Department of Education & Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin D01 RC96 mary.mitchelloconnor@oir.ie 01-8892199

Minister Mitchell O’Connor in Longford to mark approval for Center Parcs €233 million development

Community representatives, residents, Councillors, TD’s, Senators and local businesses attended a special community reception in Ballymahon today to officially welcome Center Parcs to County Longford. The event was attended by Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby and Mary Mitchell-O’Connor, T.D., Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, to mark the recent planning approval for the development of a €233m Center Parcs Longford Forest holiday village at Newcastle Wood in Co. Longford.

Welcoming the project and the transformative economic impact it will have on the Midlands region Mary Mitchell-O’Connor, T.D., Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, said:

“This is a transformative and hugely welcome development for the midlands region and County Longford, bringing a much needed jobs boost. As Minister for Jobs I am determined to drive our Action Plans for the Regions to ensure all regions of the country benefit from job creation. I am especially enthusiastic about Center Parcs Longford Forest because it is a new and innovative tourism project based on a successful UK model. I look forward to seeing the development of Center Parcs Longford Forest over the coming months and years.”

In his first visit to Longford since the planning decision was announced last month, Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby expressed his sincere gratitude to the local community for their support of the project and he provided an update on the next steps in the journey to bring the landmark ‘Center Parcs Longford Forest’ tourism development to fruition.

Building on the extensive programme of community engagement throughout the planning process, Center Parcs today announced that it will be working with local community representatives to establish a Community Forum to ensure ongoing and open communication throughout the construction and development process.

Speaking at the community event he said: “I’ve been to Ballymahon many times over the last couple of years and we’ve had extensive dialogue with all interested parties about our proposals but today is markedly different. Today, the conversations are no longer about ‘if’ Center Parcs Longford Forest will get the go ahead. Today, we are talking about ‘when’ the development of Center Parcs Longford Forest will go ahead.

The journey towards securing a positive planning outcome has been incredible and I am extremely grateful to the community for engaging with us as openly as they did and for supporting us as sincerely as they did. As we enter this next phase, we are one step closer to the economic transformation of the midlands and sharing the Center Parcs experience with families throughout Ireland. Our commitments to the local community and our neighbours here in Ballymahon will remain at the core of the project through our new Center Parcs Community Forum.”

Welcoming the project and the transformative economic impact it will have on the Midlands region Mary Mitchell-O’Connor, T.D., Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, said:

In response to significant interest from commercial and enterprise groups in the midlands, Center Parcs intends to host a business and enterprise workshop in November and will release further details soon.

Providing an update on the project to the community. Center Parcs confirmed it is working towards an opening date in 2019. Center Parcs Longford Forest will create approximately 750 jobs during construction. Once open, the forest holiday village will have capacity for up to 2,500 guests and employ up to 1,000 people in permanent jobs. Many of these roles are expected to be filled by employees between the ages of 18 and 24, and the majority of employees are likely to live locally and in the surrounding midlands region. Center Parcs estimates that, when operational, the new holiday village will add approximately €32 million to Ireland’s GDP per annum.

Center Parcs offers high quality short breaks in a secluded and natural woodland setting. Center Parcs Longford Forest will epitomise the high quality features for which Center Parcs is renowned, including up to 500 lodges, designed with families and the environment in mind, more than 100 indoor and outdoor activities, a spa, a range of restaurants and cafés and the iconic Subtropical Swimming Paradise, with water rides and fun for all ages.

Over the last 29 years, Center Parcs has exhibited a proven track record of taking commercial woodlands and, through careful forest management, transforming them into areas rich in biodiversity. Center Parcs Longford Forest will have a dedicated team of Conservation Rangers who will protect and nurture this beautiful woodland.