LookWest.ie has been named Best e-Government Website in the Irish Internet Association’s annual awards programme. The Western Development Commission (WDC) won the award over other category finalists South Dublin County Council, University of Limerick, Mayo County Council and the Dublin Institute of Technology. Winners were announced at a ceremony in Dublin on Thursday May 20th.
A key reason for winning the award was for the role LookWest.ie plays in enhanced interaction between government services and the general public. The award is also recognition of the success of LookWest.ie in promoting the benefits and economic advantages of the West of Ireland. The website engages with an online international audience as well as being a valuable online resource for people living in the region and in other parts of Ireland. It is used by almost 20,000 people every month.
Speaking after the announcement Joanne Grehan of the WDC said: “We are absolutely delighted and I think it is particularly rewarding for LookWest.ie to be recognised in such a prestigious category and among such esteemed competition. The website was launched in 2004 and is the definitive online guide to living, working and doing business in Ireland’s Western Region. It is a one stop shop providing information about a range of topics from incubation units for new business to our skills register (http://www.lookwest.ie/skills-register) where people record their skills and experience to create a profile of the talent, qualifications and expertise available in the West. This profile of talent and experience is an important tool in attracting inward investment to the region. In times of economic constraint and job losses, it is more important than ever to continually communicate the benefits, innovation and creativity of Ireland’s Western Region so that we are well positioned to take advantage of economic recovery and LookWest.ie is critical in doing this.”
Mr. Pat Carey, T.D, Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs said: “I would like to congratulate the WDC on winning this award. LookWest.ie plays a key role in the WDC’s work of delivering balanced regional development. A strong and vibrant Western Region is good for the people in the region but also for the national economy as it is important that all regions maximise their full potential for economic and social development.”
Ms Grehan added: “I’d like to make a special acknowledgment of the designer of LookWest.ie, Jeff Kay of JDK Design in Tubbercurry, County Sligo. Originally from Lancashire, Jeff is a real LookWest.ie success story. He and his wife moved to Tubbercurry to set up their business and they have never looked back. It’s an added bonus that the website was designed and created by a West of Ireland company as it demonstrates the incredible depth of creativity that the West is known for. The WDC is a strong advocate of the importance of the creative sector as it is a major economic contributor to the region that we believe can be grown significantly, even in difficult economic times.”
Jeff sums up his experience of running a business in the West as: “My experience of doing business in the West has been very rewarding and I am very confident about the future of design in the region. Companies and organisations are increasingly appreciating that design services are integral to how they can differentiate themselves from their competitors. On the personal side, we are now part of the community in the West; there is a lot of warmth and generosity here. Life has never been busier for us, but at the end of the day, the beautiful scenery, fresh air and peaceful home calms the mind, adding to our life and job satisfaction. Our children couldn’t be brought up in a nicer area and we have never looked back!”
Winners of the Net Visionary Awards were based on votes from a group of industry expert judges as well as votes from the public. The judging panel included the Irish Internet Association, the digital division of The Irish Times and the Internet Marketing Unit of Enterprise Ireland, amongst others.
Ms Grehan thanked the Irish Internet Association who organised the awards, the judges and the people of the Western Region who voted to ensure that the West of Ireland came out on top. “It is a fantastic achievement for the West to win this prestigious award,” she said.
For further information please contact:
Joanne Grehan, Western Development Commission, 086 856 5802
Angela Bane, Bane Mullarkey, 087 286 5217