Brandon Community Playgroup - 40 years on and getting stronger

Ann Phelan TD and Cllr Tommy Prendergast attended the 40th Anniversary of Brandon Community Playgroup in Graignamanagh last week.The Playgroup initially began in the Abbey Hall in 1972 with founding members, Marie O’Farrell, Nora O Brien, the late Ann Walsh, Bernie McAphrey and Eileen Doyle, followed soon after by Mary Cody. It has had a through-put of 25 children every year for the last 40 years.

Ann Phelan TD and Cllr Tommy Prendergast attended the 40th Anniversary of Brandon Community Playgroup in Graignamanagh last week.The Playgroup initially began in the Abbey Hall in 1972 with founding members, Marie O’Farrell, Nora O Brien, the late Ann Walsh, Bernie McAphrey and Eileen Doyle, followed soon after by Mary Cody. It has had a through-put of 25 children every year for the last 40 years.

Back then, it was apparent to the women involved that there was a need for a childcare and early learning service in the area, so they established their own place adjacent to the parochial hall in Graignamanagh in 1983; which was one of the first of its kind in the country.

Mary, a member of the County Childcare Committee and Early Childcare Ireland, has continued to play a pivotal role in the Playgroup up to present day. She remains actively involved with the Playgroup and indeed, is regularly called upon for expertise and knowledge. Shortly after Brandon Playgroup opened its doors, it welcomed Biddy O’Brien and Mary Butler to its ranks. These two community champions continue to work there today with Teresa Shuvru, Julie Carroll and Dawn Cuddihy, each of them have establishing a position in the hearts of many of the children throughout Graignamanagh and the surrounding areas.

“It is a fantastic achievement for the area and is most certainly a testament to the dedication and the hard work of all the ladies involved. My own children attended the playgroup and indeed, a lot of the past pupils are now sending their children too which I think speaks for itself,” Ann Phelan said.

“It is also fitting that this celebration should coincide with one of the most important issues surrounding the rights of a child, that is the Children’s Referendum,” she added.

“On Saturday, November, everyone will be asked to vote on the proposal to include a new article, 42A, in the constitution which will solely recognise the rights of a child no matter what the marital status of their parents. This referendum is about the right of children to have their best interests at the centre of major decisions about their safety and welfare, and to have their views listened to,” she said.