On Saturday 7 November, over 50 Pioneers met in The Hazel Hotel, Monasterevin, Co. Kildare for a day-long session of debate, discussion and reflection. The busy conference agenda covered issues ranging from a vision for the Pioneers to more practical matters that included the forthcoming Charities Act. Feedback on the day focused on the importance of extending membership of the Association to greater numbers of youth and parents. Attendees also felt it was critical for the PTAA to contemporise its messages to all of its target audiences. The Pioneers of Eglish will take this further with a day of high-powered reflection on 20 November, and the Ulster and Munster Pioneers are also planning conferences. Read more.
The Ulster Pioneers will hold a conference on 7 March, and the Munster group also in Spring 2010. Details of these two conferences will be available from www.pioneerassociation.ie from January 2010.
Eglish is a small village with around 240 families and is one of the few villages in Ireland with no pub. The Eglish Pioneer centre was formed over 60 years ago and currently has 100-plus members. It is organising a “Community Reflection” on Friday 20 November 2009 to encourage communities to reflect on the many social issues caused by recession. Some of Northern Ireland’s best-known figures will convey their experiences of forgiveness, alcohol and gambling addiction, spirituality and conflict resolution. They include Dame Nuala O’Loan, former police ombudsman; Denis Bradley, joint head of the Eames Bradley consultative group on the past; Richard Moore, founder of the Children in Crossfire charity; Oisin McConville, former Armagh footballer, and Tom Herron, trauma therapist. Journalist and author Hugh Jordan will host the evening. Commenting on the planned event, Brian Jordan of the Eglish Pioneers pointed out that during times of stress like the present recession, levels of alcohol abuse and addiction tend to rise. Ireland continues to rank among the highest consumers of alcohol in the EU: we drink about 20% more than our European counterparts. It is timely to highlight underage drinking, because according to recent reports, Irish 16- to 17-year-olds spend on average €20 a week on alcohol. This indicates an illegal alcohol market of €145. Further Information: Brian Jordan on Tel: 04890 7885 13590 or Orlaith O’Callaghan, PTAA Advocacy and Communications Manager on Mobile: 087 6385942. The “Community Reflection” evening starts at 8.00 p.m. Tickets cost £5 with free admission for Under 18s.