Inishowen is open for business as usual

When Inishowen Cathaoirleach, Councilor Nicholas Crossan, became the first elected Independent President of the Association of Irish Local Governments (AILG), he was determined to bring the organization’s spring conference to his home town.

The AILG is a representative body made up of 949 councilors from Ireland’s 31 local authorities.

Cllr Crossan’s plan came to fruition. Today, over 300 councillors, from every county in Ireland, will travel to Buncrana for the 2022 AILG President’s Conference, at the Inishowen Gateway Hotel.

Keynote speakers for the event are: Peter Burke TD, Minister for Local Government and Planning; Caroline Creamer, Director of the International Center for Local and Regional Development; Brendan O’Keeffe, associate researcher at the International Center for Local and Regional Development; and Cllr Nick Killian, AILG Vice President.

Donegal County Council will be represented by Anne Marie Conlon, Economic Development Officer and Eunan Quinn, Senior Planner. Additionally, former RTÉ correspondent Ciaran Mullooly, a community development and social enterprise worker with Roscommon LEADER Partnership, will speak at the conference, which starts at 7.00pm tonight.

Speaking to Inish Live, an upbeat Cllr Crossan said it was going to be a bargain few days for the city, in terms of accommodation, hospitality and retail.

Cllr Crossan said: “In terms of accommodation, Buncrana will be fully booked. Inishowen Gateway, Harbor Inn and Lake of Shadows are all fully booked and this will affect B&Bs and Airbnbs.

“We’ll also be presenting Buncrana and won’t this beautiful weather help?” AILG advisers have been here two or three times already. They like Buncrana as a meeting place. It’s a nice place to come and the social life is good too. Visitors can go out for a beer in the evening or go to a restaurant.

“Overall it will be a great conference. We are going to discuss villages and towns, how they have been affected by Covid-19 and Brexit and how we are going to rejuvenate them. For example, Anne Marie Conlon will talk about the project she is focusing on at the moment, incorporating Donegal County Council’s remote working strategy. This will allow Donegal to make the most of the benefits that the growth of remote working is bringing to the county.

“It will also be interesting to hear the contribution of Caroline Creamer from the International Center for Local and Regional Development. Caroline is a qualified urban planner and over the past 18 years has worked in research and management on a number of EU-funded projects in the fields of urban regeneration, territory, multi-level governance and community participation,” said Cllr Crossan. .

The first thing Cllr Crossan said he was looking forward to tonight was to welcome his fellow councilors and keynote speakers to Donegal, particularly his home town of Buncrana.

He added: “It is a great honor for me, as Chairman of AILG, to welcome people from all counties of Ireland to Donegal.

“It will be an opportunity for them to discover Buncrana, or even all of Inishowen and greater Donegal. We have a lovely setting here and Donegal is now open for business as usual.

“We have excellent accommodation here and it’s reasonably priced. We are only two and a half hours from Dublin. There is a perception there that Donegal is very, very far away. But, as I said to someone recently, “Far from where?”

“We are 10 minutes from Ireland’s fourth largest city, Derry, and an hour and a half from Ireland’s second largest city, Belfast. We are actually closer to Dublin than West Cork or South Kerry. The Conference of Presidents will also be a great opportunity for us to discover our fabulous coastline. If you take, for example, counties like West Meath and Carlow and Kilkenny, they’re all landlocked, where people might never see the sea from one end of the year to the next.

“They’re going to love the coast and in Buncrana and Inishowen. We have everything to offer, we have the sea, the landscape, we have all the natural amenities here and I look forward to welcoming everyone to Buncrana,” concluded Cllr Crossan.

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