Issue No. 27 | January 2024

South West Mayo Development Company CLG

Empowering Communities - Enriching Lives

In the Loop Newsletter

New: Gráinne Uaile statue in Newport has been revealed!

Thank you to the Newport Business Association, the statue of Grace O’Malley (Gráinne Uaile) was unveiled in Newport. Nano O’Malley, the O’Malley Clan Chieftain, was among the attendees. The installation of both Graces’ statues, Grace O’Malley and Grace Kelly, was commissioned to promote Newport as “The Town of the Two Graces” with HSH Prince Albert of Monaco unveiling the Grace Kelly statue last March.

The project received significant funding under the LEADER programme, with the support of Sue O’Toole Senior LEADER Project Officer and Majella Mulchrone, LEADER Finance Administrator. Thank you also to Thomas Fitzpatrick, SWMDC Chairperson who also attended this important community event.

SWMDC welcomes MEP Chris MacManus to Newport Offices

SWMDC was delighted to welcome MEP Chris MacManus to our head office in January 2024 to discuss our work, including those programmes with a European funding element. MEP MacManus was joined by Rose Conway Walsh TD and local election Sinn Féin candidate, Karen Gallagher.

The meeting started with an excellent discussion on our ongoing work with migrant communities living in Mayo, and extended to include significant European-funded programmes such as SICAP, LEADER and AMIF.

Following the meeting, MEP MacManus visited Burrishoole Community Centre, where he met Ger McNulty (Vice-Chairperson) who showed him around their impressive new facility, which received €300,000 in LEADER funding.

The Mayo Careers Fair 2024: Empowering Students & Local Business

The Mayo Careers Fair 2024 was a huge success, providing attendees with valuable information and access to a broad range of opportunities. With apprenticeships to internships, graduate programs, and full-time roles, the fair had something for everyone. Students and families were able to explore career options, while local businesses had the chance to showcase their opportunities and engage with potential candidates. It’s an excellent platform that highlights the various career paths and educational opportunities available in our region.

The fair was held at ATU Mayo with stands arranged by industry and company. Attendees had a chance to speak with representatives from a variety of businesses, including emergency services, finance, digital media, healthcare, business, marketing, technology, and more. In addition to networking opportunities, there were also informative panels and discussions throughout the day, which covered a range of relevant topics.

Thank you to our SICAP staff (Anne-Marie Carroll & Olivia Kitterick) and Board member Donna Hyland, who represented SWMDC on the day.

Photos: Alison Laredo Photography

WRDATF and SMART Recovery: Providing Support in 2024

The Western Region Drug and Alcohol Task Force is committed to providing individuals in 2024 with the knowledge and awareness of drugs and alcohol in our community.

They offer a variety of informative training opportunities throughout the year that are designed to help individuals understand the complexities of addiction and the road to recovery. By visiting the link, you can find out more about the task force’s upcoming training sessions.

In addition to the training opportunities, the task force recognises that individuals may need extra support during their recovery journey. SMART Recovery, a support group dedicated to providing peer support and resources for individuals struggling with addiction.

SMART Recovery offers regular meetings in Castlebar, Roscommon Town, and Monksland, providing a safe and supportive environment for individuals to discuss their experiences and receive guidance. For more information on SMART Recovery and their meetings, visit

Remember, you are not alone in your journey towards recovery and support is always here for you if you or someone you know needs it!

Living Well Programme 2024

The Living Well Programme is up and running for 2024 and available to people living in Mayo, Galway, and Roscommon. The programme

  • This is a free group programme which runs in person or online for 6 weeks. There is one workshop each week which lasts 2.5 hours.
  • Two trained leaders run the workshops and at least one of the leaders lives with a long-term health condition.
  • The workshops are delivered in a relaxed and friendly way so that all participants can learn from each other. You can also share experiences of living with your condition.
  • Each person who takes part gets a book about self-management.

Some dates have been set for 2024 as follows:

Date: Tuesday 30 January 2024 to Tuesday 5 March 2024

Time: 7pm – 9.30pm

Location: Online – evening

Date: Friday 9 February 2024 to Friday 15 March 2024

Time: 10.30am – 1pm

Location: Westport, County Mayo (Westport Leisure Park)

Date: Wednesday 28 February 2024 to Wednesday 3 April 2024

Time: 10.30am – 1pm

Location: Kilkelly, County Mayo (New Community Centre)

For information on upcoming programmes please contact:

Contact: Fiona Cunnane

Phone: 087 718 5615


If these dates and locations don’t suit you, don’t worry! We have Living Well Programmes running throughout the year across counties Mayo, Galway and Roscommon, so please get in touch to register your interest.

Community Futures all set for 2024!

Ballinrobe’s Community Futures Plan is ready to launch this year, while Clare Island and Tourmakeady have successfully renewed their plans.

Killasser and Irishtown are the two new communities ready to embark on the process of creating their own Community Futures plans (a bottom-up, community-led process that gives all members of a community the opportunity to feed into a community action plan for development).

We’re also currently recruiting Community Support Workers who can commit 40 days over six months, including evenings and occasional weekends, and must have a full driving license.

Please contact: Geraldine for more details.

Social Farming Awards

Social Farming Ireland awarded certification to participants in Ballinasloe, Co.Galway. Social Farming brings together farmers and people in need of support, creating mutually beneficial relationships. The ceremony celebrated this initiative, with host farmers Blathnaid and Niall Gallagher paying tribute to the participants. Social Farming provides an opportunity to experience the joys of rural life, learn new skills, and build confidence. As it continues to grow, more people are experiencing its benefits and rewards. The social farming team is looking forward to enriching and supporting individuals lives further in 2024.

Staff Updates for January 2024:

Sue O’Toole: Senior LEADER Project Officer has concluded her time with SWMDC in January 2024. Sue worked with SWMDC for 22 years and made a significant contribution to the success of our various LEADER programmes. During her years with SWMDC, Sue also successfully supported our SICAP programme work for some time. We wish Sue every success in her new role with the Climate Action Regional Office (CARO) based in Mayo County Council.

Natalya Pestova: AMIF Direct Provision Support Officer is changing her role to work as Family Support Practitioner from 1st January 2024.

Galyna Marusych: SICAP Ukrainian Support Worker is progressing her role to work as Family Support Practitioner from 1st January 2024.

Ade Adeniji: started with SWMDC as Migrant Peer Health Support Worker in January. We wish Ade every success in his new role in County Mayo.


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