Over 100 people were involved in the production, which was staged in Ballina, Castlebar, Dublin and the UK, under the direction of Lavinia Gilmartin.
The Meitheal award is bestowed on a nominated community group which, in the opinion of the Judges, best espouses the meaning of “meitheal”, a group formed to work together to achieve something for the benefit of their community.
Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation was established 23 years ago when there were no specialist care services for terminally ill patients in the region. Over the years the work of the hospice has been extended not just to cancer sufferers but also to pain and symptom control in patients with other conditions such as late stage Motor Neurone, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Heart Failure. Since 1992 the Palliative Care Teams have assisted in the care of over 8,500 patients and their families.
In announcing the winners it was said, “The sterling work carried out by the foundation cannot happen without significant voluntary fund raising and this year’s Meitheal award winners took the true meaning of “Meitheal“ to heart in establishing a charity group to raise much needed money for the Mayo Roscommon Hospice.
“With a cast of 90 and many more in the background, ranging in age from 7 to over 70, and led by their wonderful director Lavinia Gilmartin, the entirely amateur members of this group have wowed audiences both here and abroad with their professionalism, talent, energy and enthusiasm and have raised an incredible €40,000 for the hospice through their efforts.
“However, as everyone involved knows, the marvellous production that “Beyond the Barricade” is, would not be so without endless hours of hard work and dedication on the part of not only the cast and director, but also many behind the scenes participants such as those involved in choreography, wardrobe, make-up, music, PR, administration, technical backup, the parents who ferried children to and from rehearsals and the numerous unsung heroes to generously put their hands in their own pockets to cover costs in order to ensure that the maximum amount of funds would be raised for the Mayo-Roscommon Hospice. Talents in many different spheres have been unveiled and the experience of being involved has been a chance for young and old in the communities of Ballina and north Mayo to develop and expand their horizons in previously unexplored ways. Life-long friendships have been forged and it is a wonderful example of the use of the arts – music, song and dance – to bring together ordinary people of all ages and backgrounds in a common purpose in order to achieve something extraordinary.”
The winners were chose by an independent panel of adjudicators made up of Tim Pat Coogan (historian ), Miriam Kavanagh, (solicitor ), and Marietta Doran (stylist ). The awars will be presented at the Mayo Association Dublin gala banquet on Saturday February 13 at Citywest Hotel, Saggart, Co Dublin.