Farrell says digital hub could hold key to Lanesboro's economic revival

Jessica Thompson

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Jessica Thompson

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jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

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

Lanesboro would be an ideal location for a digital hub, argued Cllr Ger Farrell at a recent Ballymahon MD meeting

Lanesboro is the perfect location for a digital hub, according to Cllr Gerard Farrell, who proposed that Longford County Council acquire a property to develop such a facility in the town.

“We’re in a new Ireland now where working from home is getting more and more popular,” said Cllr Farrell at last week’s meeting of Ballymahon Municipal District.

“Lanesboro is perfectly positioned with two counties and several parishes. If the council could acquire a property and develop it, it would be huge for the economic development of Lanesboro.”

His motion was promptly backed by Cllr Mark Casey who said the old convent building in Lanesboro would be the ideal location for a digital hub.

Cllr Paul Ross also agreed that it is “a great idea”, which would prompt a major change in the economy.

“We need to be proactive in developing employment and potential employment in Lanesboro,” he said.

Cllr Mick Cahill was also strongly in favour of the motion; “It would be a benefit to that area, to two counties and six parishes. It also crosses the Shannon, so there should be opportunity there,” he said.

Cllr Pat O’Toole also expressed his support for Cllr Farrell’s “very apt and timely motion”, stating that something similar should be done for Ballymahon.

Cllr Farrell, delighted with the level of support for the motion, agreed with Cllr Casey that the old convent building, with its three stores, would be “perfectly positioned” for a hub.

“There’s also a council carpark across the road from it, so it would be perfect,” he said.

Director of Services John McKeon agreed that the proposal was “something we can look at” but said the council is facing constraints.

“It’s not something we could do on our own. We can’t commit to anything other than to see what we can do,” he said.

Cllr Farrell also raised the issue of Just Transition applications, calling on Longford County Council to ringfence a sum of money from the Municipal Allocation Fund for 2021 to support applications.

“It’s a new fund and we have to be ready to support community groups. If a worthwhile community project comes in, we would support them,” he said.

Cllr Mick Cahill warned that the council would have to be careful about how they phrase it as applications that would be supported should have to fully comply with requirements.

Cllr Paul Ross agreed with the spirit of the motion but said that the council would “need to assess each application on its own merits”.

Cllr Mark Casey stressed that they would need to “make sure it’s community groups only and for the benefit of the community, not private enterprises”.