The jobs boost for the Midlands as part of the anticipated Center Parcs development in Ballymahon has doubled after being formally announced by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
The project is now expected to create some 1,000 jobs for the region, with plans for a new €200 million Center Parcs holiday village in Newcastle Woods which is located just 21km from junction 9, Athlone, on the M6.
The 375 acre site is currently owned by Coillte, the State forestry company, and Center Parcs have signed an option agreement with the company.
The new Center Parcs, which is expected to open to guests in 2019 (subject to receiving the necessary planning permission ), will create approximately 750 jobs during construction. Once open, the €200 million development will have capacity for up to 2,500 guests and will 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.
Speaking at the announcement, Longford-Westmeath TD Gabrielle McFadden said, “I’m really excited about this project. When I was mayor of Athlone I consistently said that the most amazing natural resource we have for tourism is all around us and this wonderful project unveiled today confirms this.
“UK company Center Parcs has a proven track record in specially constructed holiday village resorts in a forest environment, and when initial moves were afoot for them to locate in Ireland, I was delighted to be able to assist in helping to secure the project for Ballymahon and County Longford.
“From an economic and tourism perspective, we cannot underestimate the huge benefits this Center Parcs family holiday resort will bring in terms of investment in the regional economy. The sheer scale and size of this development is truly breath taking. The project will involve the construction of up to 500 lodges and villas and the spin-offs in construction, food, hospitality, and retail will also be hugely valuable to Ballymahon and the wider constituency,” she added.
Martin Dalby, CEO of Center Parcs, said: “We are thrilled and excited about the prospect of bringing the Center Parcs concept to families in Ireland. This new Center Parcs will have all of the ingredients that have made us so popular with families in the UK for the last 28 years and I am certain that Center Parcs will be a great success in Longford.
“We look forward to liaising closely with the local community during the next few months to fully share our vision and to explain the huge economic and social benefits that a Center Parcs holiday village will bring to the area.”