Foróige volunteers from Kilkenny were among those honoured by President Michael D. Higgins as part of the charity’s 60th-anniversary celebrations held during the 42nd annual Foróige Leaders’ Conference at Dublin’s Crowne Plaza Hotel.
“So much of what Foróige does nurtures the curious mind, prepares it for adult life, and also provides young people with valuable skill sets to meet challenges,” President Higgins told the delegates. “The range of services and opportunities you provide are hugely impressive by any standard including a number of firsts: the first organisation to provide general youth work services in disadvantaged areas; for example, working with An Garda Síochána to roll out one of the first Garda Youth Diversion Projects; Drug and Alcohol Prevention Projects; bringing the internationally proven one to one mentoring programme ‘Big Brothers, Big Sisters’ to Ireland.”
The conference heard accounts from people associated with Foróige during each of the past six decades, including Westlife’s Kian Egan representing the 1990s. ye
The conference also heard a contribution from Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who said: “Sixty years ago the first ever Foróige Youth Club was established in Kilkenny. Since that day, the 14th of March 1952, the charity has mushroomed. It is now Ireland’s leading and largest youth organisation working with almost 57,000 young people and 5,125 adult volunteers annually.”
Foróige National Council outgoing chairperson Mairi McMahon paid tribute “to Foróige’s young people who inspire me each and every time I meet them. It is their organisation and they are at the heart of everything we do.”