Introduction to the Ezine by Chief Executive John G. Mc Laughlin, Donegal County Council

John G. Mc Laughlin, CE, Donegal County Council
John G. Mc Laughlin, CE, Donegal County Council

Welcome to the summer edition of the Donegal Connections Ezine.  As we continue on our journey to a cautious and phased reopening of our county, I reach out to you with an air of optimism for our county and our diaspora.  I know that many of you have been missing Donegal over the last 15 months and yearn for the day that we can all safely connect in person with family and friends and reconnect with our beloved Donegal.  That day is not far away with the continued roll out of the vaccine programme, businesses have reopened in the county and outdoor hospitality has resumed. We are hopeful of a further easing of restrictions over the summer months. 

We in Donegal County Council have embarked on ambitious plans for towns and villages across Donegal including  an €18.1m project for Letterkenny with funding of  €13.6m secured from Government under the Urban Regeneration Development Fund (URDF) supported by €4.5m from Donegal County Council.  This project will see the development of the Cathedral Quarter including a reimagined Market Square, the development of Lower Main Street and the revival of the old Courthouse.  A further €18.8m has been awarded under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) supported by €2.5m match funding committed by Donegal County Council for regeneration projects in Carndonagh, Ballybofey-Stranorlar and Ailt an Chorráin (Burtonport).

April saw the launch of an exciting new place brand for Donegal positioning the county as a great place to live, work, invest, explore and study.    This initiative by the Council’s Economic Development section also saw the revamp of the website as the online home for the new Donegal place brand.  The website is home to factual and engaging content for all the people of Donegal and home to a range of digital assets such as the new brand logo, desktop wallpaper and virtual meeting backgrounds which are available for download.

Connections with the global diaspora have continued at pace during covid through our online platform which has included a dedicated social media campaign targeting our diaspora in Scotland.  Donegal County Council continues to forge strong links with Scotland and were delighted to jointly co-host an event recently with the Scottish Causeway Business Exchange.  In addition, we have a renewed focus and engagement with our diaspora closer to home based in Dublin and with intercounty travel now permitted, it is hoped that our diaspora in Dublin will get the opportunity to extend their holidays in Donegal this summer by availing of the opportunity to work remotely in one of the digital hubs that span the length and breadth of Donegal whilst also taking the opportuntity to explore the top tourist attractions including the fantastic food offering in the county. 

I hope you enjoy the summer edition of the Donegal Connections Ezine and that you all get the opportunity to enjoy a well earned break over the summer whether or not you get to visit Donegal this summer.