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Mayo Peace Park founder named Mayo Person of the Year

Castlebar's Michael Feeney.
MAYO PERSON OF THE YEAR Castlebar's Michael Feeney.

Mayo Peace Park founder named Mayo Person of the Year

Anton McNulty

Castlebar man and founder of the Mayo Peace Park, Michael Feeney, has been named the Mayo Person of the Year for 2013.
The announcement was made yesterday (Monday) at a ceremony hosted by the Mayo Association Dublin at the Burlington Hotel where Mr Feeney was announced as the recipient of the Virginia Gallagher Mayo Person of the Year Award.
Meanwhile the Ballycroy, Killeen and Kilmeena Group Water Scheme were named as the recipients of the Mayo Meitheal Award for providing clean and safe drinking water for their communities.
Michael Feeney is best known for his work in creating the Mayo Peace Park in Castlebar which honours all the Irish men who died in World War I and World War II as well as other wars around the world.
His grandfather, Patrick Feeney from Castlebar, died in World War I and it was Michael’s interest in his grandfather which led to the idea of a memorial for Mayo people who died in the war.
He first proposed the idea in 1999 and after receiving support for his project, the Mayo Peace Park, Garden of Remembrance was constructed in Castlebar and officially opened by President Mary McAleese on October 7, 2008. The memorial wall marks the names of the Irish people were served and died in conflict since World War I.
As well as being involved in the Mayo Peace Park, Michael has also been involved in a number of projects in Castlebar including the development of Milebush Park and Castlebar Park on the land of the old bacon factory.
In their citation to Mr Feeney, the Mayo Association Dublin described him as an individual who made dreams come true.
“Turning dreams into reality. That is everyone’s wish, but few of us have the drive or vision to achieve it. An exception is the winner of this year’s Virginia Gallagher Mayo Person of the Year, who turned his dreams into realities which brought benefits to his community and, perhaps, to the country at large,” they stated.
The Mayo Meitheal Award went to the  Ballycroy, Killeen and Kilmeena Group Water Scheme for setting a standard for water services management. Through the work of the three schemes, 500 million litres of water is saved every year, a stat which An Taoiseach Enda Kenny referred to on his presentation of ISO 9001 accreditation last year.
Twenty years ago, the water quality in the Ballycroy district was the subject of a Dail debate, when it was formally declared unfit for human consumption. The case went to Europe and in many ways marked the start of the legislative changes on water supply, now culminating in the creation of a national water body.
For the residents of Ballycroy and district, it meant four more years of boiling all drinking water, until the opening of a new treatment plant under the auspices of the Ballycroy, Kileen and Kilmeena group water scheme, with the assistance of Mayo County Council.
Both awards will be presented at the Mayo Association Dublin gala banquet on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin 4. Tickets are on sale presently at €65 per person. For tickets contact: Pat Downes at; Francis O’Malley at or Susan Cosgrove at

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