Town Team: Ballaghaderreen needs a new look and purpose

Ballaghaderreen Town Team Chairperson, Willie Murphy, is excited about the future and reckons the Public Realm Enhancement Project, due to be completed in 2023, will breathe new life and purpose into the town.

“The Town Team is a very active organisation in the town” he said, explaining how it’s involved in “reimaging” the town with the input of other local organisations, such as sports clubs.

“We work for the town’s development and for the good of the town in general,” Willie said.

“There’s a major project ongoing at the moment in Ballaghaderreen and that’s the Public Realm Enhancement which is all about reimaging the town. It’s a very worthwhile project…Ballaghaderreen needs repurposing and it needs a new image both for the people living and working in the town currently and to attract new businesses, new people, and tourism. It’s a whole facelift and this is planned as part of Roscommon County Council’s plan for the town, which is great.

“This is a significant investment and the plan is for this to be taking place next spring and it’s due to completed next year. It’s going to really enhance the town’s image and create a new face and a purpose for the town”.

  Existing clubs and organisations play a big part in life in Ballaghaderreen and Willie believes they are vital for the town’s development.

“Having clubs and organisations like the various sporting clubs in a town like Ballaghaderreen is essential and the Town Team has a representative from all of those organisations on it to bring a new perspective to it from the various sporting organisations and for the town development to include those organisations,” he said.

“Organisations like the GAA club, the soccer club, the tennis club, schools, and businesses. It’s a great forum for people to engage and be part of the whole development process”.

Despite suffering from a number of economic setbacks in recent years, the people of Ballaghaderreen continue to put their best foot forward. This was never more obvious as when the town was announced as ‘Community Group of the Year’ at the 43rd Rehab People of the Year Awards in 2018.

The town was also acknowledged for the welcome it extended to refugees fleeing the war in Syria.

“People will know that a couple of years ago Ballaghaderreen won the ‘Community of the Year’ award because of how it manages the diverse communities in the town, particularly the EROC Centre and the welcoming of the Syrian community,” Willie explains.

“Ballaghaderreen is a very welcoming town; it welcomes all nationalities and they integrate well. You can see that in the various clubs…and that enhances the reputation of the town in terms of openness and inclusivity”.

Looking to the future, Willie believes a change of tack is needed to return the town to its former glory.

“Ballaghaderreen used to be a very important town at one stage and it needs to go back to that. It was a big business town and there was always a lot going on. It’s come through its own challenges in the last number of years but there is a new plan to develop the town, bring in new business and new opportunities,” he said.

“There’s also a focus now on working from home…and we’ve high-speed broadband and we’re close to an airport (Ireland West). The town needs new businesses, a new identity and maybe a new big employer and we need to put the infrastructure in place to attract businesses, people, tourism and anything that is going to assist in the further development of Ballaghaderreen,” he concluded.