‘Louth and Proud’ was the motto all the way when the ‘Pride of Place’ judges came to visit on the 15th August 2017.
The competition, organised by Co-operation Ireland, and sponsored by IPB Insurance, serves to recognise and acknowledge exceptional community spirit around the island of Ireland. Nowhere was this community spirit more evident, than in the four centres nominated by Louth County Council for these awards this year.
Where else could there be a more shining example of community involvement than in the ‘Maria Goretti Respite Centre’, in Lordship, where the judges arrived bright and early on Tuesday morning. By their own admission, the judges were ‘humbled’ to be in the presence of such an amazing facility, run by an incredible team of people. As Mr. Seamus Kirk, former Ceann Comhairle and TD for Louth, who is one of the trustees, explained, “This outstanding facility was the brainchild of the late Mr. John Hanlon. It was his vision of a respite centre for children with disabilities, which was realised through the philanthropy of the local community, including the late Mrs. Monica Mc Dermott, who donated the site. Providing high quality care for children with disabilities is the priority of centre, and we are all very proud to be a part of it.” Indeed Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick TD, who also attended, explained that this centre has captured the imagination of the whole county and the annual ‘Fitzer’s 5k’ is just one of the initiatives that contributes to its ongoing success. The Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council, Cllr. Colm Markey, who accompanied the judges on their tour, expressed his gratitude and respect for all those who made this dream a reality, including the Hanlon family, and all those who fundraise on a continuous basis, to ensure that such high quality care can be provided for the most important people of all, the children. His comments were echoed by the Cathaoirleach of the Dundalk Municipal District Area, Cllr. John Mc Gahon, who also attended this special occasion. Cllr. Mc Gahon commended the organisers on their latest addition to the facility, the incredible Sensory garden, which also had its official opening on the day.
It is wonderful to get the opportunity to showcase all that Co Louth has to offer and hopefully their efforts will be suitably rewarded at the awards ceremony in the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny on Saturday 2nd December 2017.