Clare man Martin Donnelly recognised by Newry & Mourne Council

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Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Newry and Armagh MLA Conor Murphy, Deputy Mayor of Newry & Mourne Cllr Geraldine Donnelly. Martin Donnelly, Mayor of Newry & Mourne Cllr Charlie Casey, Christy Ryan (Clare) and Joe Kernan pictured at the Newry and Mourne Civic Awards Night

Newry and Mourne Council held its annual Civic Awards Night in the Newry Arts Centre. People from throughout the district were recognised by the Council for what Newry and Mourne Mayor Cllr Charlie Casey described as their extraordinary achievements and commitment to their communities. Martin Donnelly a native of Cooraclare County Clare became only the third person from outside the Newry and Mourne area to be civically recognised by the Council. Speaking about Marin Mayor Charlie Casey thanked him on behalf of the area for his promotion of Newry and Mourne locally, nationally and internationally, adding “all it must be said done in a quiet and committed way.” He continued, “His association with Boxing, Cycling, Camogie, Handball and in particular An Poc Fada Craobh na hÉireann, the unique all Ireland GAA Hurling event means that he is a familiar face to many sportsmen and women and spectators throughout Newry and Mourne. Over the years his involvements in these prestigious events have ensured the positive profiling of the area and that many visitors have come to stay here. For instance for last years All Ireland Poc Fada Hurling Contest which takes place in the Cooley mountains and is organised by a joint working group from this area and Louth, over 100 visitors stayed in various accommodations in both areas.” Martin has been involved with An Poc Fada for the past16 years and the contest has attracted not only the hurling stars of the GAA but international media such as SKY, BBC TV, Radio 5 Live , TransWorld Sport, The Boston Globe and many others. It has proved a wonderful opportunity to showcase this entire area and we have reaped many benefits from it. One of those was that in 2009 over fifty visitors from Milwaukee Hurling Club USA spent four days staying in Newry and Mourne. The main catalyst behind this visit was Martin Donnelly who encouraged the group to come north for the first time ever. Martin a regular visitor to Milwaukee had become involved with the Hurling Club there and introduced them to Councillor Geraldine Donnelly and Pat McGinn. Martin made a commitment that he would encourage them to spend time in the north of Ireland and the Newry and Mourne area in particular. Thanks to his help, the willingness of Milwaukee Hurling Club, the local Craobh Rua Hurling Club, the Canal Court and Carrickdale Hotels and the support of our Council, that happened. Since the initial visit in 2009 quite a few of those families and their friends have returned to here and areas in the rest of Ireland. The M Donnelly logo is at the forefront of many huge and historic occasions but Martin himself is a humble person who is more comfortable sitting in the background and letting others get on with it. He is also a very caring person and has been deeply involved in raising monies for many worthy charities here in Newry and Mourne and throughout this island. Most recently his sponsorship and practical advice and support ensured that the Cuan Mhuire Cycle of Hope from Malin Head to Mizen Head raised over 20,000 pounds for addiction services. Amongst those in attendance at the event were current Ulster Senior Football manager Joe Kernan, and Newry & Mourne MP Conor Murphy MLA. Both congratulated Martin and all the other recipients for their achievements. Newry & Armagh MP Conor Murphy MLA congratulating Martin said “Martin is well known and respected throughout this area. Over the years those of us who have got to know him have been impressed by his commitment and passion. His involvement in An Poc Fada Craobh na hÉireann has not only raised the profile of the All Ireland Hurling Contest but has brought many benefits to the Ring of Gullion locality“ through positive publicity and added visitors.” He continued, “Martin was also instrumental in bringing the game of hurling to Stormont as he was a leading drive behind the Stromont Poc Fada which saw top hurlers and people from all traditions participate in a day of gaelic games and fun at the Stormont Estate.”
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