Cashel Attendance at Annual Meeting of the Charter of European Rural Communities since 1989

Cashel had over double representation at the Charter of European Rural Communities meeting last weekend.

Whereas each delegation had ten adult and youth delegates, Cashel had in fact twenty-one representatives, plus the Town Councillors.

The list of delegates was as follows: Una O'Dwyer, Kathleen Blake, Anne Bradshaw, Joe Currivan, Seamus King, Mary Roche, Willie Joe Dwyer, Will Ryan, John Crosse, Tim Molan, Emily Kirwan, Labhaoise McKenna, Sr. Mary Walsh, Sean Murphy, Margaret King, Margaret Troy, David Coleman, Emmet Thornton, Pat Whelan, Clare Turner, Jimmy O'Neill.

This contrasted strongly with Cashel's record of attendance since the first Charter meeting in 1989.


Council |Officials

Initially attendance at the annual meeting was confined to members and officials of Cashel Urban District Council and was usually determined by what party was in control at the time. Attendance became a perk for councillors. Following the inaugural meeting at Cisse, Esch in the Netherlands hosted the 1990 get-together and Cashel was represented by Cllr Martin Browne and Tom O'Reilly, town engineer.

In 1991 at Holmegaard, Denmark Cllr Maureen O'Donoghue and Marie Kerwick, assistant Town Clerk were the representatives.

Cllr Sean Hill travelled to Troisvierges, Luxembourg in 1992.

Cllr Tom Wood travelled to Desborough, U.K., as chairman of the council in 1993. In the same year he brought a youth delegation of three students from the C.B.S., Vocational School and Presentation Convent to a youth conference in Ocana, Spain. Maribel travelled with him as interpreter. Funding for such trips was always a problem and the schools funded their delegate by holding a raffle with the prize of the trip to the winner.


More Than Council Officials

Cllr Sean McCarthy attended the 1994 meeting in Hepstedt, Germany with David Coleman and this was the first year that delegates, other than councillors and officials, attended. They were Moira McNamara, Jenny Ryan, Bridget Buckley and Margaret O'Carroll. Hepstedt was a small rural village and the lights were switched off at 11 pm. Some of the Irish delegates were later home than that and had great difficulty discovering where they were staying!

Cashel hosted the meeting in 1995.

In 1996 at Bievre, Belgium Cashel were represented by Cllrs Mattie Finnerty and Mickey Browne. The following year, 1997, Cllr Mickey Browne and David Coleman travelled to Ockelbo, Sweden for the annual meeting. In 1998 Cllrs Mattie Finnerty, Mickey Browne and Martin Browne attended Ocana, Spain.

In 1999 Cllr. Thomas Wood, who was chairman, and Cllr. Paddy Downey attended the annual meeting at Kannus, Finland. Cllr. Martin Browne attended the 2000 meeting at Bucine, Italy in place of Cllr. Dr. Sean McCarthy, who was chairman in that year. In 2001 chairman, Joe Moloney, did not attend the meeting at Kalindros, Greece, but Cashel were represented by Clrs Paddy Downey and Dr. Sean McCarthy.

In 2002 Paddy and Joan Downey and Tom and Maribel Wood attended the meeting at Samuel, Portugal Michael Doyle was chairman in 2003 when the meeting was held at Troisvierges, Luxembourg. Cashel were represented by Cllr. Paddy Downey and Seamus Maher, town clerk. In 2004 the annual meeting was held in Hepstedt, Germany. Tom Wood was chairman of the Council that year. He and Cllr Dan Dillon, plus Maribel and Una, represented Cashel. It wasn't a very successful weekend including, as it did, a stop-over at Copenhagan airport and rain most of the time in Hepstedt.

The attendance from Cashel to Esch, the Netherlands in May 2005 included Cllrs Tom Wood, Dan Dillon, Patrick Downey and Una Dillon. In 2006 at Cisse Cllrs Dan Dillon, Patrick Downey, Eddie Bennett, plus Una Dillon, Helen Kelly and Catherine Kiely attended.


Biggest Turnout

The biggest turnout to date was to Lassee, Austria in 2007 when Cllrs Dan Dillon, Patrick Downey, Eddie Bennett, plus Una Dillon, Seamus Maher, Helen Kelly, Maureen O'Grady, Jean O'Dwyer, Peggy McHugh and Catherine Kiely attended.

In 2008 at Lefkara, Cyprus Cllrs Dan Dillon, Martin Browne and Eddie Bennett, plus Una Dillon and Annette Browne were in attendance. Only two delegates. Niall Gregory and Willie Corby, attended Stary Poddvorov, Czech Republic in 2009.

There was a full attendance to Strzyzow, Poland in 2010 and the Cashel delegates gave a great account of themselves in presenting the Gold Star idea. The attendance included Cllrs Eoghan Lawrence and Bennett, plus Olivia Quinlan, Geraldine Laffey, Anne Bradshaw, Kathleen Blake, Sean Leahy, Neil Gregory, Mary T. Butler and Aoife Blake.

As can be seen from the above Cashel hasn't been great in its attendance at the annual meetings. Only twice has a delegation of 10 attended and the youth delegates (up to 27 years) have been virtually non-existent. Up to last year the inclusion of four youth members in each delegation was an aspiration but following the annual meeting at Strzyzow, it is now mandatory and funding for the Charter from Brussels is dependent on its observance. In fact a distinctive youth element in the Charter is being implemented with the appointment of a Youth Officer in each member community. Catherine Doyle is the Cashel Youth Officer.

The failure of Cashel to fulfil its obligation was noted as a presidium meeting at Stary Poddvorov in 2009. The minutes state:; 'In several member municipalities it is apparently not clear that the Charter and its meetings are not only for mayors and councillors but especially for citizens. Particularly Ireland, Slovenia and France give problems. There (again) are only very small delegations of those countries at the annual meeting . . .'

The Nationalist July 7, 2011