Rural Revival Conference in Castleisland on Saturday Evening

Sinn Féin President, Mary Lou McDonald, TD will be the keynote speaker at Saturday evening’s 6:30pm gathering of which Kate McSweeney is one of the main organisers. Main Photograph: John Reidy

A conference will take place in the River Island Hotel Castleisland on Saturday, November 24th at 6.30pm which will discuss ways in which life can be brought back to rural Ireland and the challenges facing us in doing so.

Keynote Speaker

The keynote speaker on the evening will be Uachtarán Shinn Féin, Mary Lou Mc Donald TD.
Panellists will include: Joe Sheerin from Kiltyclogher, a member of the KiltyLive campaign which  was just last week featured on a TG4 documentary Banú nó Slánú; Cllr. Toiréasa Ferris;  Chairman of the Kerry IFA Pat O’Driscoll; Séamus Sherlock, rural development chairman at the ICMSA; John Reidy of The Maine Valley Post and the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival and Michael John Kearney of Castleisland Chamber Alliance and former senior executive of Kerry Group.

Contribute from the Floor

Attendees will be encouraged also to contribute from the floor on the evening. One of the speakers is Joe Sheerin from Kiltyclogher, Co. Leitrim. Joe explains his background:

“I transferred from Dublin to Kiltyclogher as a Garda in the local Garda Station in 1994.

My family lived in the local Garda accommodation, and purchased it 2014 where I currently reside.”

Rejuvenated Village

“I am a member of Kiltyclogher Community Council, Kiltyclogher Heritage Centre Council the Tidy Town’s Committee and Leitrim Tourism Network.

I am part of the ‘KiltyLive’ team that has successfully saved our Seán MacDiarmada National School in 2017 and rejuvenated our village and North Leitrim.”

School Numbers Up

“Kiltyclogher National School numbers could have gone as low as 11 students in September and would have closed by the end of October 2017.

In July the village came together and launched a nationwide ‘KiltyLive’ campaign and in six weeks successfully brought seven families from around Ireland to live in Kiltyclogher.

On the 1stSeptember 25 children attended the school.”

Centre Opened

“Kiltyclogher is the birthplace of Seán MacDiarmada and Kiltyclogher Heritage Centre opened in 2015 but closed in October 2016.

The local community opened the centre prior to ‘KiltyLive’ and in 2018 has over 3,000 visitors,” said Joe.

The Castleisland Conference

One of the organisers of the Castleisland conference, Kate McSweeney feels that by holding this conference we are taking it upon ourselves, by having a gathering of minds, to think outside the box and put in place ways in which the many aspects of life in rural Ireland can be revived before it’s too late.
Positive Thinking
“Perhaps by applying some of the ideas gleaned from this discussion Castleisland and it’s hinterland, as well as other similar areas, could be seen as a proactive positive thinking town and act as a template for other struggling rural towns in the future.

“We can sit back and let the decimation happen around us or gather as a community and force revival,” said Kate.

You can hear a podcast with Kate McSweeney giving a rundown on Saturday evening’s event with a click on the icon at the top of the page.

Kate McSweeney will be the Sinn Féin candidate in the May 2019 local elections in the Castleisland electoral area. Kate can be contacted on: 087 92 28 834.

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