Businesses in Ballymahon have given the thumbs up to Fine Gael Deputy, Gabrielle McFadden, on the substantial benefits the €233m Centre Parcs holiday village resort will deliver for Ballymahon and the Midlands region.
“At the outset of the project negotiations, I was delighted to play my part in facilitating meetings with Centre Parcs executives and senior Government Ministers. Reaction to the Centre Parcs Longford Forest project among businesses continues to be extremely positive. Over the weekend, five businesses spoke about how the Centre Parcs development, which will employ 1,000 people and 750 in construction, will transform Ballymahon and the wider region.
“What is also very encouraging is the excellent working relationship between Center Parcs and the local business community in ensuring that Longford will maximise the benefits of this major tourism project.
“John Nally, a prominent businessman said the holiday complex, being developed on a 395-acre site at Newcastle Wood, would have a transformative effect: “It’s going to bring more jobs to Ballymahon. It’s going to transform the town into one of the tourist capitals of Ireland. People are going to come here and spend money here. This is brilliant news. People won’t have to go away anymore; they can stay and work in Ballymahon.”
“Jenny White from Flowers & Gifts believes Centre Parcs will not just create spin-offs for the local economy but also more present more opportunities for local businesses.
“The last couple of times Center Parcs were over, I spoke to them about supplying flowers and they were very positive. In relation to spin-offs, there will be 1,000 extra wage packets every week and that will certainly mean more money around the town and of course, this will benefit local businesses.
“Cian Cooney from Cooneys Hotel is a teacher working in Dublin. Cian is very excited about its impact. “When the news was announced about Center Parcs, it was very positive. This is about bringing jobs to an area, especially to Ballymahon but also the Longford/Westmeath area. It’s been starved of jobs for a long time. I am teaching up in Dublin but teachers in my school from all over Ireland, Clare, Kerry, Cork have tourist attractions in their areas. They think it’s going to be great for Longford and I do too, especially for people out of work. It might offer them some jobs in the build up to it. From a business point of view, I think it will have a positive knock on effect for the town. Whether it be petrol stations, shops, you’re going to have a lot of passing trade and that can only benefit the town.
“Paddy Diffley, from the long established family Hardware Store, said he is very excited about this development and the economic benefits it will bring. “The wages of people working in Center Parcs will be spent locally and this will be very important for the small businesses in the town.
“Publican Mary Nally is also very confident about the benefits it will bring. “It’s brilliant for the town because we’ve had no employment in the town since we lost Manford factory in 1988. There will be employment for people living in the area and for adjoining counties like Westmeath.”
“I have consistently said that the most amazing natural resource we have for tourism is all around us and this wonderful project unveiled today confirms this. This Holiday Family Resort will undoubtedly become the shining jewel in the tourism crown for the Midlands region.