With eight projects participating on the national stage at a prestigious awards ceremony in Dublin last weekend Donegal proved a formidable force with one community project scooping the national award.
Last weekend the National LAMA Awards were held in the exclusive Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin which are designed to help highlight the very important work carried out at local level.
The awards recognise projects undertaken by local authorities for the benefit of communities along with initiatives undertaken by the private sector working closely with local government.
The projects featured in the awards ceremony last weekend demonstrated their quality, impact and benefit to their own individual communities.
The popular village of Ardara scooped top prize in it’s catergory for its urban and village renewal project which involved a promenade along the river, decorative lighting and street furniture, picnic amenities and landscaped areas to mention but a few.
Local businessman and community activist Stephen McCahill said, “We are absolutely delighted at the national recognition.
“Ardara has benefited greatly from this scheme and it has enhanced the town greatly as a tourist destination.
“I would like to pay tribute to Francie Coyle who was with Donegal Co. Council at the time. Francie was the pioneer of this project and indeed was the driving force behind it - he spared no effort to make it happen and it is great to see his efforts recognised.
“I would also like to thank Paddy Harte of the IFI who through his efforts made sure there was adequate funding to complete the project.”
Ballyshannon also featured strongly in the shortlisted projects at the weekend with the Regeneration Group. the Rory Gallagher statue and the Town Council all nominated within their individual categories.
Town Clerk, Mary Daly said, “It is not always about winning, it is about participating and with three entries from a provincial town, Ballyshannon has made a strong imprint on the national stage.
“The Town Council has been recognised for taking positive steps in attempting to deal with the unemployment crisis, the magnificent life-size bronze Rory Gallagher statue was in the top five in the country and the Regeneration Group which is encouraging positive promotion and instilling a sense of civic pride was also deservedly in the final shortlist.
“The fact that we had three projects shortlisted in a national awards ceremony is a great testament to the community in Ballyshannon and both the Town and County Councils.”
Also shortlisted at the awards ceremony were, Killybegs Urban and Village Renewal Project which had been nominated in two categories, and Donegal County Council which continues to play a pro-active role in the development of the county in conjunction with various stakeholders.
The General Manager of the Irish Public Bodies, Alan Connolly who sponsored the event said, “The Ardara project is a typical model of collaboration between a local authority and local community interests, culminating in the creation of an area that is a more appealing place to live, work and visit.
“It is worth looking at how the County Council acknowledged the need, developed a vision, consulted with the local community and subsequently produced the funding with the objectives of improving the economic, social and environmental conditions of Ardara.”