Donegal Connect 2019 won the All Ireland Community & Council Awards for the ‘Best Tourism Initiative’ at the awards ceremony, which took place last Saturday night in Croke Park.
Now in its 14th year, the awards recognise and celebrate community and councils working together and provide an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the work being done within local communities.
Over 200 entries were received this year and Donegal Connect was among 24 deserving projects announced winners on the night.
Donegal Connect 2019 was a collaborative project between the private and public sector in Donegal aimed at creating new opportunities for the county.
Speaking at the awards, held in Croke Park, Garry Martin, Director of Economic Development with Donegal County Council said: “We’re delighted to win the ‘Best Tourism Initiative’ for Donegal Connect. The programme rolled out over 70 events highlighting the county’s strengths in tourism, business, arts, culture, food and drink, as well as shining a light on our rich cultural heritage and Irish language and the economic opportunities that exist within our county.
“One of the key strengths behind the success of Donegal Connect overall was that all the partners pulled together. The project could never have succeeded without the hard work of everyone involved, and was a wonderful example of a successful public-private sector partnership in action”.
Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise Donegal added: “We’re delighted to accept this award and we’re honoured to be recognised for the great work that’s been done through collaboration between the public and private sector.
“Through this project we engaged with our Diaspora, both overseas and within Ireland, to entice them to make the journey to Donegal to explore the county and to find out why it is a wonderful place to visit, to invest in, to live in and be educated in. Last year’s Donegal Connect ten-day programme saw a host of people visit Donegal for a wide range of events and experience the very best that our wonderful county has to offer”.
Donegal Connect was the original brainchild of the Donegal Association in Dublin in 2017 which developed into a collaborative project between the private and public sector in Donegal aimed at creating new opportunities for the county.
The project’s management committee, chaired by Garry Martin included Deirdre Mc Glone, formerly of Harvey’s Point Hotel, Niamh Walsh – a returned Donegal Diaspora now back living in Carrigart, and representatives from Údarás na Gaeltachta, the IDA, LYIT, Donegal County Council, Randox and Pramerica in addition.