Winners of Gradaim Pobail na Gaeltachta Community Awards announced

1 December, 2008

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Comharchumann Forbartha Árann Teo from Inis Mór, Aran Islands received the first prize of €20,000 and a silver trophy at the Gradaim Pobail na Gaeltachta community recognition awards at a gala event in the Radisson SAS Hotel in Galway last night (Sunday 30th November). Minister Éamon Ó Cuív, T.D., presented the award.

The second prize of €15,000 went to Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne from the West Kerry Gaeltacht and the third prize of €7,000 was awarded to Comhar Caomhán Teo from Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, both which received trophies also.

Speaking at the event, Pádraig Ó hAoláin, Chief Executive of Údarás na Gaeltachta said “Gradaim Pobail na Gaeltachta recognises nine exemplary community organisations for their outstanding work. Their pioneering role and the impact they have on their communities in the promotion of social, cultural, economic and language activities, is very significant.” We are very proud of all the shortlisted organisations, for their vision and commitment to their communities.”

The winners were selected by a panel of judges, chaired by Edel Ní Chuireáin, and the main award was presented by Minister Éamon Ó Cuív, T.D.

Speaking at the presentation, Minister Éamon Ó Cuív, T.D., said that the participating organisations were an inspiration to all and that the awards give special recognition to the importance of their community development work. “The overview of the shortlisted nine community organisations given on TG4 in the past three weeks illustrates the excellent work and the wide range of activities these organisations are involved in on the islands and on the mainland. They are a prime example of what communities can achieve in partnership with organisations such as Údarás na Gaeltachta.”

1st Prize: Comharchumann Forbartha Árann Teo, Aran Islands, Co. Galway

Comharchumann Forbartha Árann Teo is a community development organisation that provides a wide range of social and community services on Inis Mór. It has developed a refuse recycling centre, played an important role in the development of a centre for the elderly containing social residential units on the island (Áras Rónáin), a tourism centre (Ionad Árann), a self-service fuel facility, a training and educational centre, a nursery school (naíonra) and a bus service for the island community. The co-operative was central in the campaign and planning of the development of Cill Rónáin harbour on the island which is currently in progress.

In the opinion of the adjudicators, Comharchumann Forbartha Árann Teo is a model community development structure – in its management, the functioning of its committee, financial management, its community leadership role and the broad spectrum of social, economic and language initiatives that it administers on behalf of its island community.

2nd Prize: Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne Teo, Baile an Fhirtéaraigh, Co. Kerry

Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne provides a wide range of community services and activities which draw mainly on the language and cultural resources of the area. The co-op, through its subsidiaries, runs Irish summer courses which are attended by in excess of 2,500 students annually, the Éigse Chorca Dhuibhne festival, adult Irish language courses and special Irish language courses for primary and secondary school teachers, the Chorca Dhuibhne museum and a television production business. Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne in conjunction with Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUIG, Galway, Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs has been working for sometime on a development plan for the establishment of an off-campus Acadamh facility in Baile an Fhirtéaraigh.

The adjudicators recognised the huge influence of Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne in preserving and strengthening the Irish language in Corca Dhuibhne. It manages a range of language-based initiatives including the Corca Dhuibhne Irish language colleges (among the most progressive Irish language colleges in the Gaeltacht) the Corca Dhuibhne Museum, Dovinia Teo – a television production company, a publishing business and a language planning initiative.

3rd Prize: Comhar Caomhán Teo, Inis Oírr, Aran Islands

Comhar Caomhán Teo, Inis Oírr has been in existence for 37 years. The co-op was initially established for the provision of basic services such as electricity and water but now manages a range of social and community activities. Comhar Caomhán Teo plays a vital part in the promotion and management of tourism facilities on the island, including the management of a camping site, public toilets, holiday homes, the airstrip, football pitch and tourist information literature. It also manages a trade store, fuel and recycling services, an innovative project aimed at the growing and storing of lobsters, a Language Services Centre and a minibus service for the local community.

The adjudicators recognised the central role that Comhar Camhán Teo. has in the daily lives of the island community of Inis Oírr. The co-op is an anchor of employment- generation on the island and many of the island’s basic services depend on the co-op. It has a strong lobbying role with a variety of state agencies which provide supports for the island and it manages a number of tourism projects.