Alliance launches on hugely positive notes for Listowel

Bringing the Great Southern Trail into Listowel, securing the 'inner relief road', improving parking and devising a new marketing strategy for what is already a very strong town brand are among the priorities for the new Listowel Business and Community Alliance.

After months of planning, the group officially launched its mission at the Butler Centre on Monday night amid a massive turnout despite the poor weather. It did so on a hugely positive note for the entire town as Chairman of the Alliance Stephen Stack revealed that - thanks to the existence of the body - Listowel has already succeeded in drawing down vital Town and Village Renewal Scheme funding of €50,000 as well as securing a 'health check' that is soon to be carried out in conjunction with IT Tralee.

It's all to play for now for Listowel as the town looks to its economic future under a single Alliance structured in such a way as to ensure every entity, community and business, has a strong voice.

The whole structure of the Alliance, its priorities, background and mission were laid out by Stephen on Monday's launch. Stewarding the work is the executive committee underpinned by four sub-committees covering marketing, retail, enterprise and tourism - involving 48 members all told, fully representative of every community and events organisation and of the business sector in town.

Stephen is team leader of the executive, with the marketing team led by Aiden O'Connor; the retail team by Paul O'Connor; the enterprise team by Denise Mullane and the tourism/events sub-committee by Martin McCarthy.

"This structure is vital and we have a fantastic mix of experience and young blood fully representative of everything in town, from bigger business to pubs, the boutique sector, events and organisations," Stephen told The Kerryman.

One of the aims of the group is to present a coherent plan for any funding the town stands to draw down and to that end the Alliance is already able to show how it secured €50,000 under the towns and villages scheme. "As we have no money as yet it has come as vital funding to help us market Listowel."

"We were also delighted to have the IT commencing a health check of Listowel by way of a survey of customers, visitors and retailers that will give us a much clearer picture of what's going on in town. We have Catherine Moylan and Martha Farrell of the IT for nominating Listowel for this survey."

Among the priorities for the group is the long-promised GST greenway. "This would be a gamechanger for Listowel and we will be working hard to see it realised as the town is 100 per cent behind it."

Securing what the Alliance describes as the inner relief road - or bypass - is also a crucial aim as is the creation of a co-working space in Listowel; supporting the Food Hub Jimmy Deenihan is working on and collaborating with groups across North Kerry to help bolster the fortunes of the entire region. FG Cllr Aoife Thornton, who is the liason with the Municipal District - also touched on all strands in her address on Monday as the Alliance flagged a very bright future for town.