President Mary McAleese commended community groups in Mayo this week for “creating space in their lives to grow their communities”.
The President was in Breaffy House Resort on Tuesday where she met with members of An Garda Síochána and community groups who have fostered strong relationships in a bid to build a stronger, all-inclusive community. The President emphasised that if society “gets it right at the level at which people live, then the big things at national level will take care of themselves.”
She added that gaps in community leads to the disappearance of peace and she told the community workers and volunteers present that “you are the people who put worth into life and who put value into life”.
Some groups who had the opportunity to outline to the President the work they are involved in were St Anthony’s Special School, Knock Thomas and Riverdale Court Resident’s Association, the newly launched Garda Youth Action Diversion project and Mayo Intercultural Action.
But many more community groups attended the reception, from young children to senior citizens who are all striving to live in harmonious and peaceful communities.
Superintendent Eugene Brennan explained that the event came about as a result of the realisation that gardaí meet the vast majority of the public in grave and unpleasant situations. He spoke about the schools programme, Garda diversion project, their work with residents’ associations, intercultural agencies, Traveller organisations and Outwest, the gay and lesbian organisation in the west of Ireland. He said the gardaí get involved in these and other projects to nurture and develop a mutual respect between members of An Garda Síochána and the public.
President McAleese spoke of how little peace there is in the hearts of families coping with suicide or those people suffering from mental health problems. She addressed the issue of refugees and asylum seekers who come to Ireland having left behind close family members and friends, because of dreadful situations in their home countries. “We try to address all of these needs as a community, as neighbours to each other,” the President added.