Summer of cherished memories recalled at local authority Address of Recognition ceremony

A summer laden with cherished memories was reflected upon on Monday evening when Westmeath County Council hosted two civic receptions to mark the respective achievements of Rose of Tralee winner, Rachel Duffy and the Mullingar Fleadh executive committee.

Elected members gathered in The Atrium within the County Buildings as Cathaoirleach, Westmeath County Council, Cllr Aengus O’Rourke, paid due tribute to two momentous occasions that unfolded during the summer.

Referencing the achievement of Rachel, Cllr O’Rourke stated that the Rosemount native was a great ambassador for the county.

“We were filled with pride when Rachel’s name was called out that final night on stage at the Dome in Tralee. Rachel performed so well, was so natural on stage and was all the way through the event a great ambassador for the county of Westmeath. As you now carry out your role as the 2022 Rose of Tralee and as you travel in that capacity, you continue to be a wonderful ambassador and a superb champion for our county.

“It was great to witness your dad Eamonn pop up on our screens on the night and I recall thinking at the time, ‘there is a man bursting with both pleasure and pride in equal measure for his beautiful daughter’, and, while your mother could not be there Rachel, she too, I have no doubt, was beaming down with great pride on all that you have achieved.

“And, of course I want to also mention the people of Rosemount who got behind you, supported you and travelled to Tralee in huge numbers. I know Rachel that you really appreciated that support that you got from the people of Rosemount and that that support, in your words, played a really important part in your success. The people of Rosemount ended up of course having the time of their lives in Tralee and celebrated like never before, and I believe they cleaned out the bookies down there too. Good on them!

“Rachel is the first Rose representing Westmeath to take the title. We experienced a fantastic two nights of entertainment on August 22 and 23 and everyone will treasure the memory of that event for years to come - not to mention the joyous homecoming event that took place at Rosemount GAA on the night of the August 26.

“Rachel, you not only did the village of Rosemount proud but the whole of County Westmeath, thank you for being the wonderful ambassador that you are. We all wish you every success as the Rose of Tralee for the remainder of your reign and beyond,” Cllr O’Rourke commented.

The Cathaoirleach also expressed his gratitude to the Mullingar Fleadh executive committee whose sterling work enabled an immensely successful ‘Homecoming’ event to take place in the town in early August,

“This evening we would also like to say a heartfelt thank you to the Mullingar Fleadh executive committee 2022 who hosted probably the most successful Fleadh ever “the Homecoming”, welcoming into the region thousands of visitors to the founding town of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann embracing all aspects of Irish cultural traditions.

“This Fleadh saw in the region of 500,000 visitors come to Mullingar and generated upwards on €50m for the local economy.

“I want to tonight pay tribute to the Chairperson of Westmeath Comhaltas Joe Connaire and by his side Willie Penrose, Collette Glynn and the entire membership of the Fleadh Committee for the sterling leadership and unrelenting commitment even going back as far as the original bid in 2018.

“It took cool heads and skilful planning to navigate through two cancellations and then to go for it in 2022 as the country slowly emerged from a devastating pandemic. Not only going for it but pulling off arguably the best Fleadh ever, and of course, I want to also thank all the volunteers without whom the amazing week-long festival would simply not have been possible.

“I also want to thank my Council colleagues on Westmeath County Council from all over the county, for backing this event in Mullingar at every opportunity, and for providing the necessary funding to ensure we had an event of which to be proud. You can also be assured of our continued support for next year’s Fleadh.

“I want to also acknowledge the council’s role led by Anne Marie Corroon and Pauline Hussey who played a major role in the ensuring that the festival ran without a hitch.

“Specifically, this evening, to Mullingar Fleadh executive committee 2022, thank you for your hard work and dedication and to compliment all of you for the successful delivery of a very complex event in trying circumstances on the international stage. I congratulate you all,” Cllr O’Rourke concluded.


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