The energy and expertise of young secondary school pupils in Co. Louth and the commitment of volunteers in Drogheda Volunteering Centre were very positive indications for the Co. Louth of the future.
This was the view of Independent MEP Marian Harkin following a two day visit to Co. Louth on Thursday and Friday, October 6th and 7th.
In addition to Clinics in Drogheda and Dundalk she participated in a number of other meetings including the chairing of the European Parliament supported ‘Europe Direct Soapbox Competition’ for secondary school pupils and visited the Drogheda Volunteer Centre. The pupils of five secondary schools participated: Coláiste Lú, Dundalk; St. Vincents, Dundalk; Our Lady’s College, Greenhills, Drogheda; St. Oliver’s, Drogheda and Drogheda Grammar School.
“I was hugely impressed with the eloquence and content of the presentations of the pupils from a range of Co. Louth colleges which indicates that very talented girls and boys are being well prepared for their futures as well rounded citizens capable of contributing in a very positive way to their communities and taking their place in the workplace of the future”, she said.
Volunteering played a very valuable role in any community and following her visit to Drogheda Volunteer Centre, the Independent MEP said that their vital work was hugely important especially when economic pressures weighed heavily on families. “The hugely important work done by volunteers and volunteering enhances social inclusion and contributes enormously to the retention of the social fabric of our communities”, she said. Under no circumstances should government cuts to the voluntary sector be contemplated, she stressed.
Following her visit to the Cuan Mhuire Centre near Newry, Marian Harkin praised the hugely valuable addiction services provided by Sister Consilio and her team. “While this unit of Cuan Mhuire is located cross border, it provides critically important treatment services for the border counties including Co. Louth”, she said
As a long-term supporter of Sister Consilio’s work she would be pressing for government support for her work and seeking at European level to have the Cuan Mhuire model adopted as best practice in the area of addiction counselling and treatment, Independent MEP Marian Harkin said.