As you may know, it was 14 years since I lost my seat in Dáil Éireann before I was re-elected in February 2011. So it was of great interest to me to be invited by TURAS to the presentation of certificates to their participating students.
What made my visit so special was that the presentation of certificates was being done by my old friend Mr Tony McCarthy, and the opening remarks at the start of the proceeding was made by another “old friend” Fr. Pat Carolan.
On my way into the Shelton Hotel in Ballyfermot, I was met by a young woman who thanked me for coming and showed me to the room where the presentations were to begin. We had a short conversation and I reminded her that about 14 years ago when I was last a T.D., Tony Mc Carthy and I were called to the project in the industrial estate on Tyrconnell Road. The project was in its infancy, but was being opposed by local residents who were then picketing outside the building. Amazingly this young woman told me that she remembered it very well, as she herself was on that picket line, now she is working on the project herself for the past six years and loves her work!
When we as politicians are convinced of the correctness of our approach, we sometimes have to remain firm in the face of opposition. There were difficult years of trying to convince residents groups of the benefits to their communities of providing services to those who wish to break out of substance abuse. The young woman's response bears witness to the strength of those beliefs and our correct decision to stand firm.
So to Tony Mc Carthy and Fr. Carolan, you will see in the photos below the wonderful results of the hard decisions we took 14 years ago, and we can feel proud in observing the tremendous work of all the agencies and staff but particularly the participants who are rebuilding their lives.
TURAS the Canal Communities Training Programme, Old Naas Road, Bluebell, Dublin 12. http://www.canalcommunitiesldtf.ie/
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