The Boundary Review Commission has failed miserably to properly inform the people of its purpose, the process, and the potential outcomes, according to Fianna Fáil Councillor Aengus O’Rourke.
Cllr O’Rourke says this failure has lead to a raft of misinformation and “outrageous scaremongering” largely fueled by politicians caught up in the cut and thrust of a General Election.
“Understandably, in the absence of information, the public have utterly rejected any move to revise the boundary either on paper or otherwise – as of now, in my view, it simply won’t happen,” he said.
“However, I have urged the Commission to make one strong recommendation to the Minister. The regional headquarters for both the IDA and Enterprise Ireland are based in Athlone and we are very fortunate to have these influential State agencies located in our town.
“The problem is, when a company from overseas looks to locate in the Midlands, the IDA Athlone roll out the red carpet. They give a very impressive presentation of Athlone in all its glory, including visits to AIT, Ericsson, Covidien, Teleflex, and the Regional Sports Centre to name but a few. All good so far, until the prospective investor asks about Monksland or anywhere west of Ganlys Hardware or The Grove pub for that matter.
“If they do ask, they are told that once you cross the line on the map that brings you into County Roscommon they have to talk to the IDA or EI office in Galway, 55 miles away. It makes absolutely no sense and is counterproductive.
“You can only imagine the confusion and disbelief this nonsense is greeted with by the CEO or CFO of a top Med Tech company from the USA. The same nonsense prevails when it comes to Enterprise Ireland here in Athlone; they only cover up to the same line on the map.”
Cllr O’Rourke said it is therefore logical for the Commission to recommend to the Minister that the territory covered by the two regional headquarters be extended to include the county of Roscommon.
“This would not only work to Roscommon’s advantage, it would give the whole greater Athlone/South Roscommon area a more co-ordinated approach to economic promotion, development, and growth,” he said. “Such a move would have no impact on parishes, schools, county boundaries, sports clubs, or anything else that was seen as ‘under threat’. Instead it would be a positive, logical step that would only be of benefit to Roscommon and Athlone.”