Longford politicians turn heat on Fáilte Ireland bosses over TV adverts

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Hidden Heartlands

Kayakers on the beautiful Royal Canal at Clondra.

Local politicians are pushing for face to face talks with tourism bosses after Longford was controversially left out of a promotional campaign heralding the onset of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.

A number of elected members vented their frustration at a television advertisement last week which showcased the dawning of a new multi-million euro venture aimed at developing a new tourism brand for the Irish midlands.

ALSO READ: Longford set for national stage as 'Hidden Heartlands' tourism drive clicks into gear

And, while the likes of Leitrim, Roscommon and Westmeath all featured, Longford failed to make the cut.

Cllr Peggy Nolan said she had been left baffled by the apparent omission after noticing the commercial while watching television at home prior to last Wednesday’s monthly county council meeting.

“I don’t get time to watch daytime television but today was an exceptional day and when I had the television on my heart sank when I saw it,” she stormed, her voice raising in noise with each passing second.

“Leitrim got two beautiful shows on that ad, so did Roscommon, so did Westmeath and yet we weren’t even included in at all. So from that I take it, Ireland’s hidden heartland model is still very much hidden and I am very, very upset about it.”

Earlier, Independent Cllr Gerry Warnock led calls for the Council to begin fresh talks with Fáilte Ireland chiefs after the county’s inclusion in the agency’s Hidden Heartlands tourism model in April.
The non party representative said after much lobbying by politicians for Longford’s insertion in the new brand, the time was now ripe for a more concerted approach.

Describing the current set up as “terra nova for Fáilte Ireland”, Cllr Warnock said: “They weren’t exactly enthusiastic about it but it was a huge victory for politics that we actually got it over the line.

“What we need to do now is sit down with these guys fairly quick because we are after placing an awful lot of stock in developing Longford as a significant tourism destination.”

The current chairperson of Co Longford Tourism Committee, Cllr Micheal Carrigy said he too had been taken aback by the county’s lack of involvement in Fáilte Ireland’s opening advertising broadcast.

He said after taking up the matter himself he was quietly optimistic Longford would not be left out in the cold again.

The Fine Gael councillor said measures were being taken to try and devise an internal marketing campaign with Leader funding drawn from the Rural Development Fund being one possible source of backing.

“We have a fantastic opportunity as a county,” he said.

“We are in a good place and I think now is the time to sit down and try and meet with them (Fáilte Ireland).”