THE picturesque village of Birdhill took top prize in the All-Island IPB Pride of Place Competition, in association with Co-operation Ireland. They scooped the prize in Category three, which is for populations between 500 and 1,000.
The judges said: “Reputation as a component of identity is very important and this wonderful village has a well-earned reputation for excellence in many areas. The judges attest to a continued demonstration of resilience and community strength over a long number of years.” The judges enjoyed not only the excellence of the village’s appearance, but the obvious involvement of so many people in maintaining its standards. They described their experience as “positive, progressive and warm”. There to accept the award on last Saturday evening was a delegation from Birdhill, Melissa Ryan, Marie Gorman and Anne Barry. There was also a very strong and enthusiastic delegation from North Tipperary County Council, which included Joe MacGrath, county manager; Liam Bergin, Pride of Place co-ordinator, and Deirdre Cox, environmental awareness officer.
Cloughjordan Eco Village, was also nominated by North Tipperary County Council for inclusion in Pride of Place 2012 in the Community Garden category. Whilst the group did not pick up an award on the night, as a result of their very impressive presentation to the judges during the summer, they have been nominated by the Pride of Place judges for the 2013 International Livcom Competition. Birdhill was also nominated for this competition.
Mayor of North Tipperary Cllr Michael O’Meara congratulated Birdhill on their wonderful achievement.
“The Pride of Place awards celebrates the work of community groups, the local authority and relevant agencies working together to support community involvement, volunteering and working with community organisations. I am delighted that Birdhill have won this prestigious award,” he said.
The winners were congratulated and presented with their awards by Jan O’Sullivan, Minister of State for at the Environment, Community and Local Government; Christopher Moran, chairman, Co-operation Ireland; Tom Dowling, chairman, Pride of Place, and IPB chief executive Ronan Foley. More that 400 representatives from practically every county in Ireland attended the event at Thomond Park, Limerick, where the winners of the 10th consecutive annual competition revealed. They were announced by Will Leahy, 2FM presenter. During the evening, the Minister paid tribute to all the participating groups who work tirelessly to create and promote pride in their cities, towns and villages. The All-Island Pride of Place Competition recognises and celebrates the vital contributions that community partnerships make to society. The focus is on people coming together to shape, change and enjoy all that is good about their local area. It differs from other similar projects in that they specifically recognise the involvement of the local community in all aspects of rural and urban regeneration including, promoting social cohesion, involvement in planning, the promotion of heritage and environmental awareness.
The competition is run by Co-operation Ireland in conjunction with the Pride of Place Steering Committee. This year the competition has been renamed the All-Island IPB Pride of Place Competition in association with Co-operation Ireland thanks to the sponsorship from Irish Public Bodies Mutual Insurances Ltd. Mr Moran, chair of Co-operation Ireland, said: “I congratulate all the winners of this year’s Pride of Place Awards. The fact that we have reached this 10 year milestone is testament to the esteem in which the competition is held, celebrating as it does the achievements and contribution that community groups make to local society. It is important to highlight the wonderful, selfless work that is going on in your communities.” Mr Dowling, chairman of Pride of Place, congratulated all the participants and acknowledged that this year’s competition attracted the highest number of nominations since the competition commenced.
“The reason the communities are here tonight is because their local authority believes in them and recognises that they have huge pride in their place,” he said.