Longford GP and head of the local Islamic community, Dr Syed Ali is the latest leading figure to take part in the Leader's 'My Longford Life' series
1. What's your idea of a perfect day or perfect weekend in Longford?
Going for a walk in The Mall with family during early morning, provides relaxation and going forSunday brunch in Esquires. Also, I enjoy going to gym in Longford Arms Hotel.
2. Who has made the greatest contribution to Longford in your lifetime-and why?
Myself. My medical services which I provide to everybody and also I have contributed towards the Islamic educational centre where all Muslims regardless of colour or race have a place to practice their religion.
3. What's your first Longford memory?
My first memory was when I came to Longford 20 years ago, there was a small shopping centre in the Market Square & very few restaurants. It used to be very safe and peaceful - a stark contrast to today. Also, when I met the late former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds in the Longford Arms Hotel. He was a truly unforgettable man and so gentle.
4. What's your favourite part of the county?
Newtownforbes. It's where I have lived for the past 21 years and is still a litter free area. I find the area very peaceful and the people that live there very friendly. I wouldn't have it any other way.
5. Do you have a favourite local writer or author ( or artist or musician)?
Joe Finnegan. I listen to his talk show every morning. I find the show is always very interesting with lots of topical issues and matters that are of public interest being talked about and discussed.
6. What about a local walk-or view?
I am a regular visitor to the Mall in Longford town. It is so pretty and peaceful. The Longford by pass is always nice for walking too.
7. What do you think gives Longford its unique identity?
The people that reside here - very cosmopolitan town - living in peace & harmony. Longford is accommodating the people who are coming to this town from worldwide.
8. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Longford today?
There is a severe lack of opportunities for the youth of Longford. We are losing a young, talented workforce to bigger and better cities like Dublin & abroad. There are no jobs in Longford and no social activities. We must step up in these fields.
9. If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Longford, what would it be?
I would try and make accommodation available for the homeless, create better employment and apply strict laws to drug smuggling so as to make this town a very peaceful loveable town.
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