Board members, staff and supporters of Mayo Rape Crisis Centre pictured at the ceremony marking 25 years of the centre in 2019. Photo: Alison Laredo

Mayo Rape Crisis Centre celebrating 30 years supporting survivors

MAYO Rape Crisis Centre will mark three decades of providing free, confidential support in the community to survivors of sexual violence and their supporters with a spectacular night of music and song in Knockranny House Hotel, Westport, on Thursday, May 2.

Performing on the night will be the finest of Mayo musical talent, under the direction of musical supremo Catherine McGlinchey, including soprano Anne Marie Gibbons, Music West Big Band, BellaCapella, the Moy Singers, Westport Town Hall Community Choir, Killala sensation Joanne Gallagher, Sing OutWest and the High Flyers Community Orchestra. Master of ceremonies will be Midwest Radio’s Teresa O’Malley.

The event is designed to acknowledge not just the work of the centre, but, more importantly, to celebrate the many incredible stories of surviving and healing that have emerged from its doors, and to recognise the powerful progress of victims, many of whom who have overcome highly traumatic experiences to reclaim their voices and their lives.

Director of services at Mayo Rape Crisis Centre, Loretta Brosnan McDonagh, said: “This year, we mark 30 years of witnessing the stark reality of just how prevalent sexual violence is in Mayo. This event, however, is designed to give voice to the survivors of that violence, their strength, creativity and imagination, and to acknowledge the power of 'safe hands' when a victim or a supporter reaches out to a free, specialised service like Mayo Rape Crisis Centre.

“It is a privilege to support them on their journey of healing here in the community, and their dignity and power deserves to be celebrated.”

Founded in 1994 by Ruth MacNeely, Fiona Neary and Mary Diggin in response to the lack of services or support in Mayo for women who had experienced sexual violence, abuse or rape, over the past 30 years Mayo Rape Crisis Centre has since provided a free, safe, confidential and highly specialised support service at grassroots level for thousands of survivors of sexual violence and their families.

In 2023, the centre was the recipient of a prestigious Rehabcare Mayo People of the Year Award.

Coordinating the night's entertainment is local musician Catherine McGlinchey, an experienced musical director and choir leader from Westport, who has assembled a programme of well-established groups and singers, as well as new local talent to celebrate the work and achievements of Mayo Rape Crisis Centre.

About the event, Catherine said: “It is an honour to be involved in this event and to celebrate the 30 years of commitment and services provided by Mayo Rape Crisis Centre. A wonderful night of entertainment is in store, provided by talented acts from around the county.”

Chairperson of the Mayo Rape Crisis Centre board, Beverley Flynn, said: “This is an ideal time to reflect on the complex nature of the supports needed to ensure the sustainability of this essential service into the future. To meet the continuous growing demand for the service, Mayo Rape Crisis Centre is in urgent need of new, more suitable premises in the county town, and more outreach facilities in other parts of the county. Funds raised from this event will help to achieve those goals.”

Mayo Rape Crisis Centre offers free, confidential and specialised counselling support to survivors of sexual violence in Co. Mayo, and to those who support them. The centre can be contacted via freephone helpline number 1800 234 900, via email or via their website,

The centre would like to acknowledge the generosity of Knockranny House Hotel and the many other event sponsors who contributing to what is certain to be a memorable night.

Tickets for the event, priced at €25, are available now on, by visiting Mayo Rape Crisis Centre’s website at or associated social media pages.