‘Just Thinking’ Column: Portlaoise needs to become a city
This week saw the news that half of our nation’s economic output is being generated in the wider Dublin area. The metropolitan region is sucking people, resources and jobs into its ‘Black Hole’ and nothing escapes from its iron gravitational grip to stimulate the regions.
One proposed solution is to build a city in the midlands be it an Athlone City or a Portlaoise City to act as a counterpoint to all the activity being pulled away to the East coast. Surely it stands to reason that both towns should become cities to generate more economic activity outside our capital city.
Both towns boast incredible transport links. However, the one facility Portlaoise lacks is a third-level institution. It has everything else in its armoury to thrive and boom with fast broadband, a young population, state-of-the-art schools plus great rail, bus and road linkages.
With a college campus within the town’s boundaries the economic spin-off for our people would be immense. Surely St. Fintans could be a possible site for a Carlow IT or, indeed an Athlone IT, mini-campus to begin with. That in place it would be so much easier to grow a Digital Hub in the Laois county town.
In fact, with even-faster broadband coming to Portlaoise this spring one can’t think of a single reason why Leinster’s first Digital Hub outside of Dublin shouldn’t be in Laois’ largest town.