Plans are underway to strategically link Castlebar to Westport in an effort to develop a new regional growth centre that has the potential to attract serious foreign direct investment, and as a result employment, into the area.

The strategy, being developed by team of consultants for Mayo county council, was outlined to Castlebar councillors at yesterday’s monthly meeting of the Municipal District.

They were presented with a brief presentation entitled “The feasibility of a high level strategy of the joint development of the towns of Castlebar and Westport”.

A team of consultants have been appointed by Mayo County Council , under Director of Services Catherine McConnell – who has responsibility for planning ,economic and community development in the local authority  and the idea is that the two towns linked together can be promoted as a brand – and sold nationally and internationally to potential investors as a new regional growth centre.

Attracting serious FDI and creating jobs. The idea has been fueled by the new N5 road that should be under construction later this year, that will link Turlough to Westport and mean that travel time between Westport and Castlebar will be reduced to ten minutes.

If you link the two towns – a shopping and administrative town like Castlebar and the tourism town of Westport – you have a lot more for agencies like the IDA to sell to foreign investors.

Catherine spoke to Midwest News about the proposal and explained that it would significantly raise the “critical mass” (population) in the area and together the towns linked are worth more than individually.

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