18 February 2024

~4 minutes read

Quadruple success for Galway County Council at Local Authority ‘Oscars’

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Quadruple success for Galway County Council at Local Authority ‘Oscars’

The recently opened BIA Innovator Campus in Athenry, the community-based ‘Healthy Islands’ initiative, an innovative Corofin start-up, and a pilot scheme aimed at improving energy saving and management in County Galway’s social housing stock have been named winners at the 2024 All-Ireland Community and Council Awards.

Galway County Council’s quadruple success in what is regarded as the Oscars of the local government sector was revealed at a ceremony held at the Dublin Royal Convention Centre last night.

The BIA Innovator Campus in Athenry was named overall winner of the ‘National Impact Award’, the ‘Healthy Islands’ project was named winner of the ’Best Community Health’ category in recognition of its efforts to promote health and well-being, Corofin-based Heptagon Houses Ltd. was named winner of the ‘Best Micro Start-Up’ category and  Galway County Council also was named overall winner of the ‘Best Energy Smart Initiative’ for its ‘Heat Pump Remote Access’ project.

Opened in January by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the BIA Innovator Campus in Athenry is the first Centre of Excellence for the Irish food industry in the country and aims to drive regional and national growth in Ireland’s agri-food sector. The facility, which was developed with the support of Galway County Council, was named overall winner of the ‘National Impact Award’ after coming out on top in a shortlist that also included Dublin City Council (Connection Arts Centre), Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (Coastal Mobile Route) and Wicklow County Council (It Takes A Village & Tiglin and the Rise of the Cover).

Galway County Council also was named overall winner of the ‘Best Energy Smart Initiative’ for its ‘Heat Pump Remote Access’ project, having beaten off competition from Wicklow County Council (Bray Bolt E-Bike Scheme), Mayo County Council (Castlebar Energy Clinics) and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (Carbon Neutral Street Lighting).

The pioneering approach to sustainable energy, which is currently is being piloted in a local authority estate, involves the installation of GSM modems on domestic heat pumps to enable technicians to remotely monitor for energy efficiency and any maintenance requirements ahead of any required callouts. Should the initial trial prove successful, Galway County Council says it will roll out the scheme across its full housing stock that contains heat pumps, including all new builds.

The ‘Healthy Islands’ project was named winner of the ’Best Community Health’ category in recognition of its efforts to promote health and well-being, to improve communication and enhance knowledge of available services amongst residents of The Aran Islands (Inis Meáin, Inis Mór and Inis Oírr) and Inishbofin.  The project featured free activities and resources for more than 200 participating residents to promote health and well-being across all the islands, including pulse and blood pressure checks, healthy cooking demonstrations workshops, a community fun-run, yoga, relationship and sexual health education, citizen information advice, and exercise and fitness tips.

Corofin-based Heptagon Houses Ltd. was named winner of the ‘Best Micro Start-Up’ category having been shortlisted alongside The Smooth Company (South Dublin), Farmteam (Wicklow), Quickcropt (Sligo) and Nualach Automation (Cavan). The company, which has benefited from support provided by Local Enterprise Office Galway, was acknowledged for its innovative business approach that has seen the family-run enterprise thrive as Ireland’s sole manufacturer and installer of Timber Framed Greenhouses.

Meanwhile, Galway County Council’s Garraí Ghuaire social housing development in Kinvara was shortlisted in the ‘Best Housing Regeneration & Urban Planning’ category alongside entries from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, South Dublin, Clare, Cork County and Wexford. The development, comprising 10 detached and semi-detached homes, was completed in January 2023.

Now in its 18th year, the award scheme hosted by the Local Authority Members Association and IPB Insurance recognises and celebrates communities and the country’s 31 local authorities working together.

Cllr. Liam Carroll, Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council, accepted the awards on behalf of the Local Authority.

 

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