Cllr Joe Flaherty believes Westmeath County Council's decision to reject a proposed whiskey storage facility could be Longford's opportunity
The developers behind a proposed whiskey storage facility which was refused planning permission by Westmeath County Council, have not ruled out looking at Longford as a possible alternative destination.
Vault Storage had been seeking approval to undertake a multi-million euro development at a site at Moyvore, close to the border with Longford.
Those plans were dealt a major setback last week when it emerged Westmeath County Council had decided against giving the green light to the project.
In the immediate aftermath of that decision, there were fresh calls locally for Longford County Council to step in and market Longford as a possible quick-fix solution.
The Council, for their part, confirmed no approach has been made to the Moyvore promoters despite the appeals.
Cllr Joe Flaherty said he had since made contact with Longford County Council Chief Executive Paddy Mahon in a bid to open up talks between Vault Storage officials and the local authority.
“The development would fit perfectly with Co Longford's fledging tourism and food sector,” he said, making reference to ongoing expansion efforts at local food producer Panelto Foods.
Cllr Flaherty said despite the Moyvore plans coming unstuck, the developers, as part of their planning application made it known that they had also scoped a possible site for the project in Edgeworthstown.
"The message for the developers is that Longford is open for business,” he added.
Less than 48 hours after that appeal, Vault Storage issued a public statement in which they noted their obvious dismay at Westmeath County Council’s decision.
What the developers did add, however, was their appreciation to Longford political representatives in sounding out the county as a prospective alternative location.
“Understandably we are extremely surprised and disappointed at the decision by Westmeath Co Co to refuse planning permission,” the firm said in a statement.
“We feel this decision gives out a negative signal for new business opportunities in this region.
“However, while this delays us in supporting the existing and new Irish Whiskey ventures currently thriving in Ireland we still believe that this project is of National Strategic interest and will be a major loss for the midlands region should it not go ahead.”
The company said it would take time to take stock of the setback before setting about its next move.
“Our decision was to concentrate on development and job creation for Westmeath however, we are very grateful to Longford for expressing an interest.
“Our focus now is to re-evaluate our options and take some time to explore our next move.”
The Leader has made contact with Longford County Council to determine whether any approaches had been made to Moyvore about possibly switching their sights to Longford.