LAST week Shannon Town Council awarded a civic reception to the Shannon Order of Malta in recognition of their 40 years of work, while the 2012 Community Grants were allocated and the Liosta na Laochra award winners for 2012 honoured.
Liosta na Laochra is a scheme that honours outstanding achievements by local people. Mayor Michael Fleming paid tribute to all who were nominated for the awards and said, “It’s a pity that one or two were missed out on. It’s not down to Shannon Town Council it’s up to people to make a nomination to the council and then we look at it. Unfortunately, there were one or two missed this year but hopefully we’ll get back on top of it next year.”
Five of this year’s winners are members of the Shannon Meteors Trampoline Club, Jonas Landrock, Callum Minter, Cillian McMullen, Shannon Minter and Caoimhe Garrett, all of whom were winners at the All-Ireland Trampoline Championships.
Athlete Karl Fitzmaurice was honoured after winning a number of medals during the year, while Aodán Fox of the Shannon Musical Society was also honoured, having won the best comedian award at the Association of Irish Musical Societies Awards. Josh Lees was honoured for being the winner of the All-Ireland Beat Boxing Competition.
Speaking about the Order of Malta, Mayor Fleming said their civic honour is richly deserved. “The Order of Malta was set up in 1972, when it was known as the Knights of Malta. The unit was established as there was a need identified for the provision of an ambulance service in the growing community of Shannon. The ambulance has been providing first-aid cover at local events, participating in pilgrimages such as those to Knock, Lourdes and the Holy Land. It has provided first-aid training to community groups, its cadet and youth members. They have done a lot of tremendous work and, from talking to them, a lot of what they’ve done isn’t widely known. It’s a great organisation and they well and truly deserved their recognition.”
Ian Gallagher is officer in charge of the local Order of Malta unit. He said he is delighted that it had been recognised locally. “It’s lovely to get recognised by your local town and local people and it gives everyone a boost.”
He said there are a broad range of ages involved in the unit. “We’ve a nice crowd but it’s always good to get new members on board. We have a good age range. We have the cadet unit for 10 to 16-year-olds, we have people in their late teens, early 20s and 30s and 40s. We have a good age spectrum and it’s great because different people are looking to do different things and get different duties.”
Eavan Dempsey is duty officer of the unit and she said things are quite busy. “Everything we do is voluntary and most of what we do in Shannon is first aid and community based. We cover all the local duties, things like Limerick races or any of the fun runs that are on around here. We run first-aid courses, paediatric first-aid courses, courses on defibrillators and occupational first aid.
“A lot of what we do in Shannon is on the first-aid side but we also do pilgrimages to Knock and Lourdes. For us, Knock is big. We bring about 20 people with us. We send one or two to Lourdes every year and we try to bring a guest with us as well, someone who could do with a holiday for a few days.”
Sixteen community organisations were given community grants of €300 each. They are: Shannon Traditional Boat Club, Shannon Athletic Club, Shannon Handball Club, Shannon Kickboxing Club, St Senan’s Rugby Club, Dúchas na Sionna, Shannon Town United, Shannon Graveyard Maintenance Group, Shannon Musical Society, Shannon Hibernians, Shannon Boxing Club, Shannon Family Resource Centre – Men’s Shed Project, Shannon Family Resource Centre – Community Mediation Service, Shannon Olympic, Shannon Swim and Leisure Centre and Muse Productions.
Councillor Fleming said he is pleased that so many organisations are benefitting. “It’s great to see community groups get the bit of funding that they get from Shannon Town Council. It might be a small amount but it does help them to get through some part of the year and might help them to get something they need in the club.”
He urged the public to make timely nominations for the Liosta na Laochra awards and applications for the community grants in 2013. “I’d urge people to watch the papers and the advertising of the Liosta na Laochra awards and to get their nominations and applications in next year,” he concluded.