Granard in focus at 'Rural Opportunity' Roadshow event

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Michael Ring

Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring takes a closer look at some of the finer workings of Granard's Knights & Conquests Heritage & Visitor Centre last week

It's not every day of the week Longford rolls out the red carpet for a government minister, let alone three.

But that is precisely what unfolded last Wednesday morning in Granard as Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and Government Chief Whip Séan Kyne rolled into town.

The motive behind their arrival was geared towards the hosting of a 'Rural Opportunity' roadshow, one of a series of nationwide events geared towards highlighting various government supports that are available to communities across rural Ireland.

Granard Community Library was full to capacity throughout the morning as community groups and members of the public came together for a closer look at the types of structures and schemes which were on offer.

“Today in Granard we are providing information and advice to anyone that has an idea but is unsure how to access the funding available,” said Mr Ring.

“I want to see more applications for projects as wonderful as the ones we have heard from today.”

His cabinet colleague, Eoghan Murphy said he was taken aback by the level of public appetite there was for rejuvenating rural towns like Granard.

“I hope that these events will encourage others to be proactive when it comes to seeking support for any rural, or urban, projects,” he said. “Being here today gives me an opportunity to hear first-hand how targeted funding can make a positive difference to communities throughout Ireland.”

Alongside what proved to be a frank and informative discussion on the kinds of benefits on offer, visits to the town's local Men's Shed and Granard Motte were also taken in.

Paul Flood, Secretary of the Granard Motte, told how local volunteers first acquired a site before going on to secure funding for the erection of a heritage centre which was built with assistance from the Rural Economic Development Zone (REDZ) scheme, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and supports provided by Fáilte Ireland.