Midlands re-branded but Laois left in second tier

A REBRANDING of a project to promote the midlands for investment and visitors will not see Laois or Portlaoise being given the same status as other parts of the midlands in terms of attracting investment.

A REBRANDING of a project to promote the midlands for investment and visitors will not see Laois or Portlaoise being given the same status as other parts of the midlands in terms of attracting investment.

MidlandsIreland.ie was fromally launched by Minister of State Willie Penrose in Tullamore last week. The project is an initiative of the Midland Regional Authority. In a statement the authority said that Laois would not be given a higher status in the rebranding.

“The launch of midlandsireland.ie is a significant step in implementing the Regional Planning Guidelines for the Midland Region. It is a regional brand with the Midlands Linked Gateway of Athlone, Tullamore and Mullingar at its centre, building on its central location to stimulate economic activity throughout the Midland Region whilst working with the supporting towns of Longford and Portlaoise,” said Sarah Morgan Planning Policy an Research Officer

But speaking at the launch, Minister of State Penrose urged Laois and other local authorities to accept the importance of joining together regionally to maximise opportunities at national and international level.

The new brand is part of a major campaign to re-brand the Midlands as a destination for enterprise, tourism, learning and living.

“Strong and competitive regions are essential given the many great challenges that currently face our great country. Cohesion is the essential ingredient in making regions work. We wear our county jerseys with much pride and so we should. But there also comes a time when we need strong teams around us to play at higher levels.

“The launch of regional brands like MidlandsIreland.ie is evidence that local authorities in Ireland now understand and accept the importance of representing their localities, but also of thinking and acting strategically,” said Minister Penrose.

Athlone, Tullamore and Mullingar are the key towns in the strategy to develop the midlands. While these towns have not grown to a size needed to attract investment there are still not signs to include Portlaoise or Longford as Gateway towns.