As part of Roscommon’s contribution to the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme Roscommon County Council recently hosted the Roscommon Reunion Banquet, which brought together the county’s Town Twinning Partners, Roscommon Associations and Societies at home and abroad as well representatives of many community groups throughout the county.
Picture Credit: Glynn’s Photography, Castlerea
In opening the event Roscommon County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Paddy Kilduff said that in this very special centenary year the Council and County Steering Committee were very determined to extend the invitation to this function to the many groups, associations and organisations in County Roscommon who have played such an important role in ensuring the success of Roscommon’s Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.
“Our ambition for the Roscommon Ireland 2016 programme was to draw inspiration from the ideals of 1916, the seven programme strands, the Proclamation, and the events of that time. We wanted to develop and create a range of events ensuring widespread participation, which is why the Centenary Diaspora Programme is being held also at this time, as we wanted to include our overseas connections in events of this period in Roscommon so that we all have an opportunity to participate.”
He acknowledged and thanked the attendees for the role they play in ensuring that the local links with our connections abroad are supported. “Looking at the range of events taking place this year, we can, I feel be very proud that together we have created a programme that will leave, we hope, a lasting impression for people. This evening is about thanking you all for your efforts, your contribution to the programme right across the community development, the arts, tourism, culture, history, heritage and business at very local level in each of your communities.”
Richie Farrell, County Librarian and member of the Steering Group spoke on the Centenary programme said that “I think that in a programme that has taken us to all parts of County Roscommon from Keadue to Taughmaconnel, from Boyle to Ballinlough, Strokesrown, Elphin, Ballyleague, Castlecoote to Castlerea, Dysart to Derryglad and indeed all points in between, and also though the schools programme we have made every effort to ensure that the community participation in this Centenary programme is fulfilled. In the words of Michael O’Reilly, Community Engagement Officer with the National Ireland 2016 Project Office the County Roscommon Plan was one of the most comprehensive and coherent plans produced.”
Mr. Farrell also spoke specifically about the Roscommon Reunion and thanked the attendees for their efforts in bring the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme of events to their localities “As I look out over the room this evening I have come to a greater understanding of what the term “social capital” and “ cultural capital” mean. Really the strength of the network of communities and groups who make such a difference when it comes to compiling programmes such as this and when you consider that much of this is done largely on a voluntary basis you get the idea of peoples belief a sense of place, sense of pride and value in the work.
Back in 1968, the late US Senator Robert Kennedy said that GNP measures everything ‘except that which makes life worthwhile’. A society is more than an economy and your collective efforts for all of this particular programme are real testimony, I feel, to that spirit which has been so evident of the year.”