The sun basked in the sky as President McAleese arrived in Westport to celebrate the picturesque town’s achievement in last year’s Tidy Towns Awards. As the Presidential cavalcade drove into the Westport Leisure Centre, a sea of decorative caricatures, flag bearing children, and bystanders who were basking in the lovely weather, greeted Mary McAleese and her husband Martin.
Cathaoirleach of Westport Town Council, Martin Keane, said that the happiness of the community in the recent Tidy Towns success was “endorsed by the presence” of the President in the town, and that the hallmark of this cultural and heritage town is “community endeavour and partnership”, which resulted in the acquisition of these awards.
President McAleese commended Westport, which is now part of an “elite group”, with multiple wins; this being the President’s third time to declare it the tidiest town in the country. The President described the area during her helicopter trip back from Clare island as “enchanted bliss”, with the beautiful physical and architectural beauty being sheltered by the holy mountain. President McAleese said that Westport’s greatest assets were the wonderful people — who draw visitors in time and time again — as well as the passion, pride, and work ethic in the community. It is this community strength that other communities in the country need to aspire to during these tough times for the country while we commence our short journey back onto the road to recapturing prosperity.
The President congratulated Westport Tidy Towns committee, Mayo County Council, Westport Town Council, and the “army of volunteers” who showcase a “spirit of community resilience, determination, and unselfishness” in demonstrating their huge pride for the town and said that Westport is a “fantastic place to be, to live, and to visit”.
Pamela Flanagan, chairperson of the Tidy Towns committee, also thanked the volunteers who are the “root of our success” along with Westport Tidy Towns; Westport Town Council; Mayo County Council; the Gardaí; local schools; FÁS; the fisheries; Chamber of Commerce; sponsors; the town foreman; and the previous Westport Tidy Towns committees.