Council honours GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghaíl

Council honours GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghaíl,

The Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, Councillor Hubert Keaney hosted a reception at County Hall on Sunday for Aogán Ó Fearghaíl, Uachtarán Cumann Lúthchleas Gael. The ceremony was hosted in advance of the official opening of the GAA Centre of Excellence in Scarden later that afternoon.

Special day

In his address, the Cathaoreach said ‘ It is a special  day for your Association, and indeed the people of Sligo.  The official opening of the Centre of Excellence in Scarden later this afternoon marks the culmination of years of outstanding endeavour by Sligo County Board and the many people who worked alongside them to make this marvellous dream a glorious reality. This development represents Croke Park’s commitment to the sharing  of resources combined with substantial funding by individual Clubs  and members in Sligo.  This infrastructure will greatly assist the coaches based in the county as they introduce children and young adults to our Gaelic culture. The fun, the friendships and the skills acquired in the new Centre and in schools throughout the County are life skills.

Capital of Volunteering

Sligo is of course the European Capital of Volunteering for 2017 and  it is very appropriate that we honour the leader of the largest  voluntary organisation in the Country today. The GAA is an  Association that has persevered, despite many challenges, primarily  because of its uncompromising adherence to a democratic system,  founded on the dedication and integrity of its volunteers. Volunteerism is in your Association’s DNA, and I would suggest to anyone seeking a model or template of volunteerism, to reflect on the history of the GAA at local or national level.  This is a proud day for the Sligo GAA family and the wider Sligo  community who celebrate this wonderful occasion with you. These are days to honour previous generations and inspire the next, a day when we pay a public tribute to the men and women who served the GAA with such distinction.

 

 

Strength of community

Secretary of the Sligo County Board Gerry O’Connor said it was important for the GAA to have role models, and this was view shared by an t-Uachtarán on a recent visit to schools in County Sligo.  He noted the significance of the recent Local Government reform, which had strengthened the power of communities and had energised them through their participation in the Public Participation Network. With over 400 voluntary groups, Sligo had one of the most progressive PPN networks in the country.

Sligo County Council Chief Executive Ciarán Hayes said the aftermath of the recent Centenary celebrations ‘was an opportune time to reflect on the role of the GAA in our society. It was interwoven into the fabric of Irish life, and imbued our citizens with a sense of place and identity. From a young age, pride of jersey, parish and school were instilled.’ The Chief Executive spoke of the development of Croke Park reflecting the maturing, inclusive Irish society, and noted that ‘the decision to open up Croke Park was an enlightened one.’  He outlined to his own family’s involvement in the GAA, and referred to a photograph that included Michael Collins, Harry Boland  and  Ciarán Hayes’ Grandfather in Croke Park.

Uachtarán Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail spoke of the importance of striking a balance between the Association’s history, heritage and values while remaining progressive and ambitious. He cited historian Diarmuid Ferriter’s comment that the GAA was the only organisation fulfilling the ideals set out in the 1916 Proclamation, and stressed the importance of ‘building bridges, not walls’ Aogán noted the relevance of the Biblical quote ‘Without a vision, the people will perish’, and said his firm belief was that ‘anything is possible when you work together as a cooperative.’

Following the reception, the guests travelled the short distance to Scarden for the official opening of the GAA Centre of Excellence.



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