by Finian Coghlan
Grants of up to €2,500 are to be made available to the people of Westmeath to help them organise The Gathering 2013 events, it was revealed this week.
“The Gathering Ireland 2013 is a Government-led initiative which aims to deliver an additional 325,000 overseas visitors to Ireland in 2013. Administered by Westmeath County Council, The Gathering Ireland fund is to provide support to local and community gathering event organisers and projects throughout 2013,” said local co-ordinator Maurice Stenson.
Grants ranging from €500 to €2,500 will be allocated in accordance with the approved criteria set down in the application documentation.
Application forms and guidelines are now available to download from the Westmeath County Council website at www.westmeathcoco.ie and on request at all local libraries and civic buildings throughout the county.
The rolling nature of the grant sizes is down to the number of overseas visitors each particular Gathering event attracts, with €500 available for 10 visitors, and the top €2,500 for 50 or more.
As well as this funding for the community events, there will also be insurance cover provided for each of the 34 city and county councils for up to, but no more than three flagship events involving more than 200 overseas visitors.
“Please ensure that if you are involved in a project proposal, that one application is completed in respect of same and that different people don’t end up submitting separate applications for the same event,” said Mr Stenson.
“Gathering community meetings have already taken place in Mullingar and Athlone attended by over 200 people at which ideas were mooted and people encouraged to think about Gathering events they could organise and who they can invite from overseas. We need everybody to tell family, friends, and connections whether through business, associations, clubs, or socially that now is the time to plan for 2013, the year to visit Ireland or come home,” he said.
“This work is currently ongoing with many great ideas in the offing for 2013 and it is expected that the calendar of events for Westmeath will be completed in the coming weeks and fed into the national media and PR campaign via Failte Ireland and the www.gatheringireland.com website,” he concluded.
Completed applications must be returned to Maurice Stenson, Community and Enterprise, Westmeath County Council, County Buildings, Mullingar and must be received by November 30 at 4.45pm.