Muintir na Tíre celebrates its 75th anniversary this year having been founded in Tipperary by John Canon Hayes in 1937. Muintir na Tíre played a pivotal role in the formation of the newly emerging Ireland since 1937 and its Community Development process of providing the building blocks for communities is as relevant today as it was in 1937. It is based on its ethos of “muintireas” or neighbourliness where communities work together for the common good.
Muintir na Tire is most concerned at the alarming increase in suicide in Ireland and there is scarcely a home that is not affected in some way or other, we in Muintir na Tire understand that countless people are caught in a financial trap as a result of the economic down turn. There are people in serious debt and fearful that their homes will be repossessed, financial institutions and others must and can be more understanding of the times that we are now living in. This is just one of the many challenges facing many people at this time. Communication’s on all sides are critical for it is in discussing our problems with relevant people and or a trusted friend that in sharing the problem, a solution to a problem can be found. The greatest danger in times like this is that a person can become depressed and think negatively. It is important that communities through Ireland be vigilant to the signs of depression and actively encourage engagement in conversation with our neighbours.Today Muintir na Tire is most active through its Community Council structure and Community Alert programme which gives it an input into most communities throughout Ireland. This is evident in the many excellent facilities that have been developed over the years such as Halls, community crèches and sports facilities. The Community Alert programme is being operated in partnership with an Garda Siochana and has in excess of 1400 community groups. The community groups each of which has an assigned Garda Liaison Officer are providing invaluable assistance to older and vulnerable people in rural Ireland.
Muintir na Tire has continually embraced change in society this is evident today as it participates in many programmes both nationally and within the European union. Recently it has embarked on an intensive community information programme with RTE to raise awareness of the impending switch over from Analogue to Digital TV and the RTE Saorveiw service.
Muintir na Tire through its Tipperary Safety project is by providing an enhanced quality of life to vulnerable householders undertaking small scale repairs to the homes of Older people utilising the services of FÁS C.E. schemes. This service has enriched the life’s of so many people, this scheme is being mirrored in many other parts of the country. The involvement with the E.U funded Ireland Wales Interreg programme known as Celtic Community Link is providing communities in South Tipperary and Waterford with resources that are creating niche services in many sectors of communities. The Knockmealdown Active Project is an example where communities on both sides of the Knockmealdown mountain range are realising the value of the asset that is around them in terms of tourism and through the provision of ancillary services are attracting additional income to the area. This programme is benefiting from the involvement of Carmarthenshire Association of Voluntary Services in Wales.
Muintir na Tire has recently announced the launch of the Home Care Safety Audit programme whereby persons will be trained in the necessary skills to ensure that Older People will and can remain in their homes for as long as practicable, therefore reducing the dependence on the scarce resources within the health sector. In a recently published report by Dr Kieran Walsh NUIG, “Social Exclusion and Ageing in Diverse Rural Communities’’. Research calls for more innovative ways to support local areas to assist and engage older people in rural society and presents recommendations in order to assist in this task and to reduce the potential for older people being excluded in rural communities. Muintir na Tire is confident that this programme and the many other activities it is involved in will continue to enhance the lives of those living in rural Ireland. Our celebrations of the 75th anniversary will be marked with a number of special events throughout Ireland in 2012.