Longford County Council urged to bid for new climate change centre to be located in Lanesboro

Lanesboro holds the key to huge tourism potential for the region

Longford Leader Reporter

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Longford County Council urged to bid for new climate change centre to be located in Lanesboro

Lanesboro holds the key to huge tourism potential for the region. This beautiful sunset photo of Lanesboro was captured by Brigid Mullooly

Fianna Fáil TD for Longford, Joe Flaherty, has written to Longford County Council urging them to work with their Community Development section to bid for a new centre for climate change in the midlands to be located in Lanesboro.

Deputy Flaherty made the call as the Just Transition Commissioner Kieran Mulvey recommended a new centre for climate change to serve as live memory for ESB and Bord na Mona workers in the midlands.

Also read: Just Transition report demonstrates Fine Gael’s commitment to securing livelihoods in Longford - Carrigy

Deputy Flaherty explained, “The Community Development section of Longford County Council is always working towards establishing and developing social and cultural experiences in Longford.

“This is a great opportunity to develop a major tourism attraction in the community and bring people from all over Ireland to the county.

“Among other shortfalls we need innovative proposals like this to help plug the loss of €600,000 in annual rates which Longford County Council collected from the Lanesboro site

“Bord na Móna has been a feature in Lanesboro since the early 1950s, it made Lanesboro a viable economic town. Employees, permanent and seasonal, spent their money locally in the shops, pubs, butchers, etc. This kind of microcosm is almost impossible to replicate so we need forward thinking ideas like this,” he concluded.

Also read: Important that Lanesboro and Longford identifies projects that will support Just Transition

Meanwhile, Senator Eugene Murphy says Lanesboro holds the key to huge tourism potential for the region.

Senator Murphy commented, "The document produced by Kieran Mulvey which was published last week is seeking to put a plan in place to replace the jobs lost with the demise of both ESB and Bord na Mona. An €11m fund announced by Minister for Climate Change Richard Bruton for suggested projects must be applied for before June 12.

“The timespan is short, but I would hope that we can all work together to bring forward proposals that would be viable and most of all lead to job creation,” said Senator Murphy.

The Fianna Fáil Senator said that he believed Lanesboro should come forward with a proposal to seek funding for a feasibility study to establish a National Museum in the midlands region.

“The story of the ESB and Bord na Móna is intrinsic to the history and culture of the midlands region. I have stated this on numerous occasions over many years. This idea is workable in my view and could bring at least 50,000 visitors annually to the region and could be linked into other tourism related attractions such as hill walking on Sliabh Bán or boat trips on the River Shannon. I am conscious of the fact that huge job losses have also been suffered as a result of the closure of the Shannonbridge power plant and the huge fall out in the wider Ballinasloe area and I hope that this plan will also recognise the need to also take the situation of these workers into account.

At least we now have an opportunity to work on such projects with the publication of the First Report on Just Transition,” said Senator Murphy.

Senator Murphy also pointed out that the retraining programme for Bord na Móna workers needs to get underway as quickly as possible.

“Retraining of former Bord na Móna workers is vital and this needs to happen quickly. I hope we would have clarification on that issue in the programme for Government. We went from a 10 year just transition phase to only 12 months and now possibly an even shorter time frame, so time is really of the essence. Indeed, this is a point which I have raised with the Fianna Fáil negotiating team in the discussions for a formation of Government as it is vital for the future of the midlands region,” concluded Senator Murphy.

Also read: First call for proposals under the €11m Just Transition Fund