Scouts' honour: President cuts ribbon at €3.7m scouts' centre


PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins opened the €3.7 million European-funded Castle Saunderson International Scouting Centre in Cavan over the weekend.

The President was joined by dignitaries from both sides of the Border, including Northern Ireland Executive Ministers Jonathan Bell, Nelson McCausland and Jennifer McCann and Minster of State in the Republic Fergus O’Dowd.

Located in Castle Saunderson Demesne, near Belturbet, and bordering counties Fermanagh and Monaghan, the new scouting facility has entrances from the North and the South.

Yesterday the sun shone on the historic castle setting, former home to the Saunderson family. Edward Saunderson, founder of the Ulster Unionist party, was born there. The opening of the centre marks more than a decade of work at the site by Scouting Ireland in developing the jamboree and adventure centre complex. It is expected more than 12,000 young people from a diverse range of ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds will use the facility in its first year. Funded by the EU’s Peace 3 programme, the site will be declared a “world peace centre” by the World Scout Foundation, one of only five in the world.

“It is a shared facility in a beautiful setting – perfect for scouts with the trees and vegetation on the grounds of the Castle Saunderson estate,” Mr Higgins told The Irish Times.

“Scouting makes a great contribution to citizenship and development of interpersonal skills, friendship and loyalty and value.”

The President also spoke of the pivotal role the centre would play for peace and reconciliation in the Border region.