Councils launch Athlone economic strategy

A new economic strategy for Athlone has been launched by Roscommon and Westmeath County Councils. The strategy, jointly commissioned by both local authorities and prepared by consultancy firm Grant Thornton, is a blueprint for the economic development of the Midland’A biggest town.

Athlone has been designated as a Regional Growth Centre by the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the Eastern and Midlands Regional Assembly Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (EMRARSES).

The economic strategy is one of the measures that will inform Westmeath and Roscommon County Council’s preparation of the forthcoming a statutory joint plan for the future development of Athlone.

The ambitious strategy aims to capitalise on Athlone’s central location by creating a unique destination capable of attracting high quality talent, investors, businesses and tourists to the town. The plan will be overseen by an Implementation Advisory Group being set up specifically to oversee the economic strategy for Athlone.

The strategy will also provide a focus on promoting increased employment and enterprise opportunities in Athlone and its hinterland as part of the future development of the Regional Centre.

The economic strategy was presented by Mary Grier, Senior Planner, Roscommon County Council and Cathaldus Hartin, Senior Planner, Westmeath County Council.

The launch which took place in Athlone Civic Offices recently was attended on behalf of Roscommon County Council by Cllr. John Naughten, Cathaoirleach, Athlone Municipal District, Shane Tiernan, Chief Executive and Greg O’Donnell, Director of Services of Roscommon County Council.

Representing Westmeath County Council were Cllr. Vinny McCormack, Mayor of the Athlone – Moate, Municipal District; Pat Gallagher, Chief Executive Westmeath County Council and Barry Kehoe, Director of Services also with Westmeath County Council; Councillors and key stakeholders in both counties.

Speaking at the event, Cllr. McCormack remarked: “I am delighted to see the cooperation of both Councils in commissioning this strategy, which will be a valuable tool in guiding the future economic development of the regional centre of Athlone over the next 20 years”.

Meanwhile, speaking at the conclusion of the event, Cllr. John Naughten commented: “This strategy has been eagerly awaited and will enable Athlone to further develop its potential as a regional economic centre, a vibrant community and an attractive place to work and live”.