Strong start for Castlepollard Town Team

Twenty one out of 26 places on the new Castlepollard Town Team were filled at a well-attended and vibrant meeting in the Castle Varagh Hotel last Thursday evening.

Attendees decided to have 17 sectors represented on the team and put forward representatives to each sector.

The sectors chosen and the nominees put forward were: Community and Voluntary – Rachel Cassin; Environment/Climate Action and Biodiversity – Jack O’Sullivan and Siobhan Kinahan; Social Inclusion/Age Friendly – Shane Mulraney and Rosaleen Madden; Religious – Very Rev Patrick Moore, PP, Castlepollard; Education – Donie Cassidy and Lesley Fay; Sports – Alfie Devine; Tidy Towns – Carol Hayden; Residents Associations – Frances Coffey; Youth and Children – Ann Molloy and Catriona Higgins; Arts and Culture – Mariia Golubieva; Tourism – Enda Moynagh; Heritage and Conservation – Cliff Gurren; Disability – Trevor Hewitt; Local Development Association – Noel Kinahan and Stephen O’Brien; Business/Commercial/Social Enterprise – Joy Kennedy.

Patricia McKenna was selected as the New Communities representative in the interim, until someone is identified to represent that group. Vacancies on the Community/Voluntary, Business, Residents Association, Agriculture/Transport and Heritage and Conservation sectors will be filled in the coming weeks. It was the decision of the meeting to add Disability and Children to the list of sectors proposed.

Donie Cassidy suggested that Castlepollard Community College, with 375 students, and Castlepollard Hurling and Camogie Clubs, with 282 members, should have two representatives each on the team because “they are very representative of the town and community”.

That suggestion was opposed by Rachel Cassin, who said that “if bigger groups have more representatives, the power will be vested where it always has been and new groups will be on the back foot from the get-go”. Mr Cassidy’s proposal was defeated by a show of hands.

Pat Murtagh from Westmeath Community Development pointed out that the representatives on the Town Team represent a sector. It is the job of the representatives to engage with and report back to all the groups in their sector, not just one. He warned that there is a lot of work involved; it’s not just a matter of turning up for a meeting on Wednesday nights and then heading home to watch Coronation Street.

Annette Barr Jordan, Westmeath Community Development, added that it was vital to select the right person, not the nicest person.

Those people have to bring all the views forward, even if they do not agree with them themselves. She said that not all sectors might be represented in the list agreed and other sectors may need to be added in the future.

Anyone who was not selected to go on the Town Team can join a working group that will feed in to the team. Mr Murtagh said that if there are others that should be involved, they can be put forward and Westmeath Community Development will contact them.

He told the gathering that WCD would be working with the community to form a constitution and talking to them about their role and the role of working groups. Officers will be elected.

Castlepollard Youth Club

An announcement was made at the meeting that a Castlepollard Youth Club is ready to run.

Eileen McArdle of Youth Work Ireland Midlands said an information night will be held on Tuesday February 20, at 7pm in the Castle Varagh Hotel to set up the club.

She explained that the club was about to start when Covid struck and the ground work has already been done. She will help and advise the new club on induction, planning, insurance, garda vetting, available funding and other matters.

Young people from fourth class to transition year and their parents, guardians and interested adults are invited to attend the meeting.

For more information, contact Eileen on 086 3294763 or email This initiative is backed by the Castlepollard Local Development Association.

Also in attendance at the meeting from Westmeath County Council were Jason McCormack, administrative officer, regeneration, Margaret Egan, community development, Tracy Grennan, staff officer, and Geraldine Cassidy, assistant staff officer.