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Westport to celebrate ‘Best Place to Live’ award

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A Celebration Day will be held in Westport on September 9 after John O’Callaghan successfully nominated the town in the Best Places to Live in Ireland competition. John is pictured sitting on the Mall in Westport.?
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A Celebration Day will be held in Westport on September 9 after John O’Callaghan successfully nominated the town in the Best Places to Live in Ireland competition. John is pictured sitting on the Mall in Westport. Pic: Michael Mc Laughlin

Westport to mark ‘Best Place to Live’ award with special Celebration Day



Plans also to erect piece of sculpture in the town

Michael Duffy
michaelduffy@mayonews.ie

THE recent spate of dull weather has denied the town of Westport the opportunity to bask in sunshine as it celebrates being named ‘Best Place to Live in Ireland’ in the Irish Times’ recent competition but plans are being put in place for proper celebrations by the town’s folk later in the year.
Town manager of Westport, Mr Martin Keating, told a meeting of Westport Town Council last week that the town had already seen benefit from the award. Since the announcement of Westport as winners a three-page special had run in The Irish Times and had been very well received.
Mr Keating had also met with representatives of the Irish Times and two main items were discussed, namely a Celebration Day in the town and the erection of a monument/sculpture to mark the victory.
Mr Keating said everyone involved was keen to make sure the Celebration Day was family orientated, was inclusive of all aspects of the Westport community and was of minimum cost. The date provisionally pencilled in for the Celebration Day was September 9.
“Along with all aspects of the Westport community celebrating the victory, the day is also an opportunity to invite everyone who was involved in making the town what is it, people who may have moved away, to come back and celebrate with us,” said Mr Keating, who added that the Westport House Estate had been proposed as the most appropriate venue available to the town.
“This day will offer us another opportunity to showcase the new Church Lane entrance to Westport House.”
Mr Keating went on to say that it had become apparent that the Irish Times had not planned to run this competition any time in the near future so it was appropriate to produce a sculpture to mark the winning of the prestigious competition. He said there also were plans to organise some seminars and lectures later in the years for different interest groups.
Cllr Brendan Mulroy said it was clear the competition could not be run again for 10, or maybe 20 years, and it was important the win was marked properly, and he felt it was the perfect opportunity to invite the President, Michael D Higgins, to Westport.
In relation to the idea of a sculpture, Cllr Myles Staunton expressed reservations, stating it was important to not keep ‘patting ourselves on the back’ and to move on and keep doing the things that made Westport the best place to live in Ireland. His views were backed by Cllr Christy Hyland, who said a simple sign on the way into the town may be sufficient to mark the award, but Cllr Tereasa McGuire felt it was important to celebrate as ‘the Irish have felt down-trodden’ for long enough and monuments stand the test of time. She also said September was the perfect month for such a celebration as it came at the end of the peak summer season.
Cllr Margaret Adams and Cllr Michael McLaughlin both backed the calls for a sculpture as they felt it was good to support the arts while Cathaoirleach of the council, Cllr Ollie Gannon, said it was important to remember that 563 places had entered this competition and Westport had come out on top.
Mr Keating said the Celebration Day would in no way be triumphalist but would be more in appreciation of every person and organisation who had in their own way made Westport the best place to live in Ireland.
He said he realised that a sculpture was a big undertaking but he agreed to have more information on what type of sculpture would be used and what location it would be erected in for the September meeting of the authority.

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