The Manchester Irish Festival committee and the Minister for Tourism – Michael Ring TD, are amongst the recipients for 2012 Irish Diasopra Mayo Awards, which take place on Saturday 15th September at a presentation dinner at the ‘Welcome Inn’, in Castlebar. Members of the committee have also been invited to attend the ‘John Kennedy Lecture’ on Friday 14th September which is being presented by An Taoiseach – Enda Kenny TD.
Kevin Bourke one of co-ordinators of the awards said “We selected the festival, because of all the work that they do for the Diaspora in Manchester and the work they have done to develop links between Mayo and Manchester.”
One of the festival co-chairs – Kevin Fitzpatrick commented “We are delighted to have been selected for this prestigious award, a number of our committee members have links to Mayo, in fact I think there is only a couple of us who do not come from the County. It is a real honour to receive the award alongside the Minister for Tourism – Michael Ring TD. He came over to Manchester to launch the 2013 Gathering Tourism project and it will be great to meet up with him again.”
The Festival is Europe’s biggest Irish Festival outside of the Emerald Isle, its nearest rival is New York, but even America cannot match its two week festival featuring over 200 events involving eighty different venues. Last year Tony and Lawrence Hennigan whose parents come from Attymass in Mayo formed the Manchester-Mayo Tourism and Business group. They formed links with Knock Airport, Flybe, Mayo.ie, Achill Tourism, Mulranny Tourism, the Ballina Salmon Festival, Attymass Heritage Group and the Mayo North Tourism group. The two brothers are planning to help stage a Manchester-Mayo event as part of the Mayo North Gathering which takes place from the 1-8 August with festival hubs in Attymass, Ballina and Bonniconlon already confirmed.
The awards are being presented by the ‘Mayo Emigrant Liaison Committee’, along with the Lord Mayor of Manchester – Cllr Elaine Boyes, who is the special guest on the night.
Other award recipients include the Addergoole Titanic Committee, the institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University, Jim and Andrea McKenna (former Lord & Lady Mayoress of Leeds) and Brenda Mulvey from Birmingham. The awards have been going since 1999 and the purpose of the committee is to reconnect with the Diaspora around the world. They pay tribute to people who have made a vital contribution to promoting Irish Culture in their community and are being sponsored this year by Ireland West Airport.