Center Parcs to host open days for those interested in 1,000 jobs at Longford park

Chief executive Martin Dalby says it’s ‘local jobs for local people’ at €233m park, which is due to open next year

When the holiday company Center Parcs unveiled plans to open in Longford three years ago, the community's attention quickly fixed on the unprecedented influx of jobs.

Later this week the company will host two open days for people interested in the 1,000 positions it needs to fill ahead of the €233 million park’s opening next year.

The events will provide an opportunity for people to ask questions about what is on offer, which will range from basic service jobs up to career-orientated management roles. Formal online jobs advertisements will follow from December.

Local GAA pitches will be cordoned off for parking, and long queues are expected outside Longford Rugby Club on Friday and Saturday, when a team of staff arrive to meet their future employees.


"I have my suspicions it's going to be a lot," chief executive Martin Dalby said of anticipated turnout in the run-up to the event. "It's so difficult to put a figure on it. When we have done this in the UK in the past we literally have had thousands of people turn up."

He said when the firm recently opened a park in Bedfordshire, about 15,000 people applied for the 1,500 available positions.

In Longford just a small number of jobs have been advertised to date, including a handful of administration posts which attracted more than 400 applications.

Center Parcs offers high-end short stay trips for families in wood-framed lodges, with a variety of forest-enclosed activities from lake boating, to cycling and walking trails. The Longford park will host about 2,500 guests.

Mr Dalby said that at its parks in the UK about 75 per cent of the staff live nearby. Of those about 40 per cent are under the age of 25.

Irish food companies

“It’s local jobs for local people,” said Mr Dalby, listing off roles such as chefs, lifeguards and groundskeepers charged with maintaining the park’s 400 acres.

In July it emerged that contracts with a combined value of €5.2 million had been awarded to four Irish food companies.

“From the very day we announced it,” Mr Dalby said, “the support has been fantastic. People recognise that the impact of this development, particularly in the midlands, will be significant.”

Local Fine Gael councillor Colm Murray said that despite some early "too good to be true" scepticism, the community was convinced about the merits of the project once construction began. Shortly afterwards local businesses began to see supply contracts.

“There have been knock-on effects for the local economy already,” Mr Murray said. “I expect there to be big crowds [this weekend].”

With the exception of Bord na Móna, and a scattering of old factories, he said, “there has never been anything to rival it”.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times