South West Mayo Development Company (SWMDC ) has won the National Rural Award 2014 for its work in sustaining rural communities in south and west Mayo. The National Rural Awards are in their ninth year and are organised by Irish Rural Link, the national group campaigning for sustainable rural communities. These awards recognise the hard work and dedication of community groups in improving and developing rural communities around the country.
Gerry O’Neill, CEO of SWMDC, said: “SWMDC is honoured to have been recognised by an independent panel as a group who has enhanced the quality of rural life in the communities that we serve.” He went on to add: “Independent community-based voluntary organisations have been recognised nationally and internationally as having a deep impact on rural society. We have been working in rural development for the past 20 years and are delighted to be acknowledged as a shining example of grassroots development.”
Chair of SWMDC, Michael Biggins also welcomed the news that SWMDC has won a National Rural award. He went on to point out that the future of SWMDC continues to hang in the balance due to Minister Phil Hogan’s plan to move the work of local development companies (such as SWMDC ) under the control of local authorities. He urged all to contact their local politicians to ensure that future contracts for local development programmes remain with the groups that have a proven track record. “After all,” he said, “in a time when every cent counts, it makes sense to stick with the tried and tested model. There is no one more qualified or experienced than SWMDC to deliver community development programmes in Mayo.”