At a recent meeting of Longford Economic Forum in Dublin there were impressive ideas for the development of Longford town put forward by Cllr Seamus Butler and Longford council executives Paddy Mahon, Barbra Heslin and Michael Nevin.
Members of the Dublin-based Longford diaspora, many of whom run their own businesses here in the capital, heard the speakers outline their extensive vision, telling the gathering they were taking necessary risks to deliver a positive future for Longford.
The meeting heard that the council has taken the bold decision to purchase Provider’s building on main street and when the associated project is completed, which is the commitment of the council, it was predicted that it would “have a transformational impact on the town and act as a catalyst for further development, particularly into the Northern Quarter, which is a priority in our regeneration efforts”.
There were references to the fact that Natural Gas is being brought to Center Parcs, the first gas pipeline into the county, and it was emphasised that Longford must be ready to take advantage of the positive outflows from the county’s major holiday development at Ballymahon; and Seamus Butler said that, as a result of lobbying, two Oireachtas committees have given top priority to the M4 extension from Mullingar to the Leitrim border, which should see it included in the government’s capital programme.
This would be a game changer for Longford he declared.
The council executives, led by CEO Paddy Mahon, and Cllr Seamus Butler, have considered a wide range of imaginatives ideas, but say they are aware they don’t have all the answers.
They are open to ideas, suggestions and expertise from all quarters.
They will also be in contact with the Longford diaspora in London and New York, and a priority will also be putting out a positive message about Longford - a number of contributors from the floor felt that Longfordians are not given much to talking up themselves, or their place.
The Forum was hosted on this occasion by Longford’s Clem Kenny in his impressive acquisition, the famous Read’s Cutlers in Parliament St, adjacent to City Hall.
Clem purchased this iconic building a couple of years ago and has done a wonderful job restoring it to its 17th century glory, strictly maintaining its historic character.