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Lights to shine on Westport’s Christmas cheer

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LET THERE BE LIGHTS Hopes are high that Westport's Christmas lights will be enhanced this Christmas.

Injection of funding by Deputy Ring ensures much-needed upgrade

Áine Ryan

WHILE the coronavirus pandemic may have put a cloud over our lives as winter approaches, Westport Chamber of Commerce has confirmed that the heritage town is on course to ensure it is shining brightly with Christmas cheer this year.
The chamber had received funding from some county councillors through their GMA monies (General Municipal Allocations) as well as promises of contributions from local businesses. It has also been running an online gofundme.com campaign.
But now, the project has received a significant injection from Deputy Michael Ring.
His allocation of €40,000 comes under the remit of the Towns and Villages Renewal Scheme, with €195,000 allocated to six projects in Co Mayo with this tranche, which also saw funds go to projects in Castlebar, Ballina, Claremorris, Islandeady and Parke.
Questioning the efficacy of how revenue is allocated from county council coffers for local projects, Deputy Ring told The Mayo News: “It’s bad with all the rates that we pay in Westport, and all the income from parking charges, that we still have to get money for Christmas lights from central government, but I was delighted to deliver it.”
Welcoming Deputy Ring’s funding, Helen Gavin, President of Westport Chamber of Commerce, said she was ‘delighted about the allocation of this much-needed money, which was needed now more than ever’.
“The lights are in serious disrepair and in need of a significant investment. This money, along with welcome allocations from councillors and contributions by local businesses, along with our gofundme.com initiative, should ensure we have lighting right across the town and at the Quay this year,” she said.
Ms Gavin also confirmed there were plans afoot to hold a Christmas market that would adhere to all Covid-19 regulations.

Virtual cheer
IN another initiative, Westport Chamber of Commerce members have been inviting people to follow them on their Facebook page as they travel around the world over 28 days meeting Covies and friends of the town who haven’t been able to come home due to the pandemic.    
“This has been a tough year and we want to raise the spirits of our local community, reconnect with our international friends who have not been able to visit us this year and spread a little joy,” Gavin explained. The online chat continues until October 26 and has already attracted a wide range of presentations, from poetry and song to lots of stories and yarns.
There have already been visits to Kentucky, California, Canada, Zurich, London, Chicago, New York city, Milwaukee, the Cayman Islands, Darwin, Abu Dhabi, the Netherlands and Canada. And, to ensure the cheer means a visit back to the auld sod, the participant who receives the most likes and shares for their contribution by November 15 will win flights and accommodation to visit Westport from anywhere in the world.

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See the Westport Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.