independent

Sunday 19 November 2017

Balbriggan Men's Shed welcome Aussie V.I.P.

Balbriggan Men's Shed has made headlines on the other side of the world in the last week as they welcomed a very important visitor from Australia in the shape of the Governor General of the country who had visited his boss, the Queen of England at Balmoral the day before dropping in on the altogether more humble surroundings of the Men's Shed at the back of St Peter and Paul's Church.

Secretary of the Men's Shed group in Balbriggan and local co-ordinator for the national Men's Shed movement, Sean Corrigan told the Fingal Independent: 'This was the biggest thing our Men's Shed has ever been involved in.'

Mr Corrigan said the group were 'chuffed' to welcome, Australian Governor General. Sir Peter Cosgrove to the shed.

Sir Peter is patron of the Men's Shed movement in Australia and wanted to visit a typical example of a Men's Shed in Ireland while on a State Visit here where he stayed at Farmleigh House and met with President Michael D Higgins.

Balbriggan was chosen for the visit and Sir Peter was suitably impressed with what local group was up to at the old coach house behind the church that has become their shed.

Sean said: 'It was really the amount of work we do for other community groups in the area that caught his attention. We make buddy benches for local schools and grow boxes for Meals on Wheels so they can grow herbs and we have made planters for the Tidy Towns.'

Sean said that in Australia, there are 1,000 Men's Shed groups and by the end of next year, Ireland will have half that number. It took Australia 20 years to get to 1,000 groups but the concept has been taken on with such enthusiasm in Ireland that the country will reach 500 groups in just five years.

Sir Peter also took time out to meet the Men's Shed landlord, the Parish Priest, Fr Eugene Taaffe and according to Sean, he was 'full of praise for Fr Eugene. The biggest challenge for any Men's Shed is to get a space to work in. Lots of groups have the idea and the men but nowhere to work and we went through that process two years ago until Fr Eugene stepped up to the plate.'

After visiting Balbriggan, Sir Peter went to Skerries for some seafood at 'Stoop Your Head'.

Fingal Independent

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