We Love Our Town

Diarmuid_Gavin 2

A meeting took place on November 20th in Clanna Gael Fontenoy about an Area Action Plan for the Ringsend and Irishtown area. Clanna Gael Fontenoy has been involved in discussions over the past year with a number of people with whom they have developed relationships over a long period.

Following on from these discussions, they then approached Diarmuid Gavin (pictured) who is an Irish garden designer and television personality. Diarmuid hosts a TV series called Dirty Old Towns on RTÉ where he motivates the community to turn their much-loved town into something special.

Diarmuid led these campaigns to give Ireland’s neglected spots their pride of place back – not with money, not with the government, but with action from the people living there.

In attendance at the meeting was Diarmuid, his colleague, architect Felim Dunne, Padraic White – founding member of the Irish Development Authority and Chairman of the Northside Partnership Programme for 15 years, Fachtna O’Ceallaigh from Clanna Gael Fontenoy, Shay Connolly from Clanna Gael Fontenoy and members from the community.

Shay started the meeting welcoming the people who attended and Diarmuid introduced himself and Felim. “I have known Felim who is an architect, and have worked with him. I came up with this idea and business plan for another session called We Love Our Town.

It’s basically doing what we did on Dirty Old Towns on a commercial basis. It’s about bringing the local factory and local big businesses in to take care of their corporate social responsibility by linking them with their communities and working to plan your initiatives. If you’re interested, we would like to listen and we would like to know what the community really needs, what the community is like and then we would like to bring that to some of the big companies and see if we could work together and make something happen,” explained Diarmuid.

A discussion was then led across the floor to thrash out what exactly the community want and need. Shay started the talk: “There are no major IT skills provisions in this area and if local IT companies have jobs and have to import people to do them, then why couldn’t we come up with some workshop programme under education with all the local principals to up-skill 10 kids from second-level education allowing Google to employ them down the road.”

This was only one idea, other members mentioned derelict buildings that needed attention and the elderly people in the area that need to be looked after and the possibility of building a garden for them in Ringsend Park.

Some other thoughts were to tidy up the town and to rebrand Ringsend. One person suggested looking at what’s not in the area and why these young people are slipping through the net. There were many people who spoke about what the youth need, that there is nothing for them to do and what, as a community they can create for them.

Diarmuid took one last opportunity to ask everyone to spread the word in the area and to get others involved. “I think we should try to find a day to bring this together and maybe have one of those mini-workshops and I think that should be very soon.”

A meeting open to all will take place Monday, December 9th in Clanna Gael Fontenoy at 7.30pm.

By Donna Dunne