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Mayo County Council launches Cathaoirleach's Awards to coincide with Mayo Day 2021

Date: 01-05-2021

Community and voluntary activism is thriving in Mayo. It is both timely and vital that the services of the many community volunteer groups that work among us, and the valuable impact that work has on the quality of life of the citizens of County Mayo, is acknowledged publicly. 

In recognition of this, Mayo County Council has decided to launch the first ‘Cathaoirleach’s Awards’ in County Mayo.

The Mayo County Council Cathaoirleach’s Awards will honour and celebrate individuals and groups that work quietly behind the scenes to make our communities stronger, more vibrant and caring, often inspiring and motivating others to become actively involved in their communities.

Unsung heroes are to be found in every town, village, street and road in County Mayo.  Of all ages and from all backgrounds, while working across diverse areas of interest, they all share one important characteristic; they give freely and generously of their time to make life better for their communities.

Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr Richard Finn outlined. “I am honoured to announce the first Cathaoirleach’s Awards for County Mayo.  I am particularly pleased that through these awards, a platform is provided to give recognition to groups and individuals who do tremendous work in their Communities.  I believe this annual event will be a wonderful acknowledgement and celebration of the very best efforts of Mayo people and it is therefore most fitting that we launch this on Mayo Day”.

The Mayo County Council Cathaoirleach’s Awards public nomination process will open soon at  We invite you to start thinking today about who you would like to be recognised for the work they do.  

It is envisaged that awards will be made in the following categories

  • Mayo Publication Award
  • Contribution to Local Heritage Awards
  • Contribution to Community Life Awards
  • Community Tourism Award
  • Environmental Awards
  • Contribution to the Arts in Mayo
  • Contribution to Irish Language Use/ Promotion Awards
  • Contribution to Diaspora Wellbeing/Engagement
  • Cathaoirleach’s Recognition Award

Catherine McConnell, Director of Services, Mayo County Council explained “We are delighted to launch this new and exciting awards event as part of our Mayo Day celebrations.  The Cathaoirleach’s Awards will give a well-deserved opportunity to individuals and/or groups who have excelled in a particular area to be highlighted and acknowledged.  The broad range of categories should ensure that a real cross section of our Mayo Society can be recognised for outstanding endeavours”

All applications will be considered by a panel consisting of local authority staff and invited external experts. 

It is envisaged that a maximum of 13 Awards will be made, in the detailed categories below, at an event to take place in November 2021.

Full details of the awards with timelines for opening of the nomination process will be posted on

About the Awards

Mayo Publication Award:  This Award is for the best book on any aspect of life in Mayo. Entries may include    local heritage and history, biography and autobiography, folklore and traditions natural history, sport, parish annuals and any other aspect of life in the county.  Publications from individuals, organizations or communities are accepted. Fiction, poetry and drama entries not eligible.

Entries may be in Irish or in English / Is féidir iontrálacha a bheith i mBéarla nó i nGaeilge.

Book must have been published between the 1st May 2020 and 1st May 2021 and two copies of the book must be submitted to Mayo County Council for consideration.

Contribution to Local Heritage Award:  This Award recognises the contribution by a group or an individual to the conservation, management, protection or promotion of Mayo’s natural, built or cultural heritage.

The Award recognises:

  • fresh approaches and initiatives that link heritage to communities, promoting active engagement with heritage and its appreciation by the public.
  • the application of good heritage practice in managing sites, collections or objects
  • efforts/activities to ensure the survival of a heritage feature or structure
  • contribution to heritage knowledge through research or data collection

Publications will not be considered for this award category.

Contribution to Community Life Awards (2 Awards):

Community Partnership Project Award:  This Award recognises community groups that show initiative, leadership, and involvement in projects and activities that embody the spirit of genuine partnership and benefit the overall community. 

Community Social Inclusion Project Award:  Social inclusion is about involving everyone within communities and this Award recognises those groups working to strengthen local communities, increase participation and promote social inclusion through their organisation, its activities and events.

Community Tourism Award:  The Community Tourism Award seeks to recognise the efforts of individuals, voluntary groups or social enterprises and their contribution to the development of outstanding experiences for visitors to County Mayo.

The award will recognise any of the following:

  • Initiatives that develop great visitor experiences or extend the Céad Mίle Fáilte in our towns or rural areas.
  • Collaborative initiatives between different visitor destinations in the County.
  • Efforts that support a balanced calendar of annual events/activities.
  • New or innovative attractions, activities/festivals.
  • Collaboration with tourism and hospitality providers to ensure a high quality integrated visitor service.

Environmental Awards (3 Awards)

  • Young Environmentalist of the Year (with public vote element to selection)
  • Environmental Community Group of the Year (selected from Category winners of National Tidy Towns Competition) ​
  • ​Climate/Biodiversity Project of the Year (Selected from Category Winners from Greener Futures Grants Scheme also with public vote element to selection)

Contribution to the Arts in Mayo (Group/Individual):  This category recognises the work that individuals/groups have done to encourage and promote the arts in their community.

  • Individuals/groups that take every opportunity to promote Arts in their community.
  • Individuals/Groups whose work embodies the spirit of community.
  • Individuals/Groups who are ambassador for the Arts, their community and Mayo.
  • Stimulate public interest in the Arts in the community.
  • Promote knowledge, appreciation and practice of the Arts in their community.
  • Assist in improving standards in the Arts in their community and in Mayo.

Contribution to Irish Language Use/ Promotion (2 Awards):  This award recognises the contribution of voluntary groups within Gaeltacht and Non-Gaeltacht Areas, and what they are actively doing to preserve and promote the use of the Irish Language in their communities and across the county.

Separate Awards will be made to (i) groups based in the Gaeltacht, (ii) and groups who are based outside the defined Gaeltacht.

The Award should be based on the following:

  • Good communication in promoting the use of the Irish Language:  spoken, written, social media, promotional material, etc.
  • Organising Gaeilge events and encouraging the use of the Irish Language.
  • Welcoming new members to the group with no Irish at all, some knowledge, or fluent and assisting them in using the Irish Language.

Contribution to Diaspora Wellbeing/Engagement:  In general, this Award will recognise an overseas recipient/group who have contributed to furthering the cause and wellbeing of Mayo people or causes overseas.  The nominees for this Award would be specifically sought from Mayo Associations but any person or group can nominate.

Cathaoirleach’s Recognition Award (1)

This Award will recognise outstanding contribution to the ideals and spirit of Mayo – at home or overseas (Sustainability, Inclusiveness, Wellbeing, Pride in our County).

This award will allow Mayo County Council to acknowledge groups or individuals who do not fall within any of the categories outlined above. 

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