MINISTER for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, visited a number of resource centres and youth centres throughout Tipperary this week, paying tribute to the commitment and hard work of local staff and volunteers.
The Fine Gael Minister, together with Deputy Tom Hayes TD, and Cllr Joe Brennan, began by unveiling a mosaic at the Millennium Family Resource Centre in Glengoole and met with people involved in the facility. The Minister said that the work on the Mosaic depicted “the best example of intergenerational solidarity.”
During her tour of Tipperary, the Minister met with children and young people, youth workers, community workers and volunteers involved in a number of youth facilities including the Womens Refuge, Clonmel Youth Training The Wilderness, Waterford and South Tipperary Youth Service, the Tipperary Regional Youth Centre as well as Knockanrawley Resource Centre, Spafield Resource Centre (Cashel), and the Millenium Family Resource Centre (Glengoole).
“I had a fantastic day in Tipperary where I met with people involved in an array of youth and family centred facilities.I was hugely impressed by the commitment of the staff working with families and young people throughout Tipperary and the services they offer,” said Minister Fitzgerald who also unveiled a boat designed and built by local volunteers and students in the youth training in Clonmel during her visit. She commended the volunteers in the centres and expressed admiration for those volunteers willing to give up their time and knowledge. In Tipperary Regional Youth Service the Minister presented the Quality Youth service with standard of excellence award to the Chairperson. This is the first youth service in the country to achieve this.
The Minister was presented with an organic vegetable basket by Knockanrawley Resource Centre. She was greeted in Cashel with a guard of honour by the Guides and Scouts from the local groups. The Minister’s visit to Cashel coincided with the release of the National Board for Safeguarding Children’s (NBSC) report on child safety in some dioceses and congregations of the Catholic Church. One of the congregations - the Spiritans (Holy Ghost Fathers) - runs Rockwell College near Cashel. “The information that has come out today is very disturbing. It needs to be published,” the Minister told the Tipperary Star. “Overall, what’s emerging, particularly in the Congregations, is really disturbing. It’s really upsetting to think that serial abusers were moved around. And the cultural secrecy... I think people will be very upset hearing it.”
The Minister said her visit to Tipperary gave her a chance to meet with volunteers and staff working on the ground across the County. “Nowhere is there a sector with more people committed to excellence than ours. And nowhere is there a sector with more people sharing a combined objective. From front-line social workers, through system managers, through Gardai, through NGO’s, through the child and family welfare agency, through my department all the way to the Taoiseach, we all have the same goal; providing a happy, healthy childhood to every child– a safe childhood.”
“My Department recently conducted a widereaching public consultation which will help shape the National Frameworkfor Children and Young People we are currently drafting. I was pleased with the level of engagement from parents, young people, children and those working in this sector throughout the country and would like to thank all those I met today in Tipperary who took part in this process. The Children’s Referendum, which I am currently working on, will further enhance and promote the position and importance of young people as individuals in their ownright. When we listen to what young people have to say about their experiences and challenges, we are in a much better position to devise and implement strategies that are of benefit to them. As I see it; protecting children and supporting families are simply two sides of the one coin. I believe these are complimentary goals that we can all sign up to,” added Minister Fitzgerald.