THERE were plenty of smiles as the sun beamed down on the official opening of the new Citizens Information office in Graignamanagh last Wednesday.
Volunteers, staff, politicans, local gardai and members of the community attended the event which took place at the new office beside the church on the Main Street.
Sarah Drea, who works in the Citizens Information Centre in Kilkenny welcomed the guests. “This is a very special occasion in he development of the Citizens Information in Kilkenny. The purpose of the service is to provide information and support to help people with what is going on in their lives. The service has been running in Kilkenny for 35 years and for 16 years in Graignamanagh and the branch in Graignamanagh is run completely by volunteers,” she said.
AnnMarie Wilson, who is also based in the Kilkenny branch explained that Graignamanagh was the first outreach office from Kilkenny and was opened in 1995. Previously it was in two other locations before moving to it’s current ‘high profile location’.
One of the founding volunteers in Graignamanagh Helen Ryan explained the service that is provided. “People ask for information and we make every effort to find the answers that they need or to help them to fill in the forms. We hope that the new location will entice more people to use the service” Helen was one of the original three volunteers who set up the service including Moira Bolger and the late Mary Grace.
Cllr Tommy Prendergast also attended the opening and said that he was delighted to be at his first event in Graignamanagh in his capacity as a councillor. “I am delighted to be here where you have an excellent service run by an excellent staff and I want to compliment you on all the hard work over the years.” he said.
Deputy Ann Phelan described the office as ‘high vis’. “Everyone uses the information that this service provides even some Dail deputies. They provide advocacy and advice and also impart knowledge to help the person to help themselves and the service is an integral part of the community. There is a very high level of responsibility on the volunteers and as a citizen of Graignamanagh I want to extend a huge thank you. There is no doubt that in these economically challenging times there is a huge demand for these services,” she added. The volunteers who run the service are Helen Ryan, Mary Grace, Kay O’Neill. Bronagh Whelan, Bridget Kelly, Nancy Kelly and Carmel Ryan. Owen Doyle also worked in the Centre until his recent retirement and the late John Connolly was a volunteer for a number of years. Una Tobin of the Citizens Information Board who fund Citizens Information was also present at the opening.
The service is available ever Tuesday and Thursday from 10.30am to 12.30pm