An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar joined Martin Dalby, CEO of Center Parcs on Friday to attend the Official Sod Turning Ceremony marking the start of construction work on the €233 million development at Center Parcs Longford Forest, Ballymahon, County Longford.
The milestone occasion was celebrated with local community, as well as representatives from both local and national government. The project is supported by the Irish Government through IDA Ireland.
The development on a 400-acre site will create approximately 750 jobs during the construction phase and is due to open in the summer of 2019. Once open, the forest holiday village will have capacity for up to 2,500 guests and employ up to 1,000 people in permanent jobs.
Center Parcs estimates that, when operational, the new holiday village will add approximately €32 million to Ireland’s GDP per annum.
Center Parcs operates five short break destinations across the UK including Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Longleath Forest in Wiltshire, Whinfell Forest in Cumbria and Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire. Each Center Parcs is nestled within around 400 acres of protected and enhanced woodland, with the Village designed to complement and work with the forest environment.
Welcoming the start of construction and significant impact the Center Parcs village will have on the midlands region, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said, "This exciting development by Center Parcs represents a significant investment in the Irish economy, and especially in tourism. The €200 million investment is almost certainly the biggest in the region’s history. The Government is very conscious that Longford has faced economic challenges, but the tide is turning. Center Parcs brings around 1,000 permanent jobs when it opens in 2019."
He added, "I want to pay tribute to Center Parcs for the way it has engaged with the local community in and around Ballymahon. I know a strong effort has been made to keep people informed on the project as it progressed and I look forward to regular updates on this exciting project in the future."