Mayo’s most isolated island, Inishturk, has won the top place in its category at the annual Co-Operation Ireland All-Island Pride of Place Awards. Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan officiated at the awards ceremony held in Gorey, Co Wexford, at the weekend. Seven members of the island community attended the ceremony, during which community representatives were presented with a plaque and €1,000.
The judges’ citation stated: “This is a resilient and self-reliant island community. Through volunteering and commercial development they have become self-financing and although fully aware of the problems and challenges, they have persevered.”
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday Ms Catherine Heanue, the Development Manager, explained that the selection process for the awards involves County Managers nominating certain community projects.
“Then the judges came out to the island last July and we brought them on a tour of the island. I also gave a presentation of all our various community initiatives over the last 20 years. We are absolutely thrilled, this is a great boost for the community,” Mary Catherine Heanue said.
Responding to the news, Fianna Fáil Cllr Margaret Adams praised ‘the spirit and commitment’ of the community.
“This community worked very hard to gain this award, and it is all down to their great spirit and volunteerism. They are very isolated and are up against challenges that many mainland communities would not understand,” Cllr Adams said.
Along with Tory off Donegal, Inishturk is Ireland’s most isolated outpost. It now has a population of under 70, with only three children in the national school.
The small community is planning to host next year’s All-Island Gaelic Football Competition, and this winter, according to Cllr Adams, it plans to build new dressing rooms at the pitch.
The village of Kilmovee also scooped a runners-up prize in Category Two – population from 200 to 500, while Station Rise in Ballyhaunis was a runner-up the Housing Estates Category.
The All-Island Pride of Place Competition recognises and celebrates the vital contributions that community partnerships make to society. The focus is on people coming together to shape, change and enjoy all that is good about their local area. It differs from other similar projects in that it specifically recognises the involvement of the local community in all aspects of rural and urban regeneration, including promoting social cohesion, involvement in planning, the promotion of heritage and environmental awareness.
The competition is run by Co-operation Ireland in conjunction with the Pride of Place Steering Committee.