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Latest Laois Event: Launch of Rathdowney Town Centre First Plan
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Latest Laois Event: Launch of Rathdowney Town Centre First Plan

Rathdowney Town Team Launches Town Centre First Plan for Rathdowney in association with Laois County Council

A large attendance of over 60 people attended the launch of the Rathdowney Town Centre First Plan in the Marian Community Centre in Rathdowney on Tuesday night. This community led plan seeks to enhance Rathdowney’s Town Centre and make it a more vibrant and attractive place to live, visit and do business. A town team has been established to interact with public bodies and to help deliver on the ambitions for the Town. The Town Team consists of community representatives, business groups and people who live and work in Rathdowney.

On Tuesday night, the Rathdowney Town Team were present at the launch of the Rathdowney Town Centre First Plan to talk about their representative role in terms of the town centre first plan. Mr. James Ryan, Chairperson of the Town Team, acknowledged the role of KPMG Future Analytics in assisting with the formulation of the Town Centre First Plan. He outlined how the plan consists of projects which have arisen out of extensive consultation with the local community, and he emphasised that the Town Team will continue to consult with businesses and residents as they look to make improvements in the town. 

Cllr John King, Cathaoirleach of Borris in Ossory & Mountmellick municipal district and also a member of Rathdowney Town Team,  acknowledged the role of Laois County Council in the process and stated that the Town Regeneration Officer, Denise Rainey will be a valuable resource for the Town Team going forward. She will assist the group in identifying funding streams to enable them to progress some of the planned projects. Cllr King identified the works that had been carried out to date by the Town Team which included the provision of new street furniture, the launch of the vacant commercial incentive scheme for the town centre and improvements to the public lighting connections for the Christmas lights.

Reimagining Rathdowney

Speaking at the launch, Director of Services with Laois County Council, Donal Brennan said

The local community has a central role to play in terms of the future development of the Rathdowney. The structures are now in place for positive changes to take place in the town, with the establishment of the Town Team and the support of the Town Regeneration Officer. The local community are encouraged to continue to come forward with their input and ideas.”

The plan was very warmly received by those present on the night with the local community very interested to hear how they can be part of the regeneration of the town. Denise Rainey, Town Regeneration Officer, acknowledged the presence of Paul O Brien from the High Kings who was present on the night to lend his support to the Plan. Oliver Kennedy from Rathdowney’s Men Shed gave a presentation to Paul O’Brien on behalf of the Rathdowney Town Team.

Also launched on the night was the WIFI4EU project in Rathdowney, and speaking at the event, Broadband Officer with Laois County Council, Antoinette Brennan said:

I am delighted to announce that free WIFI is now available to the public in two locations in Rathdowney- the Main Square and the Community Garden on Main Street. I would like to thank local businesses and residents for their cooperation with this initiative which is a great resource for the people of Rathdowney”.

In February 2022, the Government published the Town Centre First Policy which aimed to tackle vacancy, combat dereliction, and breathe new life into town centres across the Country. Rathdowney was one of 26 towns that received funding to develop a strategic plan which aimed to enhance Rathdowney’s Town Centre and make it a more vibrant and attractive place to live, visit and do business. Central to the Town Centre First Policy is the establishment of a Town Team which will be central to the future development of the Town.

If you are interested in hearing more about the Rathdowney Town Centre First plan, please contact tro@laoiscoco.ie