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Pride of Place win

Mayo Abbey takes ‘Pride of Place’

Austin Garvin and
Claire Egan

There were great scenes of jubilation in Mayo Abbey over the weekend at the news that the village had won the prestigious ‘Pride of Place Award.’
This vibrant rural community won the award in the face of stiff opposition from throughout the 32 counties. In total 127 different communities or groups entered the competition embracing five categories. Mayo Abbey entered group one which caters for a population of less than 500 people.
The competition is run by Co-operation Ireland and local authorities north and south and aims to recognise what community spirit can achieve. The Mayo Abbey entry was based on an overview of the Parish covering the last thirty years. Mr Martin Flatley, a former Mayo County footballer, was responsible for putting the village’s entry together. He was delighted with the outcome.
“The theme was ‘Focused Revival’ based on the GAA being the guardian and promoter of everything that goes on in the Parish. The revival was a triangular thing that spawned the revival together with the Church and Community Council,” he said.
Mayo County Council Liaison Officer, Mr Peter Gill, said the award is about communities working with local authorities.
“In the case of Mayo Abbey the local youth club, senior citizens, community alert groups, sports groups and many others worked together to improve the locality. When we speak about ‘community spirit’ it is about the intangible, something which cannot be physically seen or touched as such, but which can be judged by the effort and goodwill of all involved to liaise and work together for the good of the community,” he said.
The award ceremony, which was held in Tullow, County Carlow last Saturday, was attended by members of the local community, Mayo Council staff and Mayo Cathaoirleach Mr Gerry Coyle. The community won a prize of €2,000 and a piece of crystal presented to representatives from Mayo Abbey.
Apart from Mayo Abbey Belmullet and Túras na Gaeltachta also entered. Mr Peter Gill announced a further boost for the West by confirming that The Pride of Place Awards 2007 presentations will be hosted by Mayo next year with Westport the most likely venue.
The winning of the prize coincides with new developments in the village which will be able to cater for the growth of the village. A crèche facility for 70 children and 23 local authority houses are in the pipeline.

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