Local volunteerism was commended at the annual West Region Tidy Town Competition awards ceremony which took place in the Wyatt Hotel, Westport, on Monday evening.
Minister of State at the Department of Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring said that “speaking on behalf of the Government I want to thank the volunteers” who play a huge part in the Tidy Towns. Minister Ring said that without volunteers “nothing would happen in this country”, as “the trouble with this country is that there are a lot of hurlers on the ditch”, but “if you want to take part we have plenty of green space to play.”
Minister Ring highlighted the importance of Fáilte Ireland, the Department of Environment, and SuperValu’s role in the Tidy Towns competition.
The Minister said that all those in attendance at the awards evening were winners, “but the real winner is the community” that benefits from such a competition, as winning towns attract increased tourism. “We will be depending more on tourism in the coming years”, the minister said, and “so far we are going in the right direction” as there has been an increase in American, European, and UK tourists coming to Ireland. Minister Ring also commended the home market, “I asked people if they might consider holidaying at home and people of the country responded... I’m totally taking full credit.”
Minister Ring concluded by saying that he hoped the national Tidy Towns’ title will be back in Connacht next year.
Cathaoirleach of Westport Town Council, Councillor Christy Hyland told Tidy Towns members that they should “commend themselves” for their hard work as “come hail, rain and snow they are out beavering away.” Cllr Hyland said that such committees are “an example of what is needed right now in the country”.
Mayo communities which were presented with awards on Monday evening were Westport, Aughagower, Murrisk, Ballina, and Kilmaine.