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Tuesday, 26th September 2023

Louth County Council shortlisted for two Excellence in Local Government Awards

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John Kirwan of  Fisherman's Catch in Clogherhead just one stop in the Louth Seafood Trail.

Louth County Council have been shortlisted in two categories at the Excellence in Local Government Awards (2023).

The Council’s humanitarian response to the Ukraine crisis was named as a finalist in the ‘Local Authority Innovation’ category, while the tourism and economic development initiative ‘Sea Louth’ was shortlisted in the ‘Supporting Tourism’ category.

Following the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the local authority acted promptly, and in the most humanitarian way possible, to the unprecedented crisis.

Louth County Council’s Crisis Management Team was mobilised, with two strategic priorities identified - to set up a temporary ‘Rest Centre’ to quickly receive refugees arriving nationally and to identify local 'quick fix' units for more sustainable accommodation. 

The council owned Sports Centre was repurposed as a temporary rest centre for seven weeks, managed by the Sports Centre staff working with colleagues and the statutory agencies.

In parallel, council staff identified vacant premises and, with the cooperation and generosity of St. John of God North East services, and private owners of a former school, facilitated the refurbishment to provide congregated style accommodation, where each family has their own bedroom but share kitchens and living/dining spaces.  

The Community Response Forum and Inter Agency group were activated and engaged immediately in the project.

A Ukrainian speaking officer supports owners and beneficiaries of vacant holiday homes/apartments offered to the initiative.  This officer helped 72 Ukrainians set up utility bills when moving into homes via Offer a Home Scheme and provided information and advice on local clubs and facilities in the area.

This stable accommodation model, supported by the community response forum, agencies and the local community, has provided safety and stability for families and children who had to flee from their homes due to war.

Chief Executive, Joan Martin explained: ‘The right thing to do in this unprecedented crisis was to provide and prioritise relatively stable, sustainable accommodation rather than relying on the hospitality sector, and in doing so offer the best possible outcome to those fleeing war as well as to the communities in which they find themselves’.

Sea Louth

Louth's scenic seafood trail, Sea Louth, was shortlisted in the ‘Supporting Tourism’ category of the Excellence in Local Government awards 2023. Launched just over two years ago, it has been hugely successful in attracting hundreds of visitors to the county, and encouraging local people to explore all the county has to offer.

Sea Louth aims to increase inward tourism and economic development, build tourism footfall and entice visitors to spend more time in Louth.

The aim of the trail is to utilize the 70km coast line from Drogheda to Omeath, encompassing the rich, quality seafood and Artisan food producer offerings, the maritime heritage cultural assets and the history of seafood in many of the towns and villages across County Louth .

It is the first project in Ireland to combine a seafood tourist trail, and a passport to collect stamps. Participants can collect a passport in Carlingford, Dundalk or Drogheda Tourist offices or order it online. They then follow the trail to take in 14 scenic viewpoints, visit at least 2 of the 40+ participating restaurants who have delicious fresh seafood on their menu and learn about the county’s many local producers. At each scenic view point following the trail there are stamps to be collected to fill the passport, and when full, participants can claim a memento of the trail.

Louth County Council’s Local Economic Development team have worked with Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland to promote the Sea Louth scenic trail both nationally and internationally.

The initiative is co funded by the Irish Government and European Union under the Fisheries Local Action Group for the North East Funding Region. Ongoing financial support is provided by Louth County Council.

Chief Executive, Joan Martin added: ‘It is wonderful to see the Sea Louth scenic trail, first launched during the Covid pandemic in 2021, become such an enduring success in attracting visitors and locals alike, and now being shortlisted for such a prestigious award.’

The Excellence in Local Government Award winners will be announced at the 20th annual ceremony on 23rd of November at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Northwood, Santry. Awards will be presented for excellence in the fifteen different categories and one Local Authority will be awarded the overall award and named Local Authority of the Year 2023.

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