Presidential Skerries visit
President Higgins heaps praise on Skerries people
On a celebratory visit to Skerries, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins has honoured the dedicated volunteers of Skerries Tidy Towns and the community that supported them in their efforts in winning the National Tidy Towns competition, praising the coastal town's 'spirit of community and togetherness'.
Heaping well deserved praise on the local Tidy Towns volunteers, President Higgins said: 'To a passer by, the work of Tidy Towns volunteers may appear to consist of teams of people in high-visibility bibs picking litter or planting flowering plants. All of you involved in Tidy Towns know that it is this, but that it is also a lot more.
'It is work that involves keeping abreast of change, of environmental issues, learning about, and taking advantage of, what is unique to your own area, planning for the future and making small but important changes year on year - changes that support sustainability, help us manage our resources effectively, and promote these values in the wider community.'
The President added: 'Indeed real change requires a long term and inclusive view of what is needed to sustain a healthy and flourishing community. The Tidy Towns committee here in Skerries have chosen to believe in the power of collective action, to act in concert, and thus to make a positive difference to the life a the entire community.'
Turning to the power of volunteerism which thrives in Skerries, President Higgins said: 'Too often in this world we are given the opinion, often without asking, that our small actions, our moral and practical commitments, do not matter.
'In such a vein of cynicism, there are two different strands of thought: one being that we are all too small to make a difference; the other that small changes do not count as they will always fall short of ideals.
'Well, today we stand here to celebrate the triumph of ideas and collective endeavours over any such passivity or indifference. So let this day be an answer to any apathy or resignation, and be a celebration of those who chose to dream and to take action.'
He thanked the local volunteers and said they were the 'lifeblood of our society'.
Singling out some of the stalwarts that drive the Skerries Tidy Towns effort each year since the town started competing in 1959, President Higgins said: 'That first group of people who joined the competition had the vision, as well as the confidence, to aim to build a better Skerries, volunteering their own most precious resource, their free time, for the good of the community. Their names will be known to you, such people as Anne Doyle, Maeve McGann, Martina Grogan, Ann Duggan, Mary Conway, Maureen Byrne and Frances Owens, whose initiative we salute today.''