Athlone city status to be backed by Destination Athlone

Destination Athlone is to make a submission to the Government in favour of establishing a regional city in the Midlands.

The group has engaged consultants to prepare a submission, in which they will argue that Athlone is best positioned to help drive the Midlands region forward.

The submission is in response to the National Planning Framework ‘Ireland 2040 - Our Plan’ which aims to promote long-term, regionally balanced social and economic progress. A central aim is to tackle the imbalance caused by the rising Dublin population by supporting the growth of regional cities such as Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Waterford.

Destination Athlone’s contribution will argue that, with a population of 370,000 - the third largest centre of population after Dublin and Cork - the Midlands is in need of a regional city.

For this to happen, it would take the co-operation of several bodies including State agencies, local authorities, and industries across the counties of Westmeath, Roscommon, Longford, Offaly, and the East Galway area.

Mayor of Athlone John Dolan praised the group’s planned submission, which he said had the support of local councillors as well as Westmeath and Roscommon County Councils.

The two counties are also working with Destination Athlone and other bodies to prepare a joint local area plan for the Monksland area of Athlone.

The deadline for submissions on the National Planning Framework is Thursday, March 16.

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