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27/10/2021

Covid challenges see Longford publican lodge six figure redevelopment plans

Covid challenges see Longford publican lodge six figure redevelopment plans

Seamus Gallagher has big plans for his family run business in Drumlish

A north Longford publican is planning to shut his doors for good and carry out a six figure redevelopment that could see a state of the art digital working hub and premier accommodation being introduced in its place. 

Father of four Seamus Gallagher has lodged plans with Longford County Council to undertake a major renovation of his family run business in the wake of ongoing struggles Ireland's pub industry has faced during the pandemic.

Mr Gallagher wants to repurpose his pub by introducing a remote working hub area and six self catering apartments on the building's first floor.

The Drumlish based publican, who has been at the forefront of Gallagher's public house since the early 90s having inherited it from his late parents Hugh and Bridie, also intends to incorporate wheelchair accessible accommodation at ground floor level.

He said his decision to change tack was largely as a consequence of ongoing difficulties the local vintners industry has had to withstand in the face of Covid-19.

"It made me sit back and think," he said.

"There are four bars in Drumlish and the whole Covid thing just made me wonder if it was time for a change.

"Things were quiet anyway. If you look at the likes of how the smoking ban, laws on drink driving, everything has hit the pubs and now every filling station and shop has a bar licence."

Mr Gallagher, however, alluded to how the stop-start nature of the wider economy brought about by the coronavirus pandemic was the "final straw" which prompted him to look elsewhere in terms of making a living.

He said his plans, should they receive the backing of Longford County Council, would provide much needed economic benefits to the Drumlish and surrounding areas.

"There will be a dry room, launderette and refrigeration for fishermen who come and stay," he said, adding that the proposed development would cost a six figure sum to bring to fruition.

"If you look at it, there is no real accommodation in north Longford and it was a no brainer to put the apartments upstairs. The hub will also hopefully help other businesses and shops in providing much needed spin offs."

A decision on the plans is not expected until the end of November, but Mr Gallagher said he intends being on site by next spring at the latest, should Longford County Council give the application the green light. 

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