Port project launched

AN exciting new project to boost investment and community development in Portarlington has been unveiled. The Portarlington Community Development Association (PCDA) recently held an informative public meeting to announce the project, which was offically launched by Charlie Flanagan TD.

AN exciting new project to boost investment and community development in Portarlington has been unveiled. The Portarlington Community Development Association (PCDA) recently held an informative public meeting to announce the project, which was offically launched by Charlie Flanagan TD.

Carol Slattery, chairperson of the PCDA, spoke about the overall aim of the project - to create jobs locally and improve communication within the town - before Deputy Flanagan addressed the crowd. Deputy Flanagan emphasised the risk of Portarlington becoming a commuter town and the need to bring jobs to the people in the community as well as the importance of protecting, maintaining and developing local businesses.

Anne Goodwin, of Laois Partnership, offered an insight to her organisation’s set up and the involvement they have within the Laois community. Next to take the podium was Donal Kiely, senior executive planner for Laois County Council, who advocated that the town be considered as one overall urban entity. He provided the astonishing fact of a 42 per cent rise in unemployment within the town since 2009, and finished up by identifying the many risks and issues that the town face, including flooding, a need for social and affordable housing, provision of adequate zoned and serviced industrial and commercial land in the town, provision of an orbital route and dealing with antisocial behaviour.

Colm O’Geoghan of Bord na Móna provided an insight to the Greater Dublin Water Project, while to round up the evening, Declan Kirrane, director of services Offaly County Council spoke briefly to the crowd, emphasising that it is down to the local people of Portarlington to give their ideas and create employment. Manager of the PCDA, Seamus Kehoe gave the final word by thanking people for taking the time out to attend, and he also encouraged attendance at four upcoming workshops that will focus on areas such as new and existing business development, developing the tourism sector and agri-sector diversification.

These workshops will be running throughout the summer, for further information contact the Portarlington Community Development Association 057 8645728 or see www.portarlingtoncommunity.com.