Former Providers home to house new Longford digital hub

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford innovation and digital hub takes giant step towards becoming a reality

Longford County Council has acquired the former Providers premises on lower Main Street, Longford town.

A new, state of the art innovative hub is coming to Longford after local authority chiefs secured agreement to purchase the former home of hardware firm, Providers.

Senior Council officials hope to conclude a deal on the three story building over the coming weeks.

The announcement, details of which were relayed to local politicians at a meeting last week, follows months of painstaking behind the scenes talks between executives, department representatives and selling agents.

Last month, the Leader carried a story telling how the Council was remaining tight lipped on mounting speculation that a breakthrough was imminent.

This newspaper was also asked to refrain from identifying the former Providers building as the preferred location for the planned hub, such was the sensitive nature of the project.

Last week however, Director of Services Barbara Heslin revealed the Council’s offer on the premises had been accepted.

Subject to contracts being signed off on, plans to implement a business case for a new ‘Creative and Innovation Hub’ would begin in earnest.

“The vision is to incorporate an innovation hub for new ICT (information and communications technology) type businesses, hot-desking and a shared working space,” she said.

As part of the plans, Ms Heslin said the Council was already looking to try and secure an anchor tenant with an application already being made under the Government’s €10m Town and Village Renewal scheme.

She also said the Upper Shannon Erne Future Economy project (USEFE) comprising Longford, Cavan and Leitrim county councils has secured funding under the Regional Enterprise Ireland Development Fund for a feasibility study to develop a network of ICT enterprise centres or ‘E-hubs’ across the three counties.

Cathaoirleach, Cllr Martin Mulleady said the announcement represented an important vote of confidence in Longford’s continued economic progression.

Cllr Micheal Carrigy was just as enthused, saying the project was something he first brought to the Council’s attention earlier this year.

“The fact that this will now be a reality is the most important thing. I have no doubt it will change the fortunes of Longford town and county for the better,” he said.

They were claims Cllr Gerry Warnock disputed by stressing the idea was a blueprint first established by the six members of Longford Municipal District.

“It looks like it will be a very, very significant project and as I said at the time it will bring a new lease of life to Lower Main Street,” he said.

His opposite number at Municipal District level, Cllr Peggy Nolan paid tribute to the work of the Council’s executive and the gradual revival of the county’s economic fortunes.

“It gives me great pleasure that this county and this town has turned a corner. It’s all about following the money and following what other counties are doing. We are doing it now and we are doing it with great expertise."

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Longford innovation and digital hub takes giant step towards becoming a reality