Ballaghaderreen and Districts Development Limited was incorporated on the 17th of July 1995. It is a Company Limited by Guarantee whose members are drawn from the local community.
The primary objective of the Company is to pursue and promote the economic and social development of Ballaghaderreen and its surrounding areas to the maximum extent and in ways that will benefit the entire community. On the 18th of July 1996 Ballaghaderreen and Districts Development Limited launched an integrated Community Business Plan to cover the period 1996 -2001. The Plan contains details of 34 projects, both community based and privately promoted, to address all aspects of the town’s ongoing development needs. It had been recognised that Ballaghaderreen had suffered from problems associated with economic underdevelopment and depopulation which affected many parts of rural Ireland, but appeared to be more manifest in the Western Region..
The Community Business Plan sought to address these issues by way of an integrated and managed approach to local development. Since the launch of the Community Business Plan in 1996, a great deal of work has been put in at local community level with considerable results. A priority project in the plan was the restoration of Dillon House at The Square in Ballaghaderreen, a building of considerable importance which had been home to three generations of Irish political leaders,the most recent of which was James Dillon, one of the leading political figures of this century. The house had fallen into disrepair and a proposal was made to Government that it be refurbished and designated as the Headquarters of the Western Development Commission, a body established at that time as the focus of economic regeneration in the five counties of Connaught as well as Donegal and Clare. That objective was realised when on the 27 of February 1997 the then Taoiseach Mr. John Bruton T.D., announced that Dillon House, Ballaghaderreen would be the Headquarters of the Western Development Commission and would be fully refurbished for that purpose. Mr. Bruton said at that time “Dillon House wIll be a flagship development for the town of Ballaghaderreen. Its central position in the Market Square will provide a new focus for the town and will reflect Ballaghaderreen’s pride in its history and optimism in its future. The location of the Headquarters of the Western Development Commission will also put Co. Roscommon at the centre of the Western Region and will provtde a new perspective and focus point in the region. It is a symbol of the future development of Ballaghaderreen and, more generally, of the regeneration of the Western Region.
This project is an excellent example of the benefits of doing things in a “partnership” way. On this occasion it is a partnership between my own Department, the office of Public Works, Roscommon County Council and community interests -notably Ballaghaderreen and District Development Limited.”
The people of Ballaghaderreen were subsequently pleased tp welcome the newly appointed Chief Executive of the Western Development Commission, Mr. Liam Scollan, and his staff who adopted Dillon House as their Headquarters, leading to the official opening of the newly refurbished Dillon House for that porpose by the present Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern T.D. at a ceremony in Ballaghaderreen on the 7th of May 1999. Mr. Ahern’ s predecessor, Mr. Bruton T .D . also attended at the official opening, in a unique gesture of political solidarity with Ballaghaderreen’ s designation as the Commission’s Headquarters.
The status of Ballaghaderreen as a Regional Development Centre was further enhanced when on 18th June 1999 Mr. Noel Dempsey, T.D., Minister for Environment and Local Government announced that Ballaghaderreen was to be the location of one of two new Regional Assemblies to be established under new structures for regionalisation to be implemented by the Government. The Assembly would be known as the Border Midland and Western Regional Assembly and, said Mr. Dempsey, it would “have an important role to play in a number of areas. ” He indicated that the Assembly “will have functions in relation to new Regional Programmes which are to be put in place under the next National National Development Plan as well as monotoring the general impact of all EU programmes in its area. ” He indicated that the Assembly “will also have a general power to promote the co-ordination of public service delivery which. ..will see the Assembly assessing its region’s development needs and securing more coherent development of policy and provision of public services in the region,” working closely with the existing regional authorities. The Minister continued that the Border Midland and Western Regional Assembly would be assisted in this task by the choice of Ballaghaderreen as it’s Headquarters the town being “well positioned geographically” in its region. The Minister indicated that he had no doubt but that Ballaghaderreen would prove to be an excellent choice in terms of providing the sort of focus to which all those concerned with making the new Regional Assembly work effectively will be able to readily relate.
Since then Mr. Gerry Finn has been appointed Chief Executive of the Border Midland and West Regional Assembly, which has had its initial meetings and elected its representatives from the thirteen County Councils and one County Borough which make up its catchment area, and has also elected a Chairman. The region qualifies for Objective One Status for EU purposes and has a population of almost one million. A location in the town for the Assembly has recently being designated and work thereon will commence when the planning process is complete. Ballaghaderreen as a Regional Development Centre were further enhanced when on the 19th of January 2000 Dillon House hosted the first ever full Cabinet Meeting outside of Dublin. An Taoiseach, Mr. Bertin Ahern T.D. and his Ministers attended and afterwards conducted an Information Seminar on aspects of the National Development Plan insofar as it affects the Objective One Status Area, which was held at St. Nathy’s College in Ballaghaderreen. Ballaghaderreen was privileged to be designated as the location for this historic Government Meeting which marked an important step in the development of a more balanced Regional Development Programme.
This body is now known as the North and Western Regional Assembly. Ballaghaderreen & Districts Development Limited has also been involved in a number of other significant projects. The Old Tennis Courts at Friarshill were acquired, renovated and re-opened. The Dr. Douglas Hyde Summer School
of Traditional Irish Music and dance was organised and run for 15 years.
The group was also involved for 15 years in the running of an annual St. Patrick`s Day Parade in the town. The group was sponsor of the local FAS CE Scheme for over 15 years and continues to act as sponsor of the Rural Social Scheme. B & D D has also organised an annual Art Exhibition in the town
over the past 20 years. Another flagship project was the redevelopment of the old market area known as “The Shambles”.
This has led to the contruction of a landmark building from which Roscommon CDP provides various services to the community including a Resource Centre, training and counselling services and facilities for meetings of community groups. Additionally, a weekly Farmer`s Market has been held each Saturday for the past number of years providing an outlet for local producers to exhibit and sell their goods.