1. What's your idea of a perfect day or perfect weekend in Longford?
There is so much to do in Longford, a person is spoilt for choice. Perhaps a cycle or a walk along the canal in Abbeyshrule followed by lunch in the Rustic Inn, a visit to the Cathedral and finish off in Clarke’s of Lanesborough with the great Longford Piper Noel Carberry and a host of other great musicians for a session.
2. Who has made the greatest contribution to Longford in your lifetime - and why?
There are so many great people in Longford. County librarian Mary Carlton Reynolds, Pauline Flood, Councillor Joe Flaherty for helping me help the homeless, Joe Murray from Carrickboy (the head of AFR), and Valerie Moran from Legan who is doing amazing work as Managing Director, Longford Centre for Independent Living. I have to also thank Shane Crossan, Seamus Clarke and Deirdre O Byrne for giving me training in media production and presentation.
3. What's your first Longford memory?
When I was a student in Maynooth University I was sent on my own to Longford for a week to carry out research on what people did in their leisure time.
I remember staying in a BnB on the Dublin Road and the people of Longford being very friendly and welcoming.
4. What’s your favourite part of the county - and why?
Lady Well, Legan Rock Is the county’s best kept secret. It’s the place I go to when I want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and find peace and tranquillity.
5. Do you have a favourite local writer or author (or artist or musician)?
My favourite author at the moment is John Connell. I grew up on a small farm in Athboy, Co Meath and I can identify with almost everything he writes about. I’m delighted that his “The Cow Book” has become a best seller.
6. What about a local walk - or view?
Longford has it all, but my favorite is probably Derrycassin Wood along the shores of Lough Gowna in the autumn for the spectacular colours and the sound of leaves crunching under my feet.
7. What do you think gives Longford its unique identity?
The people of Longford are genuinely open and welcoming to strangers. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why so many people want to come to Longford to live. However, the thing that really sets Longford apart are the neighbours. My family in Meath are astounded by the lengths my neighbours go to in order to help me out.
8. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Longford today?
The biggest challenge facing the county today is integrating the new Irish into the community. The recent elections has returned councillors that are almost exclusively male, many of them approaching pension age. There isn’t a single New Irish person on the council and the youth are not represented. I’d like to see members of the Muslim community, travellers, young people and more women on the council.
9. If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Longford, what would it be?
I’d get rid of the notion of “them and us” that segregates, isolates and marginalizes groups of people and replace it with the idea of what’s good for you, in the long run is good for me and what destroys you, long term destroys me.