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2014 IPB Co-operation Ireland Pride Of Place Winners Announced At Gala Ceremony - Galway Scoops Top Prize

Nov 17, 2014

Doughiska/Merlin Woods,Galway City group members with (Back) George Jones,Chairman IPB, Dr Christopher Moran,Chairman Co-Operation Ireland and Tom Dowling ,Chairman Pride of Place at the 12th Annual IPB Pride of Place Awards in association with Co-operation Ireland at Tracey's West County Hotel Ennis. Photograph by Eamon Ward

Galway picked a number of the top prizes in the in the IPB Co-operation Ireland Pride of Place Awards announced last night (Saturday 15 November) in Treacy's West County Hotel, Ennis, Co Clare. Doughiska/Merlin Woods scooped the top prize in the Category 2 of the Cities Competition, which is for communities of over 1000 people. Galway's West End came runner up in Category 1 of the Cities Competition. In the main competition, Belclare/Sylane came runner up in Category 3, a category for communities of populations between 750 and 1000 and Claregalway came runner up in Category 4, a category for communities of populations of between 1500 and 4000. Chonamhara Láir came runner up in the Islands and Costal Communities Category. It was also announced that Chonamhara Láir was nominated for a LivCom Award. These awards are the world's only Awards Competition focusing on International Best Practice regarding the management of the local environment and the winners will be announced in 2015.

In their citation, the judges said of Doughiska/Merlin Woods "They were impressed at the outset and were unstinting in their praise of this Category Two entry. With a growing population now in excess of 7,000 this community has shown a remarkable capacity to cater for the needs of a diverse, multicultural population, which totally lacked basic social, educational, health and recreational facilities and services. The umbrella community development company recently acquired a modern, but closed down hotel premises and transformed this into a multi-purpose community facility. This partnership provides strategic direction and empowers the local community to provide a range of services and programmes locally. This project demonstrates best practice in co-operation, collaboration, integration and social inclusion of the highest calibre."

More than 800 people attended the gala ceremony to hear the announcement of the winners and runners up in the 12th Annual IPB Pride of Place Awards in association with Co-operation Ireland. The awards were greeted with great celebration by representatives of community groups, from all over the island of Ireland, eagerly anticipating the announcement of winners.

The Awards recognise cities, towns and communities that show respect and inclusion for every sector in local areas and creating communities to which the people are proud to say they belong. Forty six groups, ranging from small rural communities to inner city housing estates, won accolades in the Main and Cities Competition- all of them demonstrating the pride they have in their cities, towns and villages.

On hand at the awards to MC was RTE Sports Commentator Marty Morrissey who was joined on stage by Councillor Tony O'Brien, Leas Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Ronan Foley, Chief Executive IPB, Dr. Christopher Moran, Chairman, Co-operation Ireland and Tom Dowling, Chairman, Pride of Place, Paddy Crowe, Inis Oirr and George Jones, Chairman, IPB to present the winners with their awards.

Co-operation Ireland CEO Peter Sheridan said "I congratulate everyone, and in particular the winners, who participated in year's competition. Pride of place celebrates what people like about where they live, the people and the areas that make a community what it is." He continued, "Co-operation Ireland values this Pride of Place competition as a key driver in community development and for the past 12 years, it has been an integral part of our work. However, we would not be able to do it without the support of our sponsors IPB, our judging panel, the Pride of Place Committee and everyone who works to make it a success. I would like to thank Clare County Council for hosting this wonderful awards ceremony, and giving us the opportunity to celebrate each other's endeavours."

Speaking at the event, Ronan Foley, CEO IPB said:

" IPB Insurance is proud to be associated as title sponsors of the IPB Pride of Place Awards and more importantly what it represents. I firmly believe that it is essential that we recognise communities and the thousands of volunteers across the island of Ireland that give of themselves selflessly every day. As a mutual insurer that insures local authorities and their communities across the island of Ireland, these awards are an excellent fit. It is clear that working together and getting things done increases peoples' pride in where they live and in turn helps build vibrant communities. All those nominated epitomise the sense of community spirit that can be seen all across Ireland, with people committed to creating positive civic change in their respective communities. "

Also in attendance was Tom Dowling, Chairman of Pride of Place, who said:

"After 12 years of Pride of Place communities all over the island of Ireland continue to demonstrate to the judges their amazing capacity to care for the people in their communities and respect their heritage, culture and environment. He also paid particular thanks to the local authorities all over the island of Ireland, Co-operation Ireland and IPB Insurance for their ongoing support for this unique community competition. "

Councillor Tony O'Brien, Leas Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, said:

"Clare has a proud tradition in this competition and the council was honoured to play host to community groups from all over the country. The Pride of Place Awards gave us an opportunity to showcase the county to a national audience and also celebrate the vital contributions made by community partnerships."

IPB Pride of Place, which was first piloted in the summer of 2003 and came from the Local Authority All-Island Steering Forum, aims to recognise and celebrate the vital contributions that communities make to society. The Pride of Place Competition is unique as it specifically recognises the involvement of the local community in all aspects of rural and urban regeneration, including promoting social cohesion, heritage and environmental awareness.

The Competition is run by Co-operation Ireland in conjunction with the Pride of Place Steering Committee and is sponsored by IPB.