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Grand opening for Westport Greenway Park

News Features
y Ian Ryan with Dermot and Declan Mooney were all set for some skating action at last Friday’s opening.

Greenway Park heralded as a triumph of collaboration

Michael Duffy

THERE was a carnival atmosphere despite the overcast weather conditions in Westport last Friday as a huge crowd turned out for the opening of the new Greenway Park or Multi Use Games Area.
The facility has become a reality through a unique collaboration between Westport Town Council and the town’s Tidy Towns Committee, who sourced funding for the project from South West Mayo Development Company Ltd and from the local Credit Union.
Westport Leisure Park and Mayo Sports Partnership have also supported the project which will see many of the town’s young, and not so young, skating and biking to their heart’s content for many years to come.
The development also contains an outdoor sports arena for the playing of a host of other sports.
The occasion was also a special one for local deputy Michael Ring who was back in his home town to perform the official opening in his capacity as Minister of State of the department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Deputy Ring told the large gathering that it was indeed a proud occasion for him as his mother had been born in one of the houses adjacent to the new park.
“It is great to be able to return to my home town as Minister for Sport to open this fabulous facility and I want to thank the people of this town for their support since 1979. I am only in a position to be a Minister in this town because of your support.”
Minister Ring said everyone who was involved in sport in the town was ‘a winner’ and this facility was another opportunity to make sure all of the town’s youth were encouraged to participate in sport in some form or other.
He was rich in his praise for the Tidy Town’s Committee who had brought three national titles to the town and he also paid tribute to the South West Mayo Development Company for approving substantial funding for the project.
He also praised Westport Town Council for once again ‘thinking outside the box’ and he assured everyone that the Greenway project itself was being promoted all over the world and he had no doubt it would bring more tourists into the town.
“Once again, Westport has been ahead of the posse with regard to this type of development and I want to assure you all that there are more projects in the pipeline and I hope to be a position to offer support to other projects in the near future.”
The gathering was also addressed by the current Cathaoirleach of Westport Town Council, Cllr Tereasa McGuire, by the chairperson of Westport Tidy Towns, Pamela Flanagan and by Gerry O’Neill of the South West Leader Development Company.
County Manager Peter Hynes, who was Town Manager in Westport when the Greenway project was initiated, paid tribute to the vision and collaboration of all the groups involved.
He said it was great to have the noise of young people enjoying themselves drowning out the speakers and he paid particular tribute to Cllr Martin Keane, who had flagged the project as a necessity for nearly a decade, adding it was clear the Cllr Keane had the ‘biggest smile on his face’ of anyone in attendance. 
The park was official blessed at the beginning of the opening ceremony by Fr Francis Mitchell and the Reverend Val Rogers. MC for the occasion was Town Clerk, Ann Moore.