Westport is to become the first Fairtrade town in Connaught - Political Quote

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Monday, December 4, 2006

Westport is to become the first Fairtrade town in Connaught

Westport is to become the first Fairtrade town in Connaught and joins the Fairtrade city of Galway in leading the way for other towns in the region. The announcement was made on Friday that Westport will receive its official Fairtrade status this week piping Castlebar to the post by just over a week.

Westport’s Fairtrade Steering Committee was established in early 2005 with the aim of making achieving Fairtrade status for the town. The committee members are Edel Hackett, Mary Walsh, Roisin Moran, Sue Minish, Brian Quinn, Cllr Keith Martin, Gemma Hennesy, Sheila O’Donnell and BrĂ­d McAuley.

Last Friday committee member Mary Walsh received a written confirmation for Fairtrade Ireland that Westport had met all the required conditions and would now be conferred with the Fairtrade town status.

At last week’s council meeting I expressed grateful thanks to the people of Westport, Westport Town Council and the businesses and shoppers of the town for their support of the Fairtrade ideal. I said that the councillors' unanimous support for the proposal and the support of the council’s staff had made a huge difference to their campaign.

Ever since we established the Steering committee we have been out and about spreading the word about Fairtrade and what it means for farmers and producers in the developing world. When we started in 2005 with a tea and coffee morning after church in Carrowbeg House we never dreamed that we would get such support and that people would embrace the idea so quickly. We owe a lot to the shoppers of Westport who made the switch to Fairtrade tea, coffee, bananas, wine, chocolate and the whole range of projects. We are also grateful to the shops, cafes, restaurants, schools, businesses and organisations which made the switch over to the Fairtrade mark. The children of Westport in particular took the Fairtrade project to heart.

The Fairtrade committee are planning a celebratory tea and coffee morning for the New Year and also hope to have a ceremony to mark the town’s achievement towards the end of January.

In order to achieve the status of Fairtrade Town for Westport the town had to accomplish the following.
A local steering group is convened to ensure continued commitment to its Fairtrade Town status.
The Town Council passes a resolution supporting Fairtrade, and agrees to serve Fairtrade coffee and tea in the office and at all its meetings and continues to support the Fairtrade Mark.
A range of FAIRTRADE Mark products are available in the Town’s shops, supermarkets, local cafes, restaurants, and hotels.
FAIRTRADE Mark products are used by a Flagship business as well as 12 other local businesses and organisations.
This had to include schools, churches, large offices and local voluntary groups.
The group attracts media coverage and popular support for the campaign. A significant number of schools become Fairtrade Schools. They use the Civil Social and Political Education pack on Fairtrade for secondary schools and the Alive 2008 programme for Primary Schools.

Fairtrade is a better deal, a ‘fair’ deal for producers and workers in developing countries. Any product carrying the distinctive Fairtrade logo is guaranteed to have paid the farmer a fair price for his product, ensuring they were not exploited. You will be giving farmers in developing nations a fair day’s wage and the chance to improve the conditions for their families and communities, and isn’t that what we all ultimately want for ourselves?

Fairtrade Westport has a website at http://www.fairtradewestport.com/

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