A steering group comprising of Westmeath County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr Frankie Keena, Athlone Chamber of Commerce CEO, Gerry McInerney and John Henson will host a public meeting in The Bounty on Monday, November 1, at 8.45pm, the focal point of which will be to establish a working committee to oversee the running of the Croi na hEireann Festival in March 2022 to coincide with St Patrick’s Day.
"The Covid-19 lockdown of March 2020 forced the last minute cancellation of all events including the St Patricks Day parade. It is now hoped to re-establish a group to co-ordinate the various events and parade that would make up the 2022 festival.
"It is so important to sincerely thank all the past St Patrick's Day parade committees who voluntary gave of their time over the years to provide parades for Athlone. Their work and commitment were fantastic and is really appreciated by the public.
"We are now seeking like minded people who are interested in becoming involved in the organising and rolling out this festival next March. It is an opportunity for all Athlone to provide a 'wow’ parade and a memorable festival for Athlone," Cllr Keena asserted.
John Henson, who was instrumental in bringing a large number of Americans from Providence to Athlone for the 2019 St Patrick’s Day Parade, stated his desire to see this festival growing from strength to strength.
"We are looking for members of the public to share with us their views, bring forward new ideas and become involved in organising a fantastic festival and parade over the St Patrick’s Day weekend next year," Mr Henson commented.
Athlone Chamber of Commerce CEO, Gerry McInerney, noted the importance of providing a St Patrick’s Day festival weekend in Athlone next year.
"The Chamber is fully supportive of this initiative as apart from providing great enjoyment to the public it will provide an economic boost for local businesses," Mr McInerney added.
Matters for deciding at the meeting will include the establishment of an official committee, to decide on the date and theme for the 2022 St Patrick’s Day Parade and finally ways of generating funding for the festival.
The steering group are looking forward to welcoming all those who are interested in organising a parade and festival next year which is worthy of Athlone.