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Mayo County Council named Local Authority of the Year 2020

Mayo County Council has won the prestigious Local Authority of the Year award at the 2020 Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards, along with three wins out of five nominations.

The three winning projects are the Making Positive Choices project in the Health & Wellbeing category; Weather Impact Register App – WIRE in the Local Authority Innovation category; and Virtual Mayo Day 2020 in the Festival of the Year category.

Mayo County Council was short-listed in a record five categories at the awards, held virtually today and hosted by Mary Kennedy.

The two other short-listed projects were A Sustainable Agricultural Strategy for Mayo in the Sustainable Environment category and Through the Ages in the Age Friendly Initiative section.

The awards showcase and celebrate the best of local government in Ireland.

Speaking this afternoon Chambers Ireland chief executive, Ian Talbot, said: “Local authorities are at the heart of local economies right across the island and make significant contributions to Irish society and the communities they serve. The value of this contribution has never been felt as strongly than over the past year, as towns, villages, cities and regions cope with the impact of Covid-19 on lives and livelihoods.

“Our aim is to shine a spotlight on the valuable work of local authorities and profile the excellent projects and initiatives undertaken by teams in local government right around the country.

“Congratulations to the 2020 Local Authority of the Year, Mayo County Council. We commend their commitment to excellence and the commitment they have shown across their work to ensure the sustainable development of the localities they represent, raising their county’s profile nationally.”

Said Minister of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien: “Local authorities have achieved the highest standards of performance, despite this year of great uncertainty. These standards are evident in all of the applications that were both entered and featured as the category prize winners in these awards.

“Having local government structures working to such a high level has helped to maintain an important sense of community in these difficult times and an inclusive, caring society for all.”

About the Mayo projects

Making Positive Choices is a collaborative project which addresses road safety issues on the Mayo islands. Its focus was on emphasising to young people the importance of making positive choices and providing them with the necessary tools and knowledge to prevent collisions and road traffic incidents in future.

The Weather Impact Register App is a simple tool for local authorities (and other state agencies) to record and collate the actual impacts and some of the associated costs of climate change in their areas. The GIS based dataset together with the dashboard and filters developed alongside the app provide a spatial distribution of risks and vulnerability and help identify the increasing severity and frequency of events that will inform climate adaptation planning.

Mayo is a rural county where agriculture plays a vital role in underpinning the rural economy. As part of the Sustainable Agricultural Strategy for Mayo, the council has engaged with stakeholders to develop a sustainable agriculture strategy that will drive economic development, support employment and create sustainable jobs in the county. The purpose of the strategy is to set out a series of actions that will help Mayo capitalise on opportunities and overcome barriers to developing this critical component of the local economy.

Through the Ages is a unique collaboration set up during the Covid-19 lockdown. Participants, aged six to sixteen, were asked to interview their grandparents about their memories of childhood and to record these stories in essay format for publication in a souvenir magazine, as well as for preservation in the Local History section of Mayo County Library. Interviews took place remotely due to the Covid restrictions and all participants were encouraged to handwrite their essays, creating a very authentic record for preservation in Mayo County Library.

For Virtual Mayo Day 2020, the people of Mayo got together again (virtually) with pride and with hope for Mayo Day, May 2. The virtual Mayo Day Live Show was a mix of chat, interviews, music, and messages of hope and solidarity for a special Mayo Day from well-known people from Mayo and those who love our county. The show concluded with the launch of a poignant and beautiful short film for Mayo Day called #OceansApart by Lorcan Hynes, a haunting film depicting how emigration and Covid-19 restrictions have impacted on Mayo families and friendships.

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