SKIBBEREEN’S Ludgate chief executive Adrienne Harrington, hub manager Elma Connolly and members of the Ludgate board recently attended a garden party at Áras an Uachtaráin in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.
The event was held to celebrate sustainable communities, recognising individuals and organisations across the country who, as the President said in his speech, ‘contribute so profoundly to the lives of their communities, creating and sustaining places of belonging, of care and of shared interests and experience.’
After a tour of the Áras and the gardens, the President and his wife hosted afternoon tea.
Ms Harrington was honoured to be invited to sit beside the President during tea, and enjoyed a long conversation with him about Ludgate, its work to date and its goal of facilitating the creation of 500 sustainable jobs in West Cork by 2020.
The President stated that he was very familiar with the work that Ludgate had been doing over the past two years and expressed the hope that other towns and villages could establish similar hubs.
The President’s speech was wide-ranging. He talked about the need to create societies that are ethical and inclusive and how this is a task for all of our citizens, of all ages and circumstances.
He digressed from his prepared speech to specifically mention Ludgate, and in particular the great work that John Field and David Puttnam do and have done in their community in Skibbereen.
He mentioned the impact of technology on modern living, and how despite the great advantages brought about by technology, it has become one of the great ironies of modern life that someone residing on the other side of the world is contactable by the click of a button, yet an increasing number of people no longer know their neighbours and the people with whom they share a community.
Rural depopulation and the loss of services in many towns, at the same time as the benefits of city living are often being outweighed by inadequately planned urban congestion, spiralling costs and under provision of housing were also touched on.
Short-term thinking has added up across the years to the attrition of rural services, he said, and governments need to give consideration implications of decision-making on rural communities.