National Enterprise Town Awards: Longford

We are profiling all the towns to enter this year’s National Enterprise Town Awards. Today we are looking at Longford town.

Longford town is the largest town in County Longford, and is a significant hub connecting some of the most important transport corridors in the country, linking east with west and north with south. Over recent years improvement in the road network has resulted in reduced travel times to the greater Dublin area and beyond, improving the economic accessibility of the town.

Approximately a quarter of County Longford’s population lives in Longford town. The town has a young, diverse and growing population.

“A place to live, a place to invest, a place to work and a place to visit”

Longford town has several key attraction points for visitors including St Mel’s Cathedral, The Mall Park, swimming and tennis clubs, Backstage Theatre, Longford Golf Club, a vibrant shopping area as well as a wide variety of restaurants and cafes.

There are also a number of festivals throughout the year – Cruthú Arts Festival, Hype Youth Festival and the Longford Summer Festival.

A regional centre of trade

Longford town is a local and regional centre of trade, business and tourism which encourages employment growth and economic activity. There is a diverse range of quality employers operating across a number of sectors, providing high skilled employment particularly concentrated in the engineering, warehousing, pharmaceutical, and public service and agri-food sectors. 

Larger players such as Abbott Ireland, Avery Dennison, Green Isle and Panelto are major contributors to the workforce of Longford town.

Longford businesses have benefited from several Brexit information sessions and customs training as well as a diverse range of business courses facilitated by key state agencies in order to ensure the development of the local economy.

In recent years Longford County Council launched its rebranding with a focus very much on re-energising and re-invigorating. In tandem with this, Longford Chamber of Commerce and associated groups have set off on a journey that aims to encapsulate the very meaning of the local authority’s new motto: “A place to live, a place to invest, a place to work and a place to visit.”

Longford town has a compelling story to tell in the context of the financial crash. It went from a situation where one in five jobs were construction-related to the highest unemployment rate in Ireland.

Since then a group of local organisations and key local businesses have taken the lead and created a new narrative for the county town.

The town’s festival was revived after 15 years; its annual marathon enjoys the title “the friendliest marathon in Ireland” and the Aisling Children’s Arts Festival that began in 1998 is now ranked as one of the top ten children’s events in the country.

Local retailers and employers talk of the challenges they overcame, the opportunities they embraced as they set out to establish the county town as the place to invest, the place to work and the place to live.

Main picture: The finish line at the 2018 Longford Marathon. Image: Peter Mooney via Flickr (licenced for reuse under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Edited by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 16 October, 2019