Mairead McGuinness MEP and First Vice-President of the European Parliament has praised the work of local community and volunteer groups in Westmeath.
Speaking at the Cathaoirleach Awards ceremony 2019 in Belvedere House, Mullingar on Friday evening, McGuinness said:
“This wonderful, uplifting occasion is an opportunity to recognise and value the contribution of community and volunteer groups in the county.
“These groups form the very fabric of the community and the Awards are an opportunity to highlight and acknowledge their invaluable work in and for the local community.”
She praised the efforts of Westmeath County Council in working with groups in the County and in supporting and encouraging their work.
“The collaboration between Westmeath County Council and community groups in the county is really exemplary. Through its work, the County Council is supporting organisations, which are the backbone of local communities, in continuing their work and helping to raise awareness and celebrate their very positive contribution to the local area.”
McGuinness highlighted the role of EU programmes in supporting local community groups and initiatives.
She said programmes like LEADER and rural development programmes help to develop and sustain community groups in carrying out essential work in local areas.
“As many of these organisations run on a volunteer basis, such support is invaluable,” she said.
She paid tribute to the work of Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Cllr. John Dolan.
“A sincere thanks to the Cathaoirleach for all his work during his term. I was delighted to accept the Cathaoirleach’s invitation to address the Awards ceremony and to meet with several local groups working on mental health, disability issues, active retirement and Tidy Towns.
“These groups often carry out their work quietly, without seeking recognition or praise. The Cathaoirleach Awards give us all an opportunity to publically thank them and acknowledge their important work.”