Author Maeve Binchy yesterday awarded first prize to Ballingarry Parish in Co Tipperary, for its publication Ballingarry Parish Journal 2004 in a competition organised by the Bishops' Commission for Emigrants. The aim of the competition is to keep Irish emigrants informed about parish activities and local news at home. The entries, which took the publication form of newsletters, magazines and book format, were submitted from parish groups around Ireland. On choosing a winner Ms Binchy said: "Some have a lot of pictures some have a lot of home news. Some are about the present day, some are about olden times. But they all stress that where we come from is precious. I congratulate the Irish Episcopal Commission for Emigrants for its work in arranging this and thank the Commission for giving me the pleasure of reading the publications." Fr Alan Hilliard, Director of the Irish Bishop's Commission for Emigrants, said: "On behalf of the Commission I wish to thank Maeve for giving her time and expertise so selflessly to our initiative. Due to the standard of entry, Maeve had an extremely difficult job in choosing an overall winner. But she did and we thank her for her professional judgement and personal support. All entries were very well produced, thoughtful and interesting in terms of content." Fr Hilliard concluded: "The primary purpose of the Bishops' Commission for Emigrants is to serve the pastoral needs of the Irish abroad. However, we are at our best when we receive home support and so I would encourage any group involved in communicating home news to the Irish abroad to submit its publication to the IECE as part of next year's competition. New publications are particularly welcome." Source: Irish Catholic Media Office
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