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Westport Tidy Towns pipped at the post


SEVENTH HEAVEN Westport was named Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town for a seventh time yesterday, from left: Martin Kelleher, Managing Director, SuperValu; Liam Campion, SuperValu Westport and Tidy Towns;  Eithne Larkin, Chairperson, Westport Tidy Towns Committee and Michael Ring, TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development. Pic: Naoise Culhane

Áine Ryan

JUST one point behind overall winner, the village of Birdhill, Co Tipperary, Westport has been named Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town in the 2017 SuperValu TidyTowns Awards announced in The Helix, Dublin, yesterday. Presented by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, one of the Westport’s leading volunteers, Pat Scahill received the Overall National Hero Award for his dedication to the tidy towns initiative.  
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Ring said: “I am delighted to announce that Westport has been named Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town in the 2017 Tidy Towns Awards. This award is richly deserved following the endless work and dedication involved in keeping Westport tidy.
“I wish to take this opportunity to highly commend the Chairperson of Westport Tidy Towns, Ms Eithne Larkin, the committee itself and the large number of volunteers. I also want to compliment Mr Padraic Walsh, Director of Services and the indoor and outdoor staff of Mayo County Council in Westport and CE Scheme workers. The people of Westport take huge pride in the appearance of the town and it is wonderful to see their work in this regard being rewarded,” he said.
Citing Pat Scahill’s dedicated work for the Tidy Towns, Michael Ring said: “Pat works tirelessly in keeping Westport tidy. His good nature, dedication and hard work are well-known throughout the town.  Pat can be seen working in all types for weather for Westport Tidy Towns.”
Westport was also the winner in the regional category of North West and West, retaining its Gold Medal. Belmullet and Castlebar received silver medal awards while Mulranny and Ballina won in the bronze category. There was also an Endeavour Award for Shrule for ‘showing the greatest improvement on last year’.

Community dedication
SPEAKING to The Mayo News, while en route from Dublin to last night’s celebrations in The Mill Times Hotel, Ms Eithne Larkin explained that Westport had increased its points (331) by six on last year’s results.
“We are the Tidiest Large Town and only one mark behind the overall winner, so we are really delighted. The fact that Pat Scahill is now ‘a national hero’ adds to this. Pat volunteers for up to five hours a day and his dedication to Westport is unmatched. It is wonderful that he has been recognised on the national stage,” Ms Larkin said.
Continuing, she remarked that: “While the Tidy Town committee obviously leads the way, we couldn’t do it without all the community groups and businesses that support  us. Earlier this year we approached a lot of these and we gained an extra eight or nine volunteers every Monday evening for a clean-up for two hours. We are hoping to increase this again for next year.”
She also praised the contribution of the Junior Tidy Town who received a Youth Award for an exhibiton presented to the national conference in Westport last March.
Presenting the Community Heroes awards, the Managing Director of SuperValu, Martin Kelleher said this category celebrates ‘the efforts of ten SuperValu Community Heroes from across Ireland who act as exemplary members of their community’.
“As we mark 26 years as title sponsor of the SuperValu TidyTowns competition, we remain incredibly proud of our long-standing involvement in this important initiative. Year after year we see volunteers up and down the country come together to enhance their local communities and their tremendous passion and dedication never fails to impress. The SuperValu Community Hero Awards are intended to recognise those who go above and beyond in their endeavours and I would like to congratulate all our winners on this tremendous achievement,” he said.
Overall winner, Pat Scahill was nominated by Liam Campion of SuperValu Shop Street, Westport, recognising him for his commitment to enhancing his local community.
This year’s awards attracted 870 towns and villages with Ennis, Co Clare, winning the Ireland’s Tidiest Large Urban Centre and Clonakilty, Co Cork, winning the Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town category. TidyTowns competition continues to grow every year and this year saw 870 towns and villages entering. Organised by the Department of Rural and Community Development, the awards have been sponsored by SuperValu for 26 years.

www.tidytowns.ie and at www.supervalu.ie

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