West Cork residents acclaimed by Burton
It may be at the end of one of Ireland’s most remote peninsulas but the small west Cork community of Goleen was yesterday proffered by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton as an example of what people can do when they rally together in times of economic hardship.
Ms Burton made the near 400km journey from Dublin to see how Goleen and District Community Council at the tip of the Mizen peninsula had used funding from her department, before officially opening a €250,000 extension to the local community centre.
Arriving accompanied by local Cork South West Labour TD Michael McCarthy, Ms Burton was given a warm welcome and was left in no doubt as to the determination of the local people to use social protection funding to better the community.
Chairman of the community group Michael Collins said the area had suffered in terms of emigration, with over 100 or so of the 1,200 people living in the parish being forced to emigrate to Australia, Canada and New Zealand for work, but Goleen was fighting back.
“The social protection schemes have been vital to us here – they’ve enabled people put bread and butter on the table and keep people in the area. We’ve had blows – we lost our Garda station and our bank in Schull – but we’re still coming back and developing more services.” The group employs 14 people.
“With the support of the department we plan to hire a chef for the community centre so that the older people can come in here for a meal in the day centre and we plan to start doing meals on wheels shortly,” said Mr Collins.