Over 100 construction jobs are expected to be created directly and through sub contract jobs over a 14 month period during the massive project to restore Longford Town’s historic St Mel’s Cathedral. The revelation came at a special media briefing to mark the contract signing for the restoration project on Monday.
Addressing those present Bishop Colm O’Reilly, Bishop of Ardagh & Clonmacnois said “When Saint Mel’s Cathedral experienced a catastrophic fire on the night of Christmas Eve/Christmas morning 2009, I immediately made a public commitment that our beloved Cathedral would be restored.
“Much time has been invested since then in order to ensure that our planning and preparation process befits this enormous structural project. Thanks to all the work which has taken place on the planning phase of the restoration, the rebuilding phase has now begun, thank God.
“I thank everyone for their patience and understanding since the terrible fire, and, at this time, I seek your continued prayers and support as we undertake the rebuilding works to restore Saint Mel’s Cathedral for the benefit of the faithful, and for our country.”
Since the fire a huge effort has been ongoing behind the scenes by Saint Mel’s Cathedral Project Committee, Diocesan Art & Architecture Committee and the Design Team.
“After all of the planning and design, it is particularly pleasing to have arrived at the stage of having contractors on site so that we will now begin to see the great effort of the past few years bearing fruit,” said Bishop O’Reilly.
St Mel’s Cathedral Project Committee have arranged for two training programmes to be run in conjunction with the restoration project. These schemes will consist of a Traditional Skills Upskilling and a Pre Apprentice programme.
The project also expected to be a massive boost for the local community with over 100 jobs to created and undertaking from the appointed contractors GEMPURCELL Ltd to ensure that at least 20% of their labour force is recruited in Co. Longford for the duration of the contract.
The main stone contractor is Cregg Stone, based in Ballinasloe and plasterer, George O’Malley, has given a commitment to employ where possible local labour for elements of the lime plastering contract. He has also been in contact with local groups in relation to apprentices that will be up skilled in the trade of lime plastering.
Where possible local suppliers are being used for materials and the CCTV camera monitoring company are also Longford based.
A statement from the diocese noted that a planning application has recently been made to Longford Town Council in relation to the interior of the building. It was also noted that the contract for the Grand Organ has been awarded and procurement of artwork liturgical furnishings continues.
A planning application is also expected to be made to the local authority in relation to the exterior of the property in the future.