Tullamore bids to win National Enterprise Town Award
17th September 2018
A new shopping centre is being planned for Tullamore and the Midland Regional Hospital is months away from gaining university status.
These were just two of the nuggets of information revealed at an event held last Wednesday in the 85 seater theatre at the Scott Building Tullamore.
Tullamore is bidding to win a National Enterprise Town Award which is sponsored by the Bank of Ireland and designed to recognise and reward towns where businesses and the community come together to showcase the spirit of enterprise in their local area.
In a highly polished and engaging presentation, President of Tullamore Rotary Club, Ronan Berry, took the Bank of Ireland judges through the history of the town from the great fire of 1785, which resulted in Tullamore being burnt to the ground when a hot air balloon crashed setting fire to 130 homes, to the present day where like the Phoenix rising from the ashes the town has grown and thrived in numerous ways.
Mr Berry outlined the success of enterprises such as Tullamore DEW which has the second largest selling brand of Irish Whiskey globally, garnering sales of over 1,000,000 cases per annum.
He highlighted the1,200 people employed by Tullamore Hospital and a further 500 employed by the HSE elsewhere in the town. He said the Scott Building where the event was being held is a leading education and research centre accredited by University of Limerick and the Royal College of Surgeons. It is also linked with Athlone Institute of Technology. The new primary care centre at Church View adds another important layer to the town, raising its profile.
He spoke of the many industrial estates including the IDA Business and Technology Park, home to a number of pharmaceutical industries. Burlington Business Park, Axis Business Park, Kilcruttin Business Park and Cappincur Industrial Park, which is the location of KMK metals. He reminded the judges of the doomed e-voting machines and told them of how KMK metals had bought the ill-fated devices, recycling every part of them, a move which lead to a tidy profit.
The town's three modern secondary schools, Tullamore College, Colaiste Choilm and the Sacred Heart school are a source of pride too, along with amenities such as Lloyd Town Park and the Grand Canal Greenway/Blueway.
Premier events such as Tullamore Show, the Quinlan Cup half-marathon, the Canal Quarter Festival, the Queen of the Land and the National Ploughing Championships are key occasions in the town's calendar, the judges heard.
When it comes to community Mr Berry spoke of the many organisations working to make Tullamore a good place to live. He gave the example of the Entente Florale Competition for which the town won a gold medal. He said the success was down to the cooperation of a number of agencies and businesses all helping to make the town look its best.
The Rotary club has nominated the Tullamore Community Arts Centre for the competition's 'Rising Star Award.' This prize goes to a derelict or empty building or space where there are plans to create a place for social, artistic, creative technological or entrepreneurial activity.
The planned new Arts Centre fits this criteria and will be located at the former Kilroy's store on High Street.
The challenge which lies in attracting people to the town to set up new businesses or for leisure is also a focus of the many organisations in the town.
Mr Berry told the judges 50,000 people visit the Tullamore DEW visitor centre every year, and finding ways to keep them here for an overnight stay is exercising the minds of the Rotary Club who have come up with some innovative ideas including the Offaly Tourism Ambassador Programme, The Tullamore Town Historical Walking Tour App, 'Tullamentry' with the theme ''Let us show you that Tullamore is the ultimate Living Location and more.''
He spoke of the enhancement of O'Connor Square due to begin soon. The potential of Tullamore Harbour and the Grand canal to unlocking possible tourism to the town.
The theme throughout the presentation was the Phoenix Rising and to this end the judges were shown the stunning sculpture of the phoenix rising at Scoil Mhuire.
Other speakers on the day included the Chief Librarian at Tullamore hospital, Nicola Fay, and the new General Manager of Tullamore Hospital Noreen Hynes.
Afterwards members of the Rotary club answered a number of questions put to them by the judges before being taken on a bus tour of Tullamore.
Also present was the Chief executive of Offaly County Council Anna Marie Delaney, Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council Councillor Danny Owens, Cathaoirleach of Tullamore Municipal District, Councillor Declan Harvey and Councillor Tony McCormack.