Community Stories  >  Case Studies

Longford Revamp Homes Limited

In the early hours of Christmas Day 2009, disaster struck in Longford town, when the historic St Mel’s Cathedral was extensively damaged by fire. Sub-zero temperatures hampered the ?re-fighting effort as crucial water pipes were frozen solid.

The historic cathedral was quickly destroyed - including the 1,000 year old St Mel’s Crozier- and parishioners were forced to attend Christmas mass in a nearby hall.

Completed in 1856, St Mel’s was widely regarded as a landmark in the Irish midlands and had been described as “one of Ireland’s ?nest Catholic churches”.

The cost of the damage was estimated at €10 million. But neither the damage nor huge repair bill could lessen the resolve of the local community to rebuild and restore St Mel’s. A restoration committee was soon established. This was very well supported despite the downturn in the Irish economy.

Many locals were employed in construction during the property boom and in its aftermath Longford was scarred by high unemployment and half-finished housing estates.

Longford EDI saw an opportunity to get people back to work through the St Mel’s restoration project. However, they faced a majorproblem: most of the jobless construction workers did not have the specialised skills needed for the restoration project.

EDI responded by forming partnership with Longford Revamp Homes Limited, and together they devised a specialised training programme to help up-skill unemployed construction workers participate in the restoration work.

Given the substantial social impact that this project will have on the town of Longford, Clann Credo provided bridging ?nance to get this initiative off the ground. We look forward to seeing St Mel’s and the town of Longford, restored to their former glory. 

Location: Longford, Co. Longford

"We look forward to seeing St Mel’s and the town of Longford, restored to their former glory."