Posted: 28/01/2020

Unsung Waterway Heroes go for Gold in Prestigious Community Awards

Devery Family, brickmaking in Offaly

Three projects nominated by Waterways Ireland have been chosen as finalists for this year's All Ireland Community & Council Awards, which are presented by IPB Insurance and LAMA. The awards take place in Croke Park on 15 February 2020.

Now in its 14th year, finalists include the  Royal Canal Citizen Science Project which has been selected in the Best Environmental/Ecological Project/Initiative.  This project is where Waterways Ireland facilitated a change in management, following consultation with a local community group, to support local biodiversity on the Royal Canal  at Baltrasna, near Mullingar.  The effect was then monitored by a local environmental group along with Butterfly Conservation Ireland and Birdwatch Ireland.  Waterways Ireland are delighted the excellent work of the volunteers has been recognised and look forward to working with them into the future.

Crinniú @ Portumna - A celebration of people, place and heritage has been selected as a finalist in Best Arts/Culture (incl. festivals & events).  This inaugural community centred heritage event was a collaboration between Waterways Ireland, Galway County Council Heritage Office and OPW Portumna Castle.  The event received great local support as well as attendance by barges from the Heritage Boat Association.

Stories from the Waterways has been selected as a finalist in Best Connected Council (Communication & Digital Marketing) category.  Waterways Ireland recorded two series of digital media features. One focused on local communities and their interactions with the waterways and a second series focused on the work of Waterways Ireland staff in the protection and promotion of waterways heritage. These digital shorts can be viewed on social media and

Hundreds of leading community organisations from across Ireland entered this year's event, which boasts over 19 categories. Entrants of this year's awards, which experienced the highest level of competition yet, were required to provide information on the project they were submitting, the people involved and their achievements over the past year.

Social enterprises, councils, organisations, projects and individuals working within the community all entered this years' event. The main award, the much anticipated Grand Prix title goes to the project that has received the highest level of recognition from judges. Last year, the prestigious title went to Louth County Council for their Sports Inclusion Disability Programme. The aspiration of the highly successful programme is to increase and sustain participation for people with disabilities.

Speaking about the finalists who have made the shortlist for this year's awards, Event Manager Michael O'Donoghue, said: "We anticipate this year's event will be bigger and better than ever, with many unsung heroes being recognised for their outstanding contribution to their communities. Competition remains high with so many inspiring projects deserving awards.

On the announcement of the finalists IPB Insurance Chairman George Jones said, "IPB is proud to partner with LAMA in presenting the All Ireland Community and Council Awards. The awards are an important national platform to acknowledge the valuable contribution made by local volunteers and communities in partnership with their local authorities right across the country. The vision, variety and social impact reflected by the initiatives shortlisted is hugely encouraging as we welcome almost 150 All-Ireland finalists to the awards this year from all 31 local authorities across the country."

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