Annual gala dinner celebrates local links and work with Lesotho
Action Ireland Trust hosted its annual gala dinner in The Grand Hotel in Malahide where more than 250 people attend the wonderful evening.
MC for the night was the brilliant Marty Whelan who brought his won brand of humour and fun to proceedings.
The event took a look back over the year and highlighted the organisations activities at home here in Ireland and in Lesotho.
One of the highlights mentioned was the joint celebrations of Action Ireland Trust volunteers and students from Portmarnock Community School joining students and community leaders from Lesotho at Thabab Bisou to celebrate The Kingdom of Lesotho independence from Britain and Ireland's 100th celebration of 1916.
The event was attended by his majesty king Letsie III who spoke about Lesotho's unique and special relationship with Ireland.
The event also acknowledged the work of Fingal County Council and Portmarnock Community School mapping project and the fact that it is very much to fore and in line with the UN's drive to gather data to achieve 'The Sustainable Development Goals'.
The project has to date generated 17 million edits and delivered important information on soil erosion, forestation, land use, population densities etc.
Action Ireland Trust chairperson Niall FitzGerald recalled the success of students from Portmarnock CS in Young Social Innovators, The Sage World Cup in Manila and BT Young Scientist with the mapping project.
And this very week the students will present their work to the Minister of Education Richard Bruton at a special event in CHQ.
The gathering was also reminded of the fact that Action Ireland Trust won 'Best Not For Profit Award' from Fingal Chamber Busienss Excellence and Corporate Social Responsibility Awards in 2016.
Chairperson Niall FitzGerald announced the project plan for the construction of an Early Childhood Development Centre at Hlalele which will see the completion of their project 'From Cradle To Career' at Hlalele.
The programme is now commencing in 12 more locations across Lesotho.
The event acknowledged the support of The Kingdom of Lesotho embassy and its ambassador HE Paramenet Phaamotse.
His excellency will return to Lesotho with his family in March when his term comes to a close. His Excellency was presented with painting by Fingal artist Simone Walsh entitled 'The Heart of Fingal'.
His Excellency spoke fondly of his time in Ireland and in particular the support received by his country from the people of Fingal.
He also welcomed the Irish Government's appointed of Manette Rammiel, former ambassador to Ireland as Ireland's Diplomatic Counsellor in Maseru and hoped that this would be a step for the reopening of The Irish Embassy in Maseru.
The event saw Jenny Healy win the star prize of the night, a four night stay in New York, for two St Patrick's weekend with hotel accommodation and return flights. This prize was sponsored by Donabate Travel. The event saw the support of local political representatives Darragh O'Brien TD and opposition spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Allen Farrell TD and councillor Brian McDonagh representing Fingal CC.