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Banner for Westport U-20s abandoned amid Tidy Town fears


Anton McNulty

A BANNER wishing the Mayo U-20 team the best of luck in Sunday’s All-Ireland final cannot be erected in Westport because it might result in docked Tidy Towns points.
The Mayo panel contains six members of Westport GAA Club, and the club had proposed placing the banner at the bottom of Bridge Street ahead of the U-20 final against Kildare in Croke Park.
Another organisation was already scheduled to put a banner in that location, and a request to put a second banner appears to have fallen on deaf ears. The reason given is that the second banner might affect the judging in the Tidy Towns competition, and that if it were allowed, it might ‘set a precedent’.
The matter was raised at yesterday’s July meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District, where the Area Manager Padraic Walsh outlined Mayo County Council’s concerns.
“A second banner visually will not look well and set a precedent into the future. The judging into the Tidy Towns is about to happen, and two banners on Bridge Street while the judging is going on certainly won’t help. I thought sharing the location would take place, but I don’t think that is feasible,” he explained.
Westport councillor Brendan Mulroy, who raised the issue, said he accepted Mr Walsh’s response but did not believe it was acceptable.
“I appreciate Tidy Towns as much as every one in Westport does. There should be a provision made for the second banner, which the GAA club are willing to pay for themselves and put up, to wish the six lads who are involved in the county panel well in the All-Ireland final.
“If it was any other town in west Mayo they would be absolutely proud of their players. We have lost the plot here. I think it is a disgrace … that is the ultimate kick up the arse if you cannot erect a banner to a young lad or girl and wish them well.
“We are doing our best in schools and with youth to get them involved in sport and then when they do achieve at a very high level we cannot put up a banner. I’m bitterly disappointed that that is the response of the executive.”
Erris councillor Gerry Coyle quipped that Belmullet would have no problem putting up a banner wishing local man Ryan O’Donaghue, the captain of the team, the best of luck.