Team Limerick Cleanup 5 – Richard Lynch, ilovelimerick (far right) pictured with the founders of Team Limerick Cleanup, JP Mc Manus, Paul O’Connell and Helen O’Donnell celebrating the 5th birthday of TLC5. Picture: Conor Owens/ilovelimerick.

Volunteers and sunshine out in force for Team Limerick Cleanup 5

The sun shone brightly on Team Limerick Cleanup 5, as a record-breaking near-21,000 volunteers took to the streets of Limerick city and county for Europe’s largest one-day tidy-up.  

Celebrating what is a milestone year for the much-loved community event, sponsor JP McManus and ambassador Paul O’Connell led the army of volunteers, who came from every town in Limerick and this year featured members of the victorious 2019 All Ireland Limerick hurling team, Munster rugby legends, community/residential groups, businesses, charities and well-known faces locally.   

Team Limerick Cleanup 5

JP Mc Manus and Paul O’Connell visited Tait House Community Enterprise for TLC5 2019. Picture: Conor Owens/ilovelimerick.

Declan Hannon, Dan Morrissey and Aaron Gillane were among the All Ireland champion hurlers to help tidy their local communities, as well as rugby referee, Joy Neville; while ahead of Munster’s huge semi-final clash with Saracens tomorrow, Heineken Cup winners Jerry Flannery and David Wallace also participated in the clean-up, which is sponsored by JP McManus Benevolent Fund and managed by Limerick City and County Council. 

Commenting on Team Limerick Cleanup 5, Paul O’Connell said; It’s amazing to break the 20,000 volunteers’ number and I’d like to thank every person who gave up their time today to help make Limerick a cleaner place. It’s been quite a journey over the past five years and Team Limerick Clean-Up has so much potential beyond just a one-day tidy-up. I’m hugely excited to see what the next five years will bring.” 

Sponsor JP McManus echoed O’Connell’s words and reflected on an amazing 12 months for Limerick city and county. “To think this time last year, we were out tidying, and Limerick hadn’t won an All-Ireland since 1973. You can really feel the extra energy and excitement about the place here today, particularly with the hurlers out in force, tooIt’s been an amazing effort by all volunteers and I extend my thanks to everybody out here today.” 

This year, Team Limerick Cleanup 5 stresses the sustainability message more than ever – prevention is the best cure when it comes to littering and looking after the community. In the lead up to today’s event, Team Limerick Clean-Up ran the ‘Design A TLC Bottle’ competition for primary schools across the county. All entries were on display at the Hunt Museum, Limerick city centre and Team Limerick Clean-Up will be pressing ahead with further sustainability initiatives in the months ahead.  

JP McManus visited several areas in Limerick to see the tidying efforts first hand, including Tait House Community Enterprise, St Munchin’s and Moyross Community Centres, and Our Lady of Lourdes.  

Team Limerick Clean-Up is an initiative sponsored by the JP McManus Benevolent Fund and supported by Limerick City and County Council. Endorsed by Paul O’Connell, the official partners include Mr Binman, the Limerick Leader, Limerick Post and Limerick Live 95. 

For more information on Team Limerick Cleanup 5 click here 

For more stories featuring Team Limerick Cleanup, click here 

Pictured at the VTOS Limerick 2019 open day is style queen Celia Holman Lee along with artists from across Limerick. Picture: Conor Owens/ilovelimerick.

VTOS Open Day 2019 helps long-term unemployed return to full-time education

By ilovelimerick correspondent Chloe Reidy

The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme Limerick Open Day 2019 was a great success for Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board at the Further Education and Training Centre, Kilmallock Road Campus. The open day took place on Thursday, April 11, from 11 am to 2.30 pm and was part of the Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival 2019.

The open day was a big success, with visitors and prospective learners having the opportunity to visit information stands and hear about the courses on offer at the centre.

Patricia Kennedy, the coordinator of VTOS tells me, “The day was such a great opportunity for the public to visit and see what courses that we have on offer. We have brilliant facilities and the staff are wonderful, and dedicated to supporting the students.”

Events that took place on the day included the Portrait Artist Festival, The Irish Revolution 1919-1922 and ‘What is Social Enterprise?’.

Jayne Foley who teaches the Art, Craft, Design class said, ‘The Portrait Artist Festival gave students of the Art, Craft, Design class and members of the public an opportunity to create a portrait of Irish model, fashion stylist and television presenter, Celia Holman Lee. Celia was so much fun and so enthusiastic and kind to the artists. What a lady!”

Celia said of the event, ‘I’m delighted to have the opportunity to take part in such a wonderful event that encourages lifelong learning. I believe we never stop learning and should always strive to learn and grow to the best of our abilities, so to be able to contribute in this small way is a great privilege’.

The Irish Revolution 1919 – 1922 lecture was a discussion about the Civil War, in honour of its 100th anniversary held by historian Frank Noonan.

The last event ‘What is Social Enterprise?’, gave local social entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet one another and speak about how to make a positive social impact on our society.

Earlier that week, on Tuesday, April 9, VTOS Limerick held an Intercultural Day for others to experience the great diversity of cultures at the Kilmallock Road Campus, with global food stands, tribal drumming and plenty of music on offer.

The VTOS Open Day 2019 was a chance for the Further Education and Training Centre to show to the public what courses they have on offer. The centre offers both the Junior and Leaving Certificates, with nine subjects to choose from for the Leaving Certificate, which is studied over the course of one year, instead of typically two. Other courses on offer, are Career Pathways, English for Work, Retail Sales, Healthcare Support, Office Administration, all ranging from QQI Major Award Levels 3-5.

VTOS is designed to help long-term unemployed return to full-time education without losing their social welfare benefits. VTOS will help participants make the transition back into paid employment or back to further education and eventually leading to paid employment. Participants will make new friends; acquire valuable education qualifications in an adult friendly environment.

The centre also provides many other benefits, which include, books and equipment being supplied, assistance with the cost of childcare/creche, examination fees paid for, free parking on campus, state of the art facilities and meal and travel allowance, including a direct bus to the city centre.

The Lifelong Learning Festival ran from April 8 -14 and is the culmination of work by various partners in promoting learning for all ages throughout the Limerick region in what is promised to be a week of fun and engaging activities, which are free and open to everyone.

For more information on VTOS Limerick, go here.

For more stories on VTOS Limerick, go here.

 

Richard Lynch, ilovelimerick with Jp McManus, Paul O’Connell, Helen O’Donnell and Senator Maria Byrne at the People’s Park for Team Limerick Clean Up 4 which took place on Friday, March 30. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Over 18,500 volunteers join forces for Team Limerick Clean Up 4

Paul O’Connell and JP McManus visit communities across Limerick to help with mass tidy-up

A record-breaking 18,500 volunteers have participated in Team Limerick CleanUp 4, Ireland’s largest one-day tidy-up. Across hundreds of locations around Limerick city and county, teams of schoolchildren, businesses, residential groups, Tidy Towns and sports clubs have come together today (Good Friday, March 30) to give their community a Spring Clean and make Limerick the tidiest and cleanest place in the country.

With an increase of 2,000 volunteers from 2017’s event, the clean-up was launched by sponsor JP McManus and ambassador Paul O’Connell at the People’s Park, Limerick, this morning. Ex-Munster and Ireland rugby captain O’Connell, who has led the cleaning charge since its inception in 2015, said he was delighted with the record turnout across the county.

“It’s amazing to see such a community effort from the people of Limerick, with everybody coming together to help make their neighbourhoods and surrounding areas as tidy as possible. What started out as a small local initiative has become an annual fixture on Good Friday where people from every pocket of Limerick are now getting involved” he said.

Team Limerick Clean-Up (TLC) is an initiative sponsored by the JP McManus Benevolent Fund and administered by Limerick City and County Council. Endorsed by Paul O’Connell, the official partners include Mr. Binman, The Limerick Leader, and Limerick’s Live 95FM. Participants this year included current and ex-Munster rugby players Keith Earls, David Wallace and Jerry Flannery.

Team Limerick Clean Up

J.P. McManus, Richard Lynch, and Paul O Connell pictured at Team Limerick Clean Up 4. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

 

It is estimated that over 70 tonnes of litter were collected last year by the event partner, Mr. Binman, something that sponsor JP McManus is very proud of.

“I’d like to thank each and every volunteer who has given some of their time on what is a very cold day. This is an annual event that is very close to my heart and I’m delighted to see participation numbers continuing to grow, year on year,” said Mr. McManus, when he spoke about Team Limerick Clean Up 4.

As part of the clean-up effort by Tait House Community Enterprise Centre, they held their first ever ‘Trash Fashion’ event at Roxboro Road. Participants created a design or dress up using recycled, sustainable, eco-friendly art materials, which was judged by members of the community.

Following the mass clean-up around Limerick, tea and coffee gatherings for volunteers, neighbours, and friends were hosted at over 300 locations throughout the county. These took place in homes, community and sports centres and schools, where participants celebrated their tidy neighbourhoods.

 

For more stories on Team Limerick Clean Up click here

For more information on Team Limerick Clean Up click here

Thomond Community College Multicultural

Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018 – Richard Lynch pictured with students and Principal Eugene O Brien. Picture: Ciara Maria Hayes/ilovelimerick

Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018

Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018 was held Friday, March 9 and there were plenty of colourful photo opportunities available with participating students in national costume. Richard Lynch was honoured to be the Master of Ceremonies again for the sixth consecutive year. Previously, the event was held at the Salesians School before it closed two years ago and every year the event is organised by an amazing teacher named Siobhan Conway.

Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018 was a hugely worthwhile, inclusive event, which gave each and every student the opportunity to showcase their home nation and educate their fellow students. To see the pride of students in their native traditions and language is just wonderful. So many students can truly find a voice through this event and all in attendance, students, staff, parents, and guests, learned so much – it truly is an education for all. The day created a real opportunity to celebrate both diversity and integration.

Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018

At the Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018, Richard pictured with teacher and organiser Siobhan Conway, Sr. Bridget O’Connell and Principal Eugene O’Brien (back) and pupils Merit Amadasun, Aisha Garba and Temera Odhomor, all aged 15 from Nigeria (front). Picture: Ciara Maria Hayes/ilovelimerick.

Countries that were showcased at Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018 include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Lithuania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Morroco, South Africa, Poland, Nigeria, The Congo, The USA, and Syria to name just a few! Each country had a visual display of all that makes their individual cultures unique and interesting, including fun facts, history and weather information. Many of the students also wore traditional costumes for the day. Delicious food, prepared and cooked by the students and their families, further reflected the intercultural theme.

An afternoon of international music and dance attended by the whole school, brought the celebrations to an end. The afternoon’s acts featured members of the Rusangano Family as part of Music Generation Limerick, student singing group ‘Sister Act’ from Nigeria and rapper Victor Hogan Poole to name a few. There was also some Irish dancing and African drumming.

Being close to St. Patrick’s Day, the event was seen as an appropriate time to hold Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2018 and give a well-deserved forum to the citizens of the new Ireland, and a real opportunity to share heritage. This is a unique event across the schools of the Limerick-Clare E.T.B., and indeed further afield, attracting praise from Limerick migrant rights organisation Doras Luimni over the years. This initiative was running for almost 10 years in Salesian Secondary School and was called Salesians Multicultural Day – Integration through Education. Following amalgamation and the establishment of Thomond Community College in September 2016, there was no hesitation in continuing with an event of such enormous popularity and previous success.

Students from local national schools also attended on the day, as did the Mayor of Limerick and RTE filmed at the event earlier in the day. At a time when it was never more important to demonstrate leadership in integration it really is a worthwhile initiative.

 

To read about last years Multicultural Day at Thomond Community College click here.

To read more about Multicultural events in Limerick click here.

To visit the school website go here

Pictured at Limerick Person of the Year awards, Luke Culhane, Limerick Person of the Year 2016, Richard who won Limerick Person of the Year in 2011, Sister Helen Culhane, Limerick Person of the Year 2017 and Celia Holman Lee who was a Lifetime Achievement Winner in 2014. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Children’s Grief Centre founder Sr Helen Culhane named Limerick Person of the Year 2017

The founder of a local support service which has helped more than a 1,000 children affected by loss through death, separation or divorce, has been named Limerick Person of the Year 2017.

Sr Helen Culhane, Limerick Person of the Year 2017 received the top honour for her dedication and commitment to providing grieving children and young people with a place and space where they are given the opportunity to examine feelings associated with loss, and learn that they are not alone.

Sr Helen Culhane, Limerick Person of the Year 2017 founded the Children’s Grief Centre in 2009 which sees around 30 children a week, aged four to 18 years. Seventy percent of the children who attend have separated parents while 30 per cent have suffered a bereavement.

In total, there are approximately 30 volunteers attached to the centre. The volunteers include a retired career guidance teacher, a play therapist, psychologist, psychotherapist, and an art therapist.

Her work had seen her selected as the January 2017 Limerick Person of the Month and her work stood out among the judging panel.

Accepting her award Sr Helen Culhane, Limerick Person of the Year 2017, said: “I’m shocked to be quite honest and very humbled to receive this award.  Thanks to everyone of you and to all those who organised the event today.”

“The work that I’m involved with, we see it as very important work as we are supporting children who are impacted by loss due to bereavement, separation, and divorce, and if by winning this award it draws attention to that [work], it will be a goal achieved.”

Limerick Person of the Year 2017

Sr Helen Culhane, Limerick person of the year with Michael Noonan TD, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

At the gala event at the Clayton Hotel in Limerick, former Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD was also honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Now in its 17th year and sponsored by The Limerick Leader, Southern Marketing Design & Media and the Clayton Hotel, the Limerick Person of the Year Award was set up to honour the achievements and success of local people.

Eugene Phelan, Editor of the Limerick Leader said: “There is fantastic diversity among the 12 monthly award winners from Diana Mirza, a world chess champion to Joy Neville, voted the number one rugby referee in the world.”

“All strands of life are covered from the local garda who put his life on the line to save others, to a young entrepreneur, whose invention may improve efficiency in hospitals all around the world, to a young solicitor based in Dublin, who is flying the flag for Limerick through the Capital Limerick project.”

“These are just ordinary people doing extraordinary things and who have during 2017 made Limerick a much better place.”

Limerick Person of the Year 2017

All the Limerick Person of the Year nominees pictured with Mayor Stephen Keary, Micheal Noonan TD and the organisers of the event after the announcement of Sr. Helen Culhanes win. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Stephen Keary said: “Congratulations to Sr Helen Culhane and Michael Noonan on receiving their awards today.  Through your work, although in different spheres, you have always shown a commitment to help Limerick, in your own particular way, and we are all reaping the benefits. I would also like to congratulate all the other monthly recipients for their hard work and dedication in promoting Limerick.”

Former Minister Michael Noonan has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work down through the years as a government minister and a public representative for the area.

Speaking after he received the Lifetime Achievement Award Deputy Michael Noonan said: “I’m emotional after all those beautiful tributes paid by everybody. This is a great honour, I would like to thank all the sponsors in conferring this honour on me today. You can get honoured in many parts of the world on occasions but to be honoured in one’s home city is very important.”

“It would be fairer if this was a group award because a lot of the achievements in Limerick over the last seven years are the work of many people.  What I was good at was identifying ideas that might work and implementing them.”

Pat Reddan, General Manager, Clayton Limerick Hotel said: “We are delighted to sponsor such an event that showcases the very best of Limerick and the people who call it home, they truly are all inspirational.”

Congratulating all nominees, Dave O’Hora of Southern Marketing Design & Media said: “Each of the nominees have in their own way made an outstanding contribution to the cultural, sporting, business and community scene in Limerick, today Limerick celebrates and it should.”

The ceremony also included a tribute to the late Dolores O’Riordan by Lorcan Murray followed by a breathtaking performance of The Cranberries’ ‘When You’re Gone’ by Singer Emma Langford.

Past winners of the title include ilovelimerick’s Richard Lynch, philanthropist JP McManus, world champion boxer Andy Lee, rugby stars Paul O’Connell and Tony Ward, and anti-bullying campaigner Luke Culhane.

This year’s Limerick Person of the Year judging panel consisted of Eugene Phelan, Editor of the Limerick Leader, Conn Murray, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council and Cllr. Stephen Keary, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick.

For more information on the Children’s Grief Centre, go here.

For more stories on Limerick Person of the Year, go here.

Gold Medal for Adare in this year’s Limerick Going for Gold 2017 – Adare was awarded the top prize of €10,000, with €7,000 and €5,000 being presented to Abbeyfeale (2nd) and South Limerick City (3rd) respectively.

Gold Medal for Adare in this year’s Adare Limerick Going for Gold 2017

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Jordan Mac Cormaic

There were jubilant celebrations in The Strand Hotel, Limerick last night as Adare claimed the top prize in Limerick Going for Gold 2017.

Limerick Going for Gold 2017, which is sponsored by the JP McManus Charitable Foundation, has a total prize pool of over €75,000.

It is organised by Limerick City and County Council and supported by Limerick’s Live 95FM, The Limerick Leader and The Limerick Chronicle, The Limerick Post, Parkway Shopping Centre, I Love Limerick and Southern Marketing Media & Design.

A total of twelve communities made the final of the Limerick Going for Gold Challenge Category before the winners were announced at the grand finale, attended by hundreds of people from communities across Limerick city and county.

Prizes were also awarded in six other Going for Gold categories.

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Stephen Keary congratulated the participating communities for helping to ensure that Limerick Going for Gold 2017 continued to be a tremendous success.

“Limerick Going for Gold’s mission is to make Limerick a brighter, better, cleaner place to live, work and visit and every community who participated in this year’s event must be congratulated on the amazing job you have done once again.”

“It never ceases to amaze me how a shared sense of community spirit among people can help to transform an area.  It is clear that Going for Gold has also helped to complement, consolidate and add value to the council’s involvement and engagement with the broader community sector in Limerick.”

The Challenge Category final was made up of 12 groups from across Limerick.

Finalists were chosen by popular vote on Limerick’s Live 95FM over a five-week period.

The popular vote finalists were Athea, Castleconnell, Galbally, Hospital and Oola.  They were joined by wildcard finalists Abbeyfeale, Adare, Croom, Foynes, Kilfinane, Moyross, South Limerick City who were selected by the Limerick Going for Gold Judges Richard Barry (Tidy Towns Chair Tallanstown Co Louth) and Jimmy Feane (retired Director of Service, Limerick City and County Council).

Adare was awarded the top prize of €10,000, with €7,000 and €5,000 being presented to Abbeyfeale (2nd) and South Limerick City (3rd) respectively.

The other placed finalists were Oola and Croom (4th – €3,000/ 5th – €2,000).

The remaining groups were commended and received €1,000 each.

Head of the Adare Limerick Going for Gold 2017 team George Stack said of the win: “This means everything to everyone in Adare, it’s something that everyone in the community has helped with in various ways.”

He continued: “I’m so pleased for all of the marvellous people that have given their time and effort to keep Adare in tip-top shape.”

Limerick Gong for Gold 2017

Head of the Adare Limerick Going for Gold 2017 team George Stack said of the win: “This means everything to everyone in Adare, it’s something that everyone in the community has helped with in various ways.”

Going for Gold 2017 Limerick in Bloom was won by Kilteely (€5,000) with runners-up Patrickswell getting €3,000.  In third place was Croagh (€2,000).

The following groups were highly commended and each received an award of €1000 – Ardpatrick, Athea, Broadford, Bruff, Caherconlish, Galbally, Kilmallock, and Newcastle West.

Prizes were also awarded to Tidy Towns groups based on their Tidy Towns score.

The Overall most improved across Limerick was Kilcornan (€2,000).

The Overall most improved in each Municipal District will be awarded €1,000 each and they were Abbeyfeale, Glenroe, Gouldavoher and Rathkeale.

The overall winner of the Residential Area Category (€2,000) was presented to Caherdavin with Monaleeen Park in 2nd place (€1,500) and Cappamore Estates in 3rd place (€1,000).

The following areas received highly commended (€500) – Mill Road, Croom Estates, Grange, Glenbrook, Glendale & Glendale Lawn, Castletroy View, Gouldavoher, Carraballawn, Carriglea, Drominbeg, Slugaire, Woodlawn, Verdant, Carriglea.

The Grange in Raheen received the award for Best Newcomer (€500).

Endeavour Awards of between €500 and €1,000 were presented Limerick Fairtrade Committee, Limerick Youth Service Centre, Southill Tidy Towns Group and Westfields Wetlands to encourage and/ or support ongoing work on the environment.

In recognition of National Reuse Month the Limerick Going for Gold Reuse Award went to the UL Environmental Committee for their repair and repurpose initiative of on-campus laptops, macs and smartphones, and to Our Lady of Lourdes for their Food Waste Prevention Project.

The Garden Competition Category was sponsored by the Parkway Shopping Centre and featured a prize fund of €1,000 in shopping vouchers.

Roger Beck from the Parkway Shopping Centre presented prizes to John and Ita Carroll, Castlemahon (1st), Frank Costelloe, Askeaton (2nd) and Robert O’Byrne, Kennedy Park (3rd).

In a new departure for 2017, the Limerick Going for Gold judges awarded a Judges’ Award trophy to The Bake House, Bruff, Tait House, Southill, Leen’s Hotel, Abbeyfeale, The Bridges in Croom and the Stryker Roundabout, Raheen.

The #Loveyourlimerick Photographic Competition was won by John McCarthy, for his depiction of a day in the life of Kilteely and Fiona Quinn for capturing a moment many of us will have seen along the quays in Limerick city.

Speaking at the event Noel Earlie from the JP McManus Charitable Foundation said: “It was considered important that recognition be given to community groups, in whatever form they take, for their contribution to the environment.  They’re role models for all of us, leading by example.  Congratulations to all the communities involved.  Your efforts are paying off.”

To visit the official website for Limerick Going for Gold click here

To read more Going for Gold stories on I Love Limerick click here

Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017 is huge success with inspirational youth pride of place

Richard Lynch, PRO Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017, Cllr Vivienne Crowley, Deputy Mayor of Limerick pictured with some the inspirational young people who form the Youth Advisory Panel on the LGBT Youth Strategy at the Limerick LGBT Pride Parade 2017. Picture: Álex Ricöller/ilovelimerick

This year the focus of Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017 was youth with inspirational young people taking pride of place in the celebrations. The Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017 Grand Marshals were the incredible young people who form the Youth Advisory Panel on the LGBTI Youth Strategy. This strategy is the first of its kind in the world focusing on the needs of LGBT young people in Ireland. The young people came from all over Ireland to represent the youth strategy team. Seven members of the group travelled to Limerick to take part in the LGBTI Pride Parade as Grand Marshals.

The young people were delighted to be involved in Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017. The group were keen to focus on gender recognition. During their speech at Pride Fest following the parade, one member of the group said “In this country, if you are under 16 you can’t be legally recognised for your gender. If you are between 16 and 17 you can but you have to go through loopholes. Right now we are trying to fix that so that everybody can have legal gender recognition”.

The amazing young people spoke candidly at Pride Fest with another member saying “When we were talking to young people while doing our consultations we found out that some of the words we use all the time in our community are not words that everybody knows. When I say my pronouns are she/her that means that is how I would like to be addressed, when people use those pronouns with me that is them respecting me”.

The aim of the group is to develop a strategy which addresses the challenges and needs faced by young members of Ireland’s LGBTI community and will work with young people from all over the country to do so. The strategy will ensure that all young LGBTI young people can achieve their full potential in terms of their physical and mental well-being, being safe and protected from harm and are respected and contributing to their world.

Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017

Pictured Glenn Keating, Belong To (bottom left) pictured with some the inspirational young people who form the Youth Advisory Panel on the LGBT Youth Strategy at the Limerick LGBT Pride Parade 2017. Picture: Álex Ricöller/ilovelimerick

Members of the group also spoke about their experience of being involved in the strategy and what it means to them “I am lucky I live in Dublin it’s a very friendly and open environment but other areas of Ireland are not like that and those are the people that I am trying to help. Those people who are younger than me and who will grow up after me deserve to be represented”.

The group were passionate about their work and one member spoke about the inclusion of the I for intersex in LGBTI. “I stands for intersex, an intersex person is someone who was born with ambiguous genitalia or chromosomes. That means that they are not classed with what would traditionally be a male or female body. Often these babies have surgery to make them ‘normal’ and we would like to put a stop to that with our involvement in this strategy”.

Overall, Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017 was a huge success with events running throughout the week. The main celebrations took place on Saturday with the Parade, Pride Fest at performances at Dolan’s. The parade saw hundreds of people line the streets of Limerick to celebrate Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017. This was followed by a huge Pride Fest held at the Hunt Museum which featured performances from legendary drag queen Shyanne O’Shea, Unity Gospel Choir Limerick amongst others. Saturday night saw Dolan’s filled with Pride as they hosted the Pride Climax party.

X Factor star Saara Alto took to the stage and gave a dazzling performance. Other performances on the night came from Limerick native Doreen Grimes, Shyanne O’Shea, Madonna Lucia and Paul Ryder.

Richard Lynch, PRO Limerick LGBTI+ Pride 2017 said “People have been asking now that Marriage Equality has been passed in Ireland, why is there a need for a Pride Festival? There will always be a need as long as others in the global LGBTQ community are not as fortunate as us in terms of equal rights. We must fight for our brothers and sisters throughout the world and take a stand for human rights for all. That’s why our theme this year is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBTQ) Youth. It was an event supporting LGBTQ young people in Limerick and beyond and we want Pride to be an inclusive, open and integrated event welcoming all people regardless of their sexual or gender orientation, religion or race.

For more on Limerick LGBTI Pride 2017 click here

For more on the LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy click here

Celia Holman Lee Fights Homelessness with Focus Ireland

Focus Ireland Ambassador Celia Holman Lee joins the fight against Homelessness

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Jordan Mac Cormaic

Limerick’s Celia Holman Lee has given her backing to the fight against homelessness with the news that she has been unveiled as an ambassador for Focus Ireland.

The well-known model, fashion stylist and television presenter is supporting the Focus Ireland efforts locally in Limerick, and nationally, as the homelessness crisis worsens.

Next year, 2018 will mark twenty years of Focus Ireland service provision in Limerick City and County, and now more than ever Celia is urging local people to get behind the efforts.

Focus Ireland Ambassador Celia Holman Lee said: “I am so honoured to become an ambassador for Focus Ireland as thanks to them there is a clear end in sight for the trauma of homelessness that Irish families are currently going through each day.

“It breaks my heart to see that the number of homeless children has continued to rise and to be given an opportunity to shine a light on this crisis is something that I feel very passionate about.

“I am a mother and a grandmother and my family means more to me than anything else in the world.”

She added: “We have to protect these families and ensure that all children in this country feel safe and secure.”

The impact which Focus Ireland has made on the people of Limerick was borne out by a recent study which outlined the difference a youth housing project made in the city.

It changed the lives of young people who were homeless or at risk, and the project has been so successful that leading international experts believe it should be introduced nationally.

Despite the best efforts of many, Limerick is one of the most economically disadvantaged cities in Ireland.

Recent evidence suggests that its position has declined further relative to other cities since the recession.

 

Focus Ireland Ambassador Celia Holman Lee

Celia Holman Lee, Focus Ireland Ambassador, Richard Lynch, I Love Limerick and Rebecca Reynolds, Focus Ireland. Picture: Michael O’Sullivan.

This environment has, in turn, increased the difficulties faces by many of those Focus Ireland assists in seeking housing, employment and other supports.Focus Ireland’s Limerick Manager Ger Spillane has witnessed first-hand the impact of the soaring cost of rent coupled with a shortage of supply, locally.

Mr Spillane said: “Focus Ireland knows through our work that seeking advice and information as early as possible can really help to prevent people from losing their home.”

“To have someone as committed and high-profile as Celia Holman Lee supporting our efforts means a lot in terms of raising awareness of the issues, and helping us to fund our services.”

Mr Spillane said: “Our frontline staff here are still dealing with people who have become homeless from the rental sector as rents have been hiked up and they can’t afford them.

“There needs to a much wider range of Government actions taken to keep protect tenants and keep them in their homes.”

The charity said the Government really has to kick-start the building of homes and follow through on delivering a more secure private rented sector if Ireland is to end the deepening crisis in the rental housing and homelessness areas.

Ger Spillane added: “Having Celia on board helps Focus Ireland to raise vital funds and awareness of the fact that the housing crisis is continuing to deepen.”

He concluded: “An average of 80 families has become homeless every month so far this year, compared with 60 a month last year. The crisis is worsening.”

Focus Ireland said it aims to play its own key role in overcoming the crisis – for people who are homeless or at risk- as the charity aims to double its housing stock over the next four years.

The charity currently provides homes for over 600 households around the country who were previously homeless or at risk.

To visit the official website for Focus Ireland Ambassador Celia Holman Lee click here

To visit the official website for Focus Ireland click here

To read more Focus Ireland stories on I Love Limerick click here