The chairman of a famous annual New Year festival - which has been attracting major crowds since it was first staged 34 years ago - has urged RTE to consider broadcasting the event in future years.
Senator Michael Mullins was speaking at the close of the New Inn Mummers Festival in Ballinasloe recently.
Contrasting the entertainment provided by the festival with what was transmitted by the national broadcaster over the Christmas period he hoped the local event would be recorded in the years to come.
He thanked its loyal supporters, many of whom have never missed a festival. He went on to praise the young participants especially, who made this year’s event particularly special and who have secured its future.
He thanked everyone who helped make the festival such a success, particularly the festival committee, the sponsors, the participants and the many people who organised and coached the groups. “It would not have been possible to stage the event without their support.”
Senator Mullins congratulated the Brosna Mummers from Offaly who walked away with the senior title and local group Reel Time from New Inn/Bullaun/Loughrea who clinched the junior honours.
“The junior competition was staged on the first night of the festival and four fantastic groups competed for the honours,” said Senator Mullins. “The winning Reel Time group gave an exhibition of traditional entertainment of the highest quality and were worthy winners just shading the verdict over a highly talented Kilnadeema group.
“This year’s Best Junior Musician award went to Ciara Finan of Corofin while the Best Dancers title was awarded to Sorcha Leonard, Sarah Murphy, Ciara Costelloe and Aoife Murphy of the Reel Time Mummers.”
Kelly Mannion of Corofin, for the second year in a row, took the award for the best Flute Player, while the Best Singer was Vanene Greer from Rahan, Co Offaly.
The Best Young Storyteller at the festival was Mark Holohan of Kilnadeema who also won the Most Outstanding Young Entertainer title. Awards were also presented to Clara Finnerty of Kilnadeema and Roisin Broderick of Corofin.
The senior competition on Saturday night was highly entertaining and competitive with four experienced groups doing battle for the Peter J Donohue Perpetual Trophy.
The visiting Brosna Mummers from Co Offaly were very popular winners with an appreciative audience. A new group, Cairde Mummers, with participants from the Lackagh area and five other counties clinched the runner-up prize after a strong and polished performance.
The Best Senior Musician at the festival was Chris McGuire of the Cairde Group while Grainne Murray of Brosna took the Best Dancer Award.
Lorraine Nolan of the Cairde Group won the Best Flute Player Award while Pat Ward of Ballymacward Mummers continued his dominance of the storytelling competition by once again walking away with the award.
The Sean Dolan Perpetual Trophy for the Most Outstanding Senior Entertainer at the festival went to Gerard Donoghue of the Brosna Group.
Individual awards were also presented to Camillus Hiney of Brosna, Chloe Feeney of Ballymacward, James Hogan of Rahan and Peter Ryan of the Cairde Group.
Speaking on behalf of the sponsors Sean O’Rourke of New York and a New Inn native paid tribute to the committee and congratulated its chairman Senator Michael Mullins on his recent election to the Seanad. He said he would like to see the festival developed further over the coming years .