The Destination Sport-Mullingar project has scooped a top national award in this year’s Local Government Awards.
The Westmeath County Council initiative, which took the form of a week-long programme of sporting events in June this year, picked up the top prize in the sports development category at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards 2011, held in the Burlington Hotel on Wednesday.
The winner’s trophy was accepted from Phil Hogan, Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government, by the cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Cllr Mark Cooney and the co-ordinator of the project, Maurice Stenson.
Destination Sport Mullingar grew out of the success of the various events held during National Bike Week in June 2009 and as a result of Mullingar being established as a cycling hub town. In September 2009, as part of Discover Mullingar Day, the very first Sports Zone facilitated by Westmeath Sports Partnership was held in the grounds of Loreto College in Mullingar and other sporting events were also held on the Royal Canal at Harbour Bridge.
County manager, Danny McLoughlin said “Westmeath County Council is particularly proud of its lead role in the Destination Sport Mullingar project. However, the project could not have progressed or succeeded as it has, without the involvement of the many stakeholder agencies, participants, and spectators. This national award acknowledges that fact and is testament to the successful involvement of a large number of people in making it happen.”
Co-ordinator of the Destination Sport Mullingar project, Maurice Stenson, said “Winning this national award is a huge achievement and recognises the efforts of all those people committed to and involved in the important work of promoting Mullingar. Providing opportunities for participation in sport and family fun events, complemented by street festival activities, has the equally important aim and benefit of broadening spectator appeal and generating much needed additional commercial activity in and around Mullingar”.
Westmeath County Council had an impressive 10 projects nominated by the local Mullingar Chamber for the competition and shortlisted into the final. In addition to the winning project, the council received nine national commendations for its other projects, which included the Active Travel Mullingar project, the I-Play system in Mullingar Town Park, Abbey Road Artists Studios in Athlone, Healthy Reading Scheme, Be Prepared – Wrap up this Winter, the Integrated Transport Initiative, shared services within Westmeath Local Authorities, councillor web services, and planning DVD and website.