Ideals of volunteerism celebrated as Co Council honours ICA and Community Alert
The centenary of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Community Alert initiative to safeguard rural areas, undertaken by Muintir na Tíre and the Gardai, were marked by Monaghan Co Council at a civic reception which took place in Monaghan Town’s Hillgrove Hotel on Tuesday evening.
The National President of the ICA, Ann Marie Dennison, was among an attendance which also included Vice-President of the Monaghan ICA Federation Patricia Cavanagh and representatives of guilds from throughout the county; National Community Alert Co-ordinator Liam Kelly, leading officers of the Garda Siochana in the Monaghan area and members of the various Community Alert Groups established in Co Monaghan.
Presentations of framed scrolls were made to each of the 25 Community Alert organisations and 15 ICA guilds from the county by the Mayor of Co Monaghan Jackie Crowe, who praised the contribution of both bodies to effecting positive social change in local communities.
Mayor Crowe extolled the work of the ICA in tackling issues that affected women’s lives, and described the organisation as being instrumental in bringing about many changes, especially to rural Ireland.
He congratulated the volunteer members of the Community Alert Groups throughout the county and the Garda Liaison Officers who worked with them on their tireless work to reduce crime in rural areas and to improve the quality of life for vulnerable people, especially senior citizens.
Monaghan’s Acting Co Manager David Fallon praised the very important work carried out by the ICA, Community Alert and the Gardai, which he said exemplified the need in the current difficult times for Ireland to go back to basics and fall back on its strengths and its roots in local communities.
National Community Alert Co-ordinator Liam Kelly spoke of the genesis of his organisation at a time in the mid-1980s when vulnerable people in rural areas were being targeted by criminal gangs, and described how the work of the local groups had expanded to encompass a strong social dimension which focused on the care of the elderly and the combating of rural isolation.
The function was told by National President Ann Marie Dennison that the ICA in its centenary year was reflecting upon the work and reminding themselves of the achievements and milestones in their history, those moments when they had made a difference to the social and economic fabric of Ireland.
However, she pointed out, the Association was also in the process of reinventing itself, identifying issues of relevance for the future and ensuring that they continued to be an important organisation for women as they progressed into the 21st century.
Vice-President of Monaghan ICA Federation Patricia Cavanagh said that the guilds of the county were honoured and very much appreciative that Monaghan Co Council had afforded them a civic reception. “It is a wonderful achievement for any organisation to celebrate 100 years of continuous service to the women and the communities of Ireland,” she stated.
(A full report and further photographic coverage of Tuesday evening’s event will be carried in our next edition.)