Rathkeale’s pride wins over the judges to scoop All-Ireland Community Award

  • Rathkeale Limerick - Pride of Place winners 2020
Members of the Rathkeale Pre-Social Cohesion Project (pic taken prior to any Covid-19 restrictions).

Project to develop relationships between the Traveller and Settled community wins a Pride of Place prize.

Rathkeale was awarded a major prize at the all-Ireland Pride of Place Community Awards over the weekend for the work of local people’s efforts to improve relationships within the town.

Rathkeale took top spot in the Population 1000 - 2000 category with judges praising the work that has gone in to improving relations between the Traveller and Settled Communities though the Rathkeale Pre-Social Cohesion Project.

The citation for Rathkeale’s win was:

“The winning entry is about a town and the resolution of issues within that town. Various local events have now been organised on a cross community basis, between the Traveller and Settled Communities. The Pre Social Cohesion Group epitomises what can be achieved when people come together and work to achieve the extraordinary.”

The awards, hosted by Marty Morrissey, took place online due to the Covid-19 pandemic with more than 6,000 people logging in from across Ireland to see community groups pick up awards.

Sponsored by IPB Insurance, the Pride of Place competition was initiated 18 years ago though a Co-operation Ireland programme to acknowledge the invaluable work undertaken by volunteers and those involved in local community development. 

It has grown into the largest competition recognising community development achievements on the island of Ireland.

President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, who is Joint Patron of Co-operation Ireland said the awards played an important role.

“The Pride of Place awards are a most important initiative, reminding us that creating societies that are ethical and inclusive is a task for all of our citizens, of all ages and circumstances.”

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Collins said: “Huge congratulations to everyone in Rathkeale on winning this Pride of Place award. You should be very proud of yourselves and what you have achieved. There is a renewed impetus in Rathkeale in promoting the positive in the town, with the opening of the new Welcome Centre, which includes a Fáilte Ireland Tourist Point and a revamped website, Rathkeale.com, which is getting the message about the town out to a wider audience.

"The Pre-Social Cohesion project is a great example of what can be achieved if we all work together for the betterment of our community. It is something special to be recognised for this community spirit on a national level, so everyone involved should be very proud and happy with their work.”

Three other Limerick projects were shortlisted for the awards.

They were:

  • Bedford Row Family Project entered in the Cities Competition under the Community Wellbeing Initiative category
  • Monaleen Park Residents’ Association entered in the Cities Competition under the Urban Neighbourhoods/ Villages category
  • Vale View Residents’ Association entered in the Main Competition under the Housing Estates Category

Gordon Daly, Director of Community Development in Limerick City and County Council said: “The members of the Rathkeale project should take a bow for the work and commitment they have shown to ensure it has become a success. These projects don’t just happen. It needs ongoing community support and a dedicated core group of people to oversee it.”

“This project is the epitome of community spirit and fully deserves its win. Indeed, I must also thank the other three shortlisted groups for their work in their communities. Together we are stronger.”

Pride of Place founder and Chairman Tom Dowling said: “These Awards continue to be as important as ever after all these years and the purpose of the awards has never changed. They are about recognising and celebrating the extraordinary, inspirational tireless work being done by communities all over the Island of Ireland as they strive to make their place a better place in which to live.”

Dr Christopher Moran, Chairman of Co-operation Ireland said: “Pride of Place deserves its position as one of the most prestigious community awards on the island of Ireland and Co-operation Ireland is delighted that it continues to go from strength to strength.”

George Jones Chairman, IPB Insurance said: “We are proud to be title sponsors of the Pride of Place awards and continue to be amazed by the standard of submissions and their social impact on communities is a testament to an individual and collective vision for a better Ireland.

“This competition provides a fitting platform to recognise the vast strides communities across the island of Ireland are making. It is essential, now more than ever, that in these challenging times that we reflect and focus on the positives and take time to celebrate the excellent work accomplished around the island of Ireland.”

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Treaty Stone Limerick. Photo Piotr Machowczyk