Eighty new jobs have been earmarked for Kinnegad this week after Tesco announced it is to open a new store in the Westmeath town.
Spreading over 2,000 sq ft, the store will be mostly grocery with a small section of lifestyle products including DVDs, homeware, and clothing. According to a Tesco spokesperson construction of the building is well under way at the Athlone Road location, just outside the town, and is due to open in late autumn.
Speaking to the Mullingar Advertiser local Labour councillor Denis Leonard said the jobs announcement was a huge boost for the Kinnegad area. “This has been in the pipeline for a few years,” said Cllr Leonard. “Westmeath has been an employment blackspot for some time now, and Kinnegad has been looked at as a commuter town. Now we can create valuable jobs in the community.”
Cllr Leonard is confident that the introduction of the British grocery giant will not affect small businesses in the area. “This will give life to business in the town,” claimed Cllr Leonard. “SuperValu is well established in the town. When Tesco opens it will see locals who used to travel further return to the town.”
The Labour councillor is also confident that more investment will come to the town. “When we were by-passed it was difficult at first. But with Tesco here, and Lidl interested in opening in the town we should see more investment in Kinnegad. After all there is a ready made customer base here.”
Fine Gael Deputy James Bannon said this week’s jobs announcement was just what the Midlands needed. “With unemployment figures standing at 16,000 for Longford/Westmeath and 106 jobs going in Longford yesterday, Tesco’s commitment to the Midlands is an endorsement of the region. With a huge deficit in terms of State intervention in job creation, this announcement by Tesco is a huge boost for Westmeath.”