THE Mayo Person of the Year 2012 award has gone to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. His selection for the top accolade was announced at a reception organised by the Mayo Association in Dublin and held in the Burlington Hotel last Thursday evening. The Meitheal award goes to the Great Western Greenway Landowners (Achill to Westport).
Enda Kenny’s selection comes as no major surprise. The Castlebar-based politician surged to the top job in Irish politics when he led Fine Gael to their biggest ever success in a General Election last February. He was chosen as Taoiseach in March and has served as head of government since then.
Though his travels take him all over the world, he remains very much a Mayo man at heart. In his home parish of Islandeady, the Taoiseach is President of the local GAA team, a title he cherishes in a special way. And he was especially thrilled to see his home club win the Mayo junior football crown some months ago.
Enda, who is the longest serving member of Dáil Éireann, was elected in a by-election back in 1975 which was held to fill the seat previously held by his late father, Henry Kenny, a member of the Mayo 1936 All Ireland winning team.
Enda will receive his award at the annual Mayo Association dinner which will be held in the Burlington Hotel in Dublin on Saturday night, February 4. And demand for tickets is expected to be exceptionally strong on this occasion. The event is traditionally held on the second Friday of February. The new date means a direct clash with Mayo’s opening game in Division One of the National Football League which sees them take on Laois in Portlaoise at 7pm. No doubt, a number of people will attend both as Dublin is just an hour from O’Moore Park.
The Greenway Landowners are being honoured for their co-operation in establishing what is already a runaway success and a venture which has won top European environmental awards. They gave access of their properties to the public to enjoy a unique and wonderful cycling or walking experience, passing through idyllic scenery along what is now the longest off-road cycling experience in Ireland.
In true Meitheal spirit the Greenway Landowners have linked up with and co-operated fully with Mayo County Council, Fáilte Ireland, South West Mayo Leader/Walks Scheme and local community groups and business interests along the Greenway to allow their property to be used and developed for the common good at no charge to the State.
The initial development stage which was between Mulranny and Newport involved 85 different landowners along the route. The number of landowners grew to 160 as the route between Westport to Newport and Achill to Mulranny was developed and completed last summer.
All the landowners and their family and friends and all who have an interest in or have any association with the Great Western Greenway are cordially invited to partake in a great night of celebration on February 4 in the Burlington Hotel.
Tickets at €75 per person are available from the Mayo Association (contact Pat Downes at firstname.lastname@example.org) or from Greenway Management Committee chairman Dr Jerry Cowley at 087 2487481.