Mayo Person of the Year and Meitheal award winners announced

The founder of Mayo Peace Park, Mr Michael Feeney from Castlebar, has been named as the Virginia Gallagher Mayo Person of the Year 2013 by the Mayo Association Dublin.

At the awards announcement in Dublin on Monday, Mr Feeney was described as a man who turned dreams into reality and brought benefits to his community and the country at large.

He was not only honoured for fulfilling his dream of recognising all the Irish men and women who died in combat, but also for his passion for sport and subsequent development of Milebush Park with his friend Henry Downes. Both men pledged their own money along the way. He did the same again with the development of Castlebar Park, the home of Castlebar Town club, when the closure of the bacon factory made land available.

The Mayo Meitheal of the Year award went to North Mayo and the Ballycroy, Kileen, and Kilmeena group water scheme.

Twenty years ago, the water quality in the Ballycroy district was the subject of a Dáil debate, when it was formally declared unfit for human consumption. The case went to Europe and in many ways marked the start of the legislative changes on water supply, now culminating in the creation of a national water body.

For the residents of Ballycroy and district, it meant boiling all drinking water for another four years until the opening of a new treatment plant under the auspices of the Ballycroy, Kileen, and Kilmeena group water scheme, with the assistance of Mayo County Council.

The local landscape may be stunning, but it made for a difficult project. Solve it they did, and in the process saved 500 million litres of water a year.

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