Local Independent councillor, Michael O’Brien, has called on Athlone Municipal District to apply for funding for the rejuvenation of Moate’s main thoroughfare under the Rural Renewal Fund.
A total of €380,000 has been made available to Westmeath through the fund, but applications must be submitted by the end of September.
“Research has shown that rural towns have felt the impact of the economic challenges in recent years more acutely than cities and larger urban centres,” Clllr O’Brien said. “As a Moate-based councillor and someone who grew up in the town, I’ve seen at first hand the impact of the closures of industry and significant employers in the town over the years. Unfortunately, little was done to try and replace these jobs.”
Cllr O’Brien said Moate has “fought back” in recent years through investment in major amenities like the Greenway and the public library. He added that many traders, groups, clubs, and people have worked hard to try and improve the town’s appeal.
“As the third biggest town in the county, with a population under 5,000, I think that Moate is well positioned to qualify for its fair share of this rural renewal funding,” he said. “I think we should try and build on the success of the new library/civic plaza development and try to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the town.”
Director of services, Barry Kehoe, said he is prepared to work towards having the “best application possible” ready by the funding deadline. He warned that “serious work” is needed to ensure the application is up to standard, and that proposals from both councillors and the local community will be considered in an effort to do so.