The presidential motorcade was greeted by hundreds of flag waving children from the Holy Family National School last Tuesday morning in Newport as it turned up towards Cuan Modh Day Care. After passing under a banner that traversed the Main Street welcoming the President to the town, showcasing the pride the town had in welcoming Ireland’s first citizen to their town. The community sprit that was shown by the locals was echoed and welcomed by President McAleese when she spoke at the official opening of the centre, where she remarked on the hard work and commitment put in by all the locality in getting the centre off the ground from an idea to the facility it is today.
Taking care of your own
She told the crowd that greeted her, “It’s great to see us celebrate our senior citizens this way, because it’s something we don’t see a lot. It’s great to see that people have given so much to this project, and busy people who are busy with their own lives and work and family, yet they still gave up so much time for a project like this.”
The work and dedication put in by the committed members and the local fundraisers, received special praise from the President. “To see that this has sprung up from nothing to this after a lot of hard work by the people in the area is wonderful to see,” she said. “This isn’t going to be on CNN or Sky News, but this is a project that deserves to get exposure for the community and the hard work that went in to it.”
Communities taking care of their own and not forgetting the elderly is an important thing and something that the President was grateful to see. “This is people helping people and ensuring that we are looking out for one another, especially those who are lonely and are vulnerable, particularly our elderly who may be a bit more frail and not as quick on their feet as they used to be, as we get older we all get vulnerable,” she said. “So it is important that we all are given time to show our skills and lean new skills and to have company on life’s journey and its up and downs. It is fantastic to see that this place was built by the people of Newport, every single bit of it done by people who did not have to do it, you have done something phenomenal here.”
A long road to fulfilment of an idea
Before the President addressed the opening, Dr Brian Lennon, chairperson of the organising committee, paid tribute to all those who had given so much in getting the centre up and running. “The first major stumbling block we had was acquiring a site and we were very grateful that the Sisters of Mercy donated this site to us up here and to Western Care who had a long term lease on the site, but gladly handed it over to us. There are many many people to thank who worked on this project, all the different Government departments from Minster Noel Ahern, Minster Ó Cuív, Clár and many groups who gave us funding along the way. Most of all I want to thank the people of Newport who have been so good to us with fundraising over the years. The hard working members of the committee who were fantastically dedicated.
Dr Lennon also thanked the President for taking time out of her busy schedule to come to Newport and open the centre. “I’d like to thank President Mary McAleese, who by coming here today, it says wonders about her character as she fitted in what in the grand scheme of things is a small project but still came along to us today.”