Community support vital

The need to “do things for ourselves” was underlined by the Mayor of Ballyshannon, Cllr John Meehan when he spoke at the launch of the Backing Ballyshannon web portal www.backing ballyshannon.ie on Friday last.

The need to “do things for ourselves” was underlined by the Mayor of Ballyshannon, Cllr John Meehan when he spoke at the launch of the Backing Ballyshannon web portal www.backing ballyshannon.ie on Friday last.

In his maiden speech since being elected Mayor, Cllr Meehan, said there was no point “talking in circles” about what we should do unless there was “a clear business plan” and it was obvious to him that the town was heading in the right direction with the Backing Ballyshannon initiative offering real ideas that can generate income and jobs.

“At the end of the say that’s why we gathered in the first place. Yes, we all know there are huge challenges facing us all, but using every contact, every idea and placing our plans in a logical, well-worked out way, I think we can help ourselves and I think we can look for what assistance exists in an organised and business-like manner.”

He said it was vital however, that the moves being made now received broad support from all elements in the town: “There is no point in a small group working on this in isolation. Unless we are all in this together it will not work.”

Mickey McLoone, the former county manager, who is chairing the steering committee that will bring the ideas to life, said: “Now that I have retired I have an opportunity to dedicate myself in a more concentrated way to address some of the challenges facing Ballyshannon.”

He explained how the steering committee went about prioritising a list of 50 suggestions, looking at in particular the reality that “after all the talking who is actually going to stan dup and make this happen; that’s a big responsibility.”

The second issue was, once you decide that, how do you go about making the ideas into a reality. He said their vision is to seek continually to improve the town as a place to live and work, to develop it as an attractive tourist destination and as a competitive location for job-creating business and investment.

He said the key objectives were:

1. To promote economic activity and job creation;

2. Develop the tourist potential of the town/area;

3. Renew, restore and enhance the buildings and structures of the town/remove dereliction;

4. Branding Ballyshannon as an attractive place in which to live, to work and to visit.

In a detailed presentation (available at www.ballyshannon.ie) Mr McLoone went through those four areas of action. A series of new festivals are either in the offing or planned - one of them the revitalised Allingham Arts Festival launched on Friday night at the same function - while plans for walking routes were also briefly outlined.

Town Clerk, Mary Daly, gave a detailed presentation on the new web portal which she said was distinct from a web site. The web portal effectively operates as the information desk for planns for Backing Ballyshannon and their progress.

It will be updated on a regular basis with progress reports on the various initiatives planned, she stated.