Over 300 delegates are in Buncrana today for the spring conference of the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG).
The conference began yesterday in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel and continues today, Friday.
Councillor Nicholas Crossan, a member of the AILG executive committee, said he is “over the moon” to host the conference in Inishowen and added it was a real coup for the town.
The large number of delegates and their partners are not only staying within the hotel but also in B&Bs and other establishments throughout Buncrana, bringing a welcome economic boost to the area.
Yesterday, the delegates were welcomed to the town in a welcome reception. This was followed by the official opening of the conference, at which journalist and author Richard Curran addressed the delegates on the issue of ‘Revitalising our cities, town and villages - addressing rural decline.’
Today, the conference will begin at 9am and discuss the same theme with a panel discussion and conference dinner in the evening.
It is the second time such a conference was held in Buncrana, with a similar event taking place in 2010.
Councillor Crossan said the conference offered a great opportunity to promote Buncrana and the peninsula as a whole.
He said: “I met a man yesterday who said he has never been to Buncrana before.
“I’m delighted and over the moon that this conference is being held here and that so many people can see the beauty of the area.
“It’s a real economic boost to the town and I would estimate will bring in the region of around 100,000. With 300 people, taking in accommodation, food etc at around 300 euro a head, that figure would be easily reached. It’s a great boost to the town in that time after Easter and before summer.”
He added: “We’ve been trying to get this conference here for a while and with the uncertainty over the election date we were a bit unsure when it could take place.
“But, when we were told it was coming here, we contacted the Inishowen Gateway Hotel, who were happy to accommodate us this weekend.
The last time we held a similar conference in 2010 when it was the AMAI, all in attendance visited across Inishowen and this time, we think we might even have good weather.
The AILG describes itself as a networking, policy development and training resource for the elected members of Ireland’s county and city councils.
You can find out more about it on www.ailg.ie.