Monday, 29 March 2021
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I rise to speak about the importance of a positive result for the Ballymahon Pobal le Chéile project under the 2020 rural regeneration and development fund. A category 1 application has been made and all the necessary consents are in place. The project is a collaboration between a number of organisations in the town, namely, the Tidy Towns team, Bridgeways Family Resource Centre, the local day care centre, the Men's Sheds group and Longford County Council. The project proposes the creation of a cluster of community support services in the town through the co-location of a number of service providers, including an enhanced family support service, a new dedicated youth club, extended elderly care services - both on- and off-site - and the development of a rural working hub. It would involve bringing a number of existing vacant buildings back into active use, including a former convent that has been vacant for a long number of years, and putting them at the heart of the community to play a key role in delivering services. There has been extensive consultation with all relevant stakeholders following the development of a local action plan in 2018.
Project Ireland 2040 sets out a number of strategic objectives, including the development of strengthened rural economies and communities. The service providers that are key to this application are providing vital services to Ballymahon and its hinterland and the project will, therefore, address the three pillars of regeneration, which are social, economic and physical regeneration. The huge opportunities in the co-working hub and the jobs created as a result of the development will directly impact the town and the entire rural area of south Longford. Furthermore, education opportunities and engagement with the youth in the region will ensure Ballymahon is in a positive position into the future to become a strong driver for that rural area. I ask the Leader to urge the Department of Rural and Community Development to fund this project.