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Miltown Malbay in County Clare has been named one of the principal winners in this year’s IPB Pride of Place Competition in association with Co-operation Ireland.

Over 400 people from all over the island of Ireland travelled to Derry to attend the 11th annual awards ceremony in Derry on Saturday night (16 November 2013). It is Clare’s first success in the competition since the Clare Crusaders Children's Clinic received an award under the Community Health Initiative category in 2011.

Pride of Place, which is run by Co-operation Ireland in conjunction with local authorities north and south of the border, was first piloted in the summer of 2003. The all-island initiative recognises and celebrates the vital contributions that community partnerships make to society, including promoting social cohesion, involvement in planning, the promotion of heritage, and environmental awareness.

Miltown Malbay beat off stiff competition from all over the country to be crowned overall winners of Population Category 3. Miltown Malbay Tidy Towns Committee members were presented with a crystal decorative memento and €1,000.

Mayor of Clare Cllr. Joe Arkins, who attended the awards ceremony, congratulated Miltown Malbay on achieving national success and helping Clare to maintain an impressive track record of success in the competition. Mayor Arkins added that Miltown Malbay’s success “is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when people come together for the benefit of their local community.”

He continued: “This competition focuses on local communities, both north and south of the border, coming together to shape, change and enjoy all that is good about their area. I am sure that Clare’s other participants in this year competition, Mountshannon Community Council and An Sean Dún Residents Association in Roslevan will have also enjoyed the opportunity to network, exchange ideas and learn from others.”

Speaking following Saturday night’s awards ceremony, Miltown Malbay Tidy Towns Committee Spokesperson, Sean Lenihan stated: “Like many other small towns throughout Clare we have lots of diverse groups, associations and organisations, but what sets us apart is that when required, all sectors of the community work together and act as one. We are very aware that everybody has something to offer and we recognise the skills, inputs and competencies that different people have and utilise them accordingly to ensure that all visitors leave with fond memories and a willingness to return.”

According to Nicola Cullinan, Pride of Place Coordinator, Community & Tourism Directorate with Clare County Council: “Pride of Place is a great way to acknowledge the hard work and selfless endeavour undertaken by communities from all over the island of Ireland. It is an opportunity to celebrate the vital contribution that community groups make to society and it demonstrates what local groups can achieve. Clare County Council is delighted to have played its part in supporting local participants in this year’s competition.”