Mayo is still open for business, and also remains a great tourist location - those will be two of the key messages from a major gathering of the Mayo Diaspora in the county in May.
Leading figures from the Mayo Diaspora around the globe are set to descend on the old county for the world Mayo convention on the weekend of May 27th-29th.
‘Power by Land and Sea - a Future for our People' is the theme of the convention in Westport, which Mayo county manager Peter Hynes described as "a great opportunity to send out a positive message about Mayo."
He said: "Internationally, Ireland is getting what could be described as a bad press right now. We met with Fáilte Ireland officials in New York recently to promote Mayo abroad, and they were adamant that the message needs to get out that Ireland is not one dark, depressed place right now.
"There is no ignoring the fact that the country has been going through a difficult time economically, but we want people to realise that all the things that make Mayo beautiful and memorable are still in place.
"The scenery is still unrivalled. The friendliness of the people has not diminished, and it's still a wonderful place to visit or to do business in."
The Mayo Convention will highlight Mayo's enormous potential as a generator of wind and wave power.
"Mayo has been chosen as a National Test Site for wave power, which is a great boost for the county, and this illustrates that significant developments are still taking place here. The fact that Mayo delegates from all over the world are set to come home and discuss the county's future reflects the innate resilience that characterises Mayo people."
President Mary McAleese will perform the official opening on Saturday morning, May 28th, and all workshop sessions on that day are open to members of the public.
Michael Burke, Cathaoirleach of Mayo county council, said that the Mayo convention "will play a significant part in boosting local morale in 2011."
He added: "We need to stay positive and upbeat. There are good things happenings - for example, Fáilte Ireland are including Mayo in a major promotion in the United States of America this year, and I am confident that will help to boost tourist numbers.
"This is still one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Europe, and we should never lose our appreciation of that fact."
A spokesperson for the world Mayo convention said "the love of Mayo is a common bond for all involved. This will be our eleventh Mayo convention, and perhaps there has never been a more important one, given the need to promote the county in light of the deterioration of the Irish economy."
More details on the Convention will be revealed over the coming weeks, and updates will also be provided at this link: www.mayoassociationdublin.com/worldconvention.htm. A Mayo Associations Worldwide Convention event has also been opened on Facebook.com.
About the Mayo Worldwide Convention
This is the eleventh worldwide Mayo Convention
The first one was held in 1990 in Westport, Co. Mayo
Conventions have also been held in Westport, Ballina, Castlebar, Manchester, Toronto, Buenos Aires, Boston, and Philadelphia
Mayo Associations Worldwide Convention, Westport, Co. Mayo (27-29 May 2011)