip is a one-day trip and while there are travel costs , the Local Authority considers that the potential benefits far outweigh the monetary cost of the trip.”
Mr Nevin also confirmed no members from the Council’s executive would be accompanying elected members to the UK.
Cllr Mae Sexton, one of the three local representatives staying behind, had mixed views on the trip.
She said while it would have be interesting to see the Center Parcs site up close, she raised questions about the timing of the one day visit.
“You would have to wonder about 15 of them (councillors) going before the planning process has gone through,” she said.
“But seeing as the invite came from the CEO of Center Parcs (Martin Dalby) it would have been difficult to turn it down.”
Meanwhile, it’s also understood senior figures from the UK short break holiday provider intend holding a third community open day next month.
For a full report on the Center Parcs trip, see next week’s Leader .