The winners of the IPB Pride of Place Awards 2017, in association with Co-operation Ireland, were announced on Saturday night last at a gala awards ceremony in Letterkenny, with Lady’s Island Wexford beating off stiff opposition from Tory Island to achieve the top accolade in the Islands and Coastal Communities category.
The awards acknowledge the achievements and the invaluable work undertaken by volunteers and those involved in local community development. In assessing the entry from Lady’s Island, the judges commented:
“The location is unique and the scenery is truly impressive, but the judges were equally impressed with the amazing energy and enterprise this local voluntary group expends on the promotion of traditional values in this special place. There are tens of thousands of pilgrims each year to the Marian shrine with significant benefit to the local economy. This together with an obvious and significant interest in the preservation of local wildlife habitat types convinced the judges that here was an outstanding entry in the category“.
Members of the local community of Lady’s Island were on hand to accept the award, accompanied local Councillor Ger Carthy, Councillor Barbara Anne Murphy, and staff of the Community Department of Wexford County Council.
“This award is a remarkable achievement by our local community, to whom I wish to pay tribute and to thank for their hard work and dedication over many years in making Lady’s Island what it is today” said Councillor Carthy. “This award is a timely recognition of their efforts and it is fully deserved”. Councillor Carthy also thanked Wexford County Council and the staff of the Community Department for their on-going support of the local community and for helping to make Lady’s Island one of Wexford best-loved and thriving destinations.
During the ceremony 49 awards were announced ranging from groups supporting small rural communities to those involved in large inner city housing estates. Donegal County Council hosted the evening and celebrated Irish musicians Donal Lunney and Paddy Glackin entertained the audience before the winners were announced. RTE presenter Aengus MacGrianna was MC for the ceremony, which was attended by over 800 people.
The winners were presented with their awards by Minister Joe McHugh TD, Government Chief Whip & Minister of State for Gaeilge, An Ghaeltacht and the Islands, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Gerry McMonagle, Dr Christopher Moran, Chairman Co-operation Ireland, Michael McGreal, Vice Chair IPB Insurance and Tom Dowling, Chairperson, Pride of Place Committee.
Chairperson of IPB Pride of Place Competition Tom Dowling addressed the large attendance on Saturday evening. “This unique competition is about showing respect and inclusion for every sector in our communities, young, old, rich or poor and creating communities to which the people are proud to say they belong” said Mr. Dowling.
Peter Sheridan, Chief Executive of Co-operation Ireland also addressed Saturday night’s attendance, saying:
“The Pride of Place Awards ceremony is an ideal opportunity for organisations to come together and learn from each other. This will be important as we prepare for the inevitable changes Brexit will bring to the island of Ireland. This evening, we have witnessed some of the finest examples of people working together to create a positive future and we all must continue to build on this so Irish society as a whole can benefit. I congratulate everyone who was nominated but I extend special congratulations to those groups who were triumphant this evening”.
Michael Garvey, Chief Executive Officer of title sponsor IPB Insurance, reaffirmed his company’s support for the competition.
“The IPB Pride of Place Awards is an ideal platform to recognise the positive social impacts being made in communities across the island of Ireland. I would like to take this opportunity to commend all the communities involved for their spirit of collaboration and camaraderie in making it to the finals. It is also important to recognise the role of local authorities across the island of Ireland who continue to work closely with their communities to support inspiring voluntary initiatives. These awards serve as one of the important ways that we can recognise those involved in working to make a difference in society”.
Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council was also in attendance and he too praised the work on local communities across the length and breadth of Ireland.
“I am delighted that Donegal has been chosen to host of this prestigious awards ceremony and that we welcomed over 800 people to celebrate and recognise the wonderful contribution that community groups make to life in their own local areas all across the island of Ireland. This has been a great opportunity to showcase what Donegal has to offer and I hope all our visitors have had a wonderful experience and that they bring home with them fond memories of their trip to Donegal”.