Westmeath celebrates wins at 2016 Pride of Place Awards

Two Westmeath communities have been celebrating following impressive wins in this year’s IPB Pride of Place Awards.

Moate Action Group took top place in category four, for neighbourhoods with a population of between 2,000 and 5,000 people, while Rosemount Development Association took runner-up position in category one, which is for areas with populations of less than 300.

Groups from both communities travelled to the Belfast Waterfront Hall last Saturday, November 26, to attend the awards ceremony.

The judges who visited Moate during the course of the competition remarked on the high standard of local amenities - including the theatre, art gallery, coffee shops, enterprise units, community sports centre, re-furbished library and Carmelite college - as well as the close cooperation between the community, the council, and State agencies. They were also impressed with the care for the natural environment evident in the wildlife area and Dún na Sí Heritage Park.

The winners of the Pride of Place awards were announced at the special gala event in Belfast Waterfront Hall in front of an audience of approximately 1,000 guests, with many more people tuning in online to watch the live broadcast of the ceremony.

Now in its 14th year, the all-island Pride of Place Awards promotes and celebrates the best in community development and recognises the selfless efforts of people in making their neighbourhoods better places to live, work, and socialise.

Speaking at the awards, chair of the Pride of Place committee Tom Dowling congratulated all the groups. “Each year the competition continues to grow with communities nominated by local authorities all over Ireland, demonstrating their pride in their place to our judges.”

Mayor of Athlone Municipal District John Dolan, who attended the event, congratulated the Moate and Rosemount groups for their fantastic achievements, saying he was delighted they had received national recognition for their efforts.

Cllr Frankie Keena said the national successes were “absolutely amazing”.

“I would like to sincerely thank all the volunteers for their help in bringing success to their respective communities and indeed a big message of thanks to Westmeath County Council and the local engineering staff for their continuous support and help.

“I would like to particularly thank Annette Barr Jordan, Westmeath County Council, for her continuous support and advice to both communities during the preparatory work,” he added.

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