Clarecare Celebrates 50 years!

Congrats to all involved in the celebration of Clarecare’s golden jubilee in Glór on Thursday, September 27th.

Photos courtesy of John Kelly Photography

Address of Fr. Ger Nash, chairperson of the board below.

A Uachtarán Michéal agus do bhean chéile uasal Sabina,is mór an phléisiúr dom agus cuireann sé áthas an domhan orm, mar Chathaoirleach ar Bhord Clarecare, agus ar son baill an bhoird fáilte Uí Cheallaigh a chur romhaibh inniu ag an ceiliúradh órga seo, leath-chéad bliain ó bunaíodh an eagraíocht shuntasach seo.

In a special way, Uachtarán we are delighted that you are with us this evening in your role as First Citizen, to acknowledge the thread of caring that joins communities and generations and that was begun and sustained through the years by the commitment and enthusiasm of ordinary people.

I have a little image that I use in my own work. I heard an expert on trees encouraging people to plant trees. He finished his talk with the phrase “There are two right times to plant a tree, one is fifty years ago and the other is today”. That story carries a message that is deeper than planting trees. It reminds us that when we lament what might have been done, we are powerless but when we recognise that in our present moment of life and exactly as we are now we are in the best place to begin a new adventure. When County Manager Joe Boland, whom we are truly honoured to have with us this evening and the late Bishop Michael Harty put their heads together over 50 years ago, they were not looking backward or lamenting what had not been done in the past. They knew that they were living their “today” and if they did not plant, the opportunity would be lost. They planted and today many families and individuals in Clare rest in the renewing and restful shade of the mighty tree that Clarecare has become. They sowed the seed but quickly energy began to flow from around the County as people recognised that this organisation would draw from but also deepen and strengthen the sense of meitheal, the sense of cabhair – the great Irish words that were very much part of the vocabulary of this County 50 years ago. People came as local committee members, as members of the Board, as treasurers and secretaries, as home helps and foster parents and each brought their own skill and enthusiasm to the business of helping their neighbour. Their definition of neighbour was not geographical – the house next door, but spiritual – anybody who needs my help no matter where they live. Some gave month’s, some gave years and indeed there are people here who have been giving in each of the 5 decades that Clarecare has existed. Tonight we acknowledge their sowing and their tilling and on behalf of those who cannot, we say thank you.  I want to acknowledge my predecessors as Managers or Directors as they were known then. Fr Brendan O’Donoghue who was delegated by Bishop Harty at the beginning, then Fr Brian Geoghegan who nurtured the organisation through its building years and Fr Pat Sexton who carried on the good work and established strong relationships with the growing state organisations in his time. We are delighted that all of them, in great health are here with us this evening. Many great public servants worked closely with Clarecare down the years and continue to do so in a very productive relationship for the people of Clare. In particular, I want to acknowledge the work of Jackie Browne who was the key person for many years in Clarecare’s relationship with the Mid Western Health Board and later the HSE.

As we celebrate the Golden Jubilee, we are thankful for the opportunities it gave all of us to work with and to work for wonderful people. Clarecare has drawn people from every corner of Ireland and from other countries into a rich and deep relationship and we are blessed with the opportunities it gave us. We remember with affection those who have gone before us ar shlína Fírinne, and who in different ways contributed to the story of Clarecare. Go ndeana Dia trocaire orthu. I hope that this evening will be one of sharing pleasant memories, meeting old friends and renewing in all our hearts the generous impulse that founded Clarecare 50 years ago