Fianna Fáil General Election Candidate and Longford Town Councillor, Joe Flaherty, has expressed his disappointment that An Bord Pleanála have refused planning permission for a multi-million euro development on the outskirts of the town.

Cllr Flaherty said the council would now have to take on board the decision of An Bord Pleanála and renew their collective focus on bringing new businesses to the centre of Longford Town.

He said, “The decision made by An Bord Pleanála to overrule the determination of the council is disappointing. The prospect of employment and jobs for this region is something I relish and the proposed development of a four-star hotel on the site would have been a wonderful addition to Longford.

“Nevertheless, we have to take on board what An Bord Pleanala have said, that it would be to the detriment of the future prosperity of Longford Town Centre, this should be the push needed for a renewed focus on enhancing the town centre.

“I have spoken with many business people in the area who would like to develop and grow in Longford Town. Commercial rates along with the rising costs across a range of other inputs such as insurance, labour, rent and utilities, are all cited as deterrents to opening a business in the town.

“We have a development plan review coming up and I think that these matters need to be the focus of that meeting. As a collective voice we also need to put greater pressure on the Government to act on the cost of insurance. Businesses are folding under the cost of public liability premiums and business insurance. Vacant and boarded up premises cannot be the norm – we need vibrant town centres”, he concluded.