2014 Volunteer of the Year Award goes to Foróige Leader Rebecca O’Reilly

The 2014  Award for Young Volunteer of the Year went to Rebecca O’Reilly, a leader in Foróíge Skerries. This annual award honours the memory of Jim Quigley and acknowledges the work of outstanding volunteers.  Martin Russell, chairperson of the Skerries Community Association, presented the award to her at the SCA’s AGM on Thursday 27 June.

Rebecca and Martin shaking hands

Rebecca O’Reilly, Foróige, receiving the Jim Quigley Award for Young Volunteer of the Year from Martin Russell, Chairperson of the Skerries Community Association

Ever since the Skerries Foróige Youth Club opened a little over a year ago, Rebecca, 19, has been one of the most active leaders. Her dedication and friendly manner with the youth-club members were mentioned in her nomination, as was the fact that she only ever missed a Foróige event when she was sick. Deborah Murphy, secretary of the club, says: “She is there for the kids, no matter what they need and the kids know they can go to her for anything and often have.”

The judges were particularly impressed with the dedication Rebecca has toward the club and its members. She goes out of her way to make everyone feel a part of the club each Wednesday. Rebecca has been on every trip with Skerries Foróige and is doing everything she can to get them involved with the community.

Recently she gave up two Saturdays to help build and paint bird boxes with 5 of the young people for Skerries Tidy Towns, a fact that was particularly stressed by Mary Conway, Hon. Secretary of the SCA, who read the profile about Rebecca at the AGM. Mary is also a member of the Skerries Tidy Towns Committee and says that they were very impressed with the bird boxes.

Skerries Community Association wishes Rebecca, who has recently finished college having studied community development and really wants to continue her work within the community, all the best in her career and is looking forward to her future involvement in Skerries.

Rebecca O'Reilly, far left, with Foróige members and their bird boxes.

Rebecca O’Reilly, far left, with Foróige members and their bird boxes.

For more on Jim Quigley, as well as a list of previous winners, see our page on the Jim Quigley Award.

This was our year – The Skerries Community Association Review June 2013 to June 2014

This was our year – The Skerries Community Association Review June 2013 to June 2014

The following report was distributed to the households of Skerries over the last few days. Did you get yours?

A text-only version is below.

Report 2014 01

Report 2014 02

Report 2014 03

Report 2014 04

Once a year, Skerries Community Association (SCA) invites all its members to attend its Annual General Meeting. And since membership is free, and open to all over 18s who are living in Skerries (or the Skerries and Holmpatrick Electoral Area, to be precise), this is in theory every adult in Skerries!

You are invited to attend our AGM for 2014, at the Little Theatre, Dublin Road on Thursday 26th June at 8pm.

After the official business is finished, our annual Jim Quigley Award will be presented to the Skerries Young Volunteer of the year.

Visit the Skerries Community Centre or www.skerriesca.com for procedures on election nominations and copies of our Financial Statements.

Chair’s Report

The past twelve months since my last report were yet another exciting year for Skerries. You’ll all remember Sunday 29 September, the day President Higgins came visiting for the inauguration of the Sea Memorial (“Totem Pole”). All of Skerries seemed to be at the harbour that day – and came back again that night for spectacular fireworks, marking the end of another wonderful Skerriers Soundwaves Festival.

It’s great that this year, film crews from RTÉ came to Skerries for outdoor broadcasting a number of times, and we had camera crews and even helicopters buzzing around. There was the Giro d’Italia of course, in May, followed closely by our own SCA’s Rás End Stage Committee’s fantastic street party.

And then earlier this month, what joy to hear that Skerries got its Blue Flag back and received a Green Coast award too! It was great for Skerries that An Taisce, who are in charge of the Blue Flag awards, chose our town for the national ceremony. It is clear how crucial everyone’s involvement is for making Skerries an even better place to live. One organisation merits special mention here, and that is Skerries Adopt-A-Beach, started a few years ago by Emily Diebold of Skerries News. I’d like to thank all its active members warmly for their efforts in keeping our beaches clean and welcoming for us all, and for our visitors.

Looking to the future, in August, the Town Twinning Committee will welcome visitors from Guichen, Brittany for the 20-year-anniversary of the Twinning of our towns. There will be some festivities to look forward to, I am sure.

We also have the opening of Floraville Town Park. It would be remiss of me not to thank our Skerries Chamber of Commerce for all their hard work for the town, as they look after such things as our Christmas Lights and Tree, and the St. Patrick Day Parade. All the traders in the town support in no small way all our town’s clubs and organisations, so the best of luck with Floraville, it will be such an asset to the town.

In September, there will be the 11th Soundwaves Festival of Music and Art. When the SCA decided to establish such a festival, it was done so in the belief that a community that celebrates together is a stronger community. We hope to see many of you at the festival!

We hope that you have had a chance to enjoy some of our activities and amenities over the past year and that if you haven’t, that this report might whet your appetite.

You have probably heard of many, if not all, of our com­mit­tees – so here is a full list:

  • The Board of Management of Skerries Community Centre
  • Skerries Tidy Towns Committee
  • Skerries Town Twinning Association
  • Skerries Reaching Out
  • Skerries Cycling Initiative
  • Skerries Soundwaves Festival
  • Skerries Rás End Stage Committee
  • Crann Padraig
  • Sustainable Skerries
  • The Little Theatre Upgrade Project Committee
  • Skerries Skatepark Committee.

This is a dynamic collection of groups, and the key role of the SCA is to support their work and to facilitate the emerg­ence of new committees and projects.

Effective relationships with the local authority and public bodies are crucial for the wellbeing of a town. The support and agreement of Fingal County Council (FCC) is required for almost all of our projects and activities at some point. The SCA (with Jane Landy and myself) participates in the Skerries Community Liaison Committee set up by FCC some years ago to improve communication between the Council and the community. This committee meets in Skerries three times a year and anyone in the community can request an item to be put on the agenda.

Another of our directors, Brendan Sherlock, participates in the Fingal Community Forum and the Fingal Environmental Forum on our behalf.

Planning decisions can have a significant impact on the town and we review these on a regular basis. We also monitor the sea water quality regularly over the summer, at three locations.

The garden at the Community Centre Car Park has developed magnificently and is tended by the staff of the Community Centre. The majority of the plants have come from the gardens of Skerries residents supplemented by donations of bulbs from Fingal County Council.

Once again the Community Centre itself has performed astonishingly well considering our economic climate. We would like to thank Sharon Guinane, the manager of the Centre, for her wonderful work and dedication. The Centre and outdoor sports facilities are run by a staff of 9 and 10 CE workers from Skerries Training and Employment Project. (STEPS Ltd). This scheme is funded by Solas and the extra resource it provides for the Community Centre is invaluable. The contribution of the CE workers makes an enormous difference to the functioning of the Centre and we are very grateful for it. The Board of Management of the Community Centre oversees and guides the whole operation.


As you have read above, Fingal County Council makes possible so much of what we aspire to do. I want to acknowledge this and to thank all those concerned, both elected representatives, old and new, and officials for their interest in and commitment to Skerries.

On behalf of the SCA board, a huge thank you to all the volunteers involved in our community association for their enormous effort, imagination and commitment.

Time to help out?

As you can gather, there is a lot of great work going on and much more to do. Please contact us if you could spare some time to help. Just go to our website www.skerriesca.com. If you are not yet on our list for the community Newsflash emails, sign up for this and/or to become a member of the SCA on our website. Every person living in Skerries aged over 18 is entitled to membership, and it is free.

I know that I may have forgotten some and indeed not said enough about others, but to you all I send my most generous THANKS.

Martin Russell, Chair, June 2014

Stay in touch!

Nearly every day, a Newsflash containing information on local events as well as “small ads”-type content and notifications, is mailed to subscribers. To subscribe, send an email with the subject “Newsflash Subscription” to info@skerriesca.com. You will be added to both the daily Newsflash and the Monthly SCA Newsletter, which we only started in May 2014 and which highlights the current work of our committees.

We do our best to keep the Facebook page and the website, www.SkerriesCA.com  up-to-date and relevant. Sabine McKenna is the director with responsibility for our online presence, and you can contact her at sabine.mckenna@skerriesca.com or via the Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/SkerriesCommunity

What is the SCA?

The Skerries Community Association Ltd. is an umbrella group comprising many committees, made up of several hundred volunteers, devoted to making the quality of life in Skerries even better.

In legal terms, the SCA has the structure of a Company Limited by Guarantee. We are, of course, not-for-profit – but we still must comply with all relevant legislation and requirements for companies.

Our board of fifteen directors has the same responsibilities as that of a Board of Directors of any company. In addition to these duties, directors are almost always members of committees as well and form an essential link between the Board and these committees. It is an interesting and very rewarding role.

From our committees

Skerries Community Centre:The Board of Management of the Centre with the SCA approval each year set out projects that they hope to achieve. This year 2013-2014 was no different: The refurbishment of the ladies’ and gents’ showers was achieved during this time, we also replaced all the windows in the Little Theatre with timber double glazing. This coming year our project include the complete refurbishment of the ladies’ and gents’ toilets in the Centre, and we are looking at ways to put more toilets in the Old School.

The Skerries Soundwaves Festival team is busy preparing for its 11th festival, which will take place from the 19th to the 28th September. Our musical events include the talent show, Battle of the Bands, the ukulele orchestra, 3 classical events, and Jazz. We have comedy, an art exhibition, digital art, Lego workshops, Minecraft and tribal drumming events. For the little ones we have a magic show, puppets and the street party. We are planning a big concert at the Mills, and our usual Fireworks for the finale. We hope you are as excited as we are!

Keep updated with our Facebook page or on our website, www.skerriessoundwavesfestival.com.

Skerries Stage End Rás Committee: For over eight years this committee has helped to bring and organise the End Stage of the An Post Rás International Round Ireland Cycle Race to Skerries. The Rás takes place in May and draws several thousands of spectators and visitors to the town.  The committee is involved in the Promotion, PR, Marshalling, Health and Safety of the  event. They also coordinate the gigantic Street Party which runs alongside the event and involves dozens of community groups, schools and Sports Clubs.

We hope to have the final stage of this prestigious cycle race in Skerries once again for a record 10th Year in 2015 along with the sun again! New volunteers are welcome. Find us on the SCA website, https://www.skerriesca.com/ras-end-stage/ or connect with us on Facebook.

Skerries Town Twinning had a very successful Sports Trip in July 2013 when 23 Skerries children and 8 adult leaders travelled over to Guichen. This year we have already had a successful Photo Exchange between Skerries and Guichen.  This involved Skerries and Guichen photographers visiting their twin town to shoot photos for a joint photographic exhibition. The exhibition, ‘Through Their Eyes’ will take place during the 20th Anniversary celebration of the twinning from 14-19 August 2014 in Skerries. 45 visitors from Guichen are coming over for the celebration. For more information see www.skerriestwinning.ie or find them on Facebook.

Skerries Reaching Out was set up under the Ireland Reaching Out programme with the intention of tracking down, making contact with and inviting home the global Irish diaspora of Skerries descent. This reverse genealogy entails the tracing and recording of all people who left Skerries and seeking out their living descendants worldwide. To date we have had success in tracing descendants in the US. Australia, Canada, Channel Is. and the UK resulting in interesting visits taking place and family connections being established.  For more information see www.irelandxo.ie or email skerries@irelandxo.ie.

Crann Pádraig Skerries  is an environmental group in Skerries that promotes the planting and care of broadleaf trees. The nursery at Ardla, owned by Fingal County Council, was planted, replanted, and any extracted trees were passed on to particular groups and either planted by the members to whom they were donated or in some cases by the members in Crann Padraig. The planting has been so successful that the nursery is now a small copse with some magnificent semi- mature trees. The members are always open to suggestions for further planting.

Skerries Skatepark Committee is the newest SCA Committee. Following the initial meeting organised by one of the SCA directors, Nunce McAuley, the Skerries Stakepark Committee was formed under the wing of the SCA.

At the Rás End Stage Street Party, they were out in force in distinctive orange-on-black Skerries Skatepark T-shirts to engage with Skerries townsfolk, collecting many hundreds of signatures and emails of those who see a real need for a skate park in Skerries. Businesses of all kinds, throughout the town, have also pledged support to a skatepark.

Possible designs that would work sensitively with and enhance our unique and very special coastal environs in Skerries are currently being researched.

Skerries Skatepark Committee is also engaging with other committees that have achieved skate parks in award-winning, tourist towns around Ireland and have been working with Fingal County Council to shortlist possible locations on council-owned areas around Skerries. For more information, see skerriessc.com or contact them by email: scskerries@gmail.com

Sustainable Skerries is all about making Skerries more sustainable. Sustainable with respect to food, energy and skills. To this end, some of our members have been instrumental in setting up Skerries Allotments, other members have set up and administer the Community Harvest Group that directly links people in this community with a local farmer who provides them with fresh organic vegetables and eggs. Another of our projects has recently has been our Sustainable Living Course that ran for 10 weeks late last year. We are hoping to run a similar course this year. Please email us if you are interested in any of our initiatives or if you want to get involved. http://sustainableskerries.wordpress.com/

email: sustskerries@yahoo.ie

The members of The Little Theatre Upgrade Project Committee are still working away at raising funds for a raked seated theatre. Our Bloom’s Day fundraiser on Saturday 14 June was a great success with costumed actors reading  from Dubliners at different locations, entertaining passers-by on the streets of Skerries and serving a Bloomsday Breakfast Special in Ollie’s with all the offal and liver trimmings!

Skerries Guerrilla Gardeners (SGG) continue to build on the achievements of the SCA Green Schools project. The committee works with other local voluntary groups to engender awareness of sustainability issues in Skerries schoolchildren. This is done through practical action such as helping to create an outdoor learning pavilion at Skerries Educate Together National School. The school has recently expanded significantly and the new outdoor learning pavilion will facilitate more outdoor, biodiversity centred learning. Teaching staff and the parents’ group are eager to get this moving.

SGG will be working with parents over the summer to implement the project for which we have been successful in obtaining grant assistance under the Local Agenda 21 Partnership Fund.

Skerries Cycling Initiative (SCI) continues to work for better cycling infrastructure in and around the town.  Progress by FCC in developing a cycle track between Barnageera and Balbriggan was further  delayed by land acquisition/wayleave problems for part of the route. We understand that these issues have now been resolved and that a public consultation process is planned.

Recurring bike thefts at Skerries Railway Station were a significant problem in 2013. SCI gathered data on the level of thefts and brought the problem to the attention of Irish Rail local media. We are grateful to local media for highlighting the problem and for the assistance given by former Councillor Ciarán Byrne who raised the issue with Irish Rail and at the Dublin Regional  Authority.  The installation of bike lockers at the station was announced some months ago.

SCI made a submission to the NTA on the draft Cycle Network Plan for the Greater Dublin Area. The Plan sets out a ten year strategy for Counties Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow which is intended to help increase the cycle network.

SCI has also organised three cycling events to celebrate Bike Week 2014 in Skerries: A Photo Cycle Safari on 15 June; Discover Your Bike on 21 June; and A Family Fun Cycle on 22 June.

Tidy Towns: The people of Skerries once again did the town proud in 2013 by helping us to win the Gold, the county and regional awards in the National Tidy Towns Competition. This year we are slightly apprehensive as the goal posts have been changed.  Our region has been greatly enlarged with many other winning towns now in the running for the regional award.

In the past year we commissioned a Wildlife and Sustainable Management Enhancement report.   We are working on the suggested actions therein. As part of the report we launched our Skerries Safari which can be followed through our new Facebook page or through the SCA website.

As always, we ask for your help to care for Skerries.



Get on your bike and see the Skerries countryside!

Bike WeekLR (3 of 7)Skerries Cycling Initiative are looking forward to welcoming lots of new faces to their  “Rediscover your Bike” cycle (20 km) along quiet roads (Saturday evening, 21 June, from 7.30 p.m.), and their much-loved Family Fun Cycle to Ardgillan Park and back (Sunday 22 June, from 12 noon).

Rediscover Your Bike – Saturday 21 June – meet at Sea Pole at 7.30 p.m.

It is amazing how beautiful the surrounds of Skerries are, and how suitable for cycling!

Bike WeekLR (6 of 7)When I recently tested this route with the organiser from the SCI, I was pleasantly surprised – most of the tour was free of traffic, and very well suited to cycling. The beauty of the rolling hills around Skerries more than makes up for having to cycle up and down those said hills, and with a half-way decent bike, this is quite do-able.

Bike WeekLR (7 of 7)A half an hour took us past the Golf Club and on very scenic roads to the outskirts of Lusk. Then we turned towards Loughshinny, which we reached in another half hour. The evenings are possibly the ideal time for cycling – the light was only beautiful on the day we were out, and the break at Loughshinny Harbour was lovely.

Bike WeekLR (1 of 7)
Refreshed and rested, we pushed on land-inwards, past Baldungan Castle (which I myself had never seen up close before, so we stopped for a photo), crossing the Skerries-Lusk road near the former Daffodil Gallery, and then on another beautiful back road down to Skerries again, where we rolled into town just in time to enjoy the last of the summer evening at the harbour.

This cycle comes highly recommended! It is aimed primarily at adults, including those who have bikes but may not have used them for a while.  Not suitable for complete beginners. See here for a map of the tour.

bike in front of harbourStarting from the Sea Pole at 7.30 p.m on Saturday evening 21 June; we anticipate returning there at around 9.30 p.m.

And don’t forget the Family Fun Cycle to Ardgillan with a picnic by the Rose Garden. Meet Skerries Mills 12 noon on Sunday 22 June!

Photographs: Michael McKenna (4), Sabine McKenna (the last one).

 Skerries Cycling Initiative is a committee of the Skerries Community Association.

Notice of AGM 2014

Notice to Members

NOTICE is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of The Skerries Community Association Limited (SCA) will be held

in the Little Theatre, Dublin Road, Skerries

on Thursday 26 June 2014

at 8 pm

to transact the Ordinary Business of the Company, that is to say: –

1. To confirm the Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting
2. To receive and adopt the Directors’ Report and Financial Statements for year ended 31 Dec. 2013
3. To elect Directors to the Board
4. To elect Members to Skerries Community Centre Board of Management
5. To reappoint Dempsey Mullen as Auditors and to authorise the Directors to fix their remuneration
6. To transact any other business proper to an Annual General Meeting of the Company.
Dated this Thursday 5th June 2014, by order of the Board,
M. Conway, Secretary.
NOTE 1. No person other than a Director of the Company retiring at the meeting shall, unless recommended by the Directors, be eligible for election to the office of Director at any general meeting unless not less than three (i.e. 23rd June 2014) nor more than 21 days (i.e. 5th June 2014) before the date appointed for the meeting, there has been left at the registered office notice in writing, signed by a member duly qualified to attend and vote at the meeting for which notice is given, of his/her intention to propose such a person for election, and also Notice in writing signed by that person of his/her willingness to be elected. [A specimen Nomination Form is printed hereunder].
NOTE 2. The names of candidates who have consented to stand for election to the Board of Management of the Community Centre, together with the names of their proposers and seconders, shall be given in writing to the Secretary, and shall be posted on the Community Centre Notice Board at least seven days prior to the holding of the Annual General Meeting. [See Nomination Form hereunder].
NOTE 3. Copies of the Directors’ Report and Financial Statements will be available to members at the Community Centre at least seven days prior to the holding of the Annual General Meeting.

Click here for the PDF / printable version of the notice including the Nomination Form.

AGM Notice to Members 2014


Thank You from the Rás Committee

The Skerries End Stage Rás Committee would like to say a massive THANK YOU to all who supported and helped this year with the An Post Rás End Stage and Street Party. It was a triumph of community spirit and cooperation. Thanks to all the marshals and stewards, to Fingal Tri Club and all the stallholders, the schools, community and sports groups, to our photographer Michael Johnston, the Sphinx ladies cycle group, to St Patrick’s Church, Skerries Community Association, to Coca Cola for the bottled water and to Ollies Place for the packed lunches for stewards, to Skerries Mills for their car park, Holmpatrick School for the Race Centre, to the local businesses and residents, and anyone inconvenienced by traffic restrictions, and to the spectators who turned out in droves for this great event. We could not have done it without you.

Fingers crossed for a record 10th in Skerries in 2015!

Greg Reddin, Skerries End Stage Rás Committee

Greg Reddin on Rás Day

Greg Reddin on Rás Day

Skerries Tidy Towns are Asking For Your Help

Maeve McGann of Skerries Tidy Towns writes:

tidy towns 3Now we are in judging season for the national Tidy Towns Competition. This begins every year on 1st June and continues until the end of August. We have no idea when the adjudicators will arrive, so we need to be prepared every day.

Please lend us your support during the coming months.

Now is the time to get the window boxes and hanging baskets out. Make sure you keep them watered.

Stephen from Wisteria is offering a deal which includes a watering service – check it out.

Some premises in the town could do with a touch of paint. Check yours out and see if there is anything you can do to improve the presentation of your business. Ensure that the windows are clean and free of posters.

A well-presented business encourages customers and certainly helps us to gain more marks in the competition.

If there are any weeds near your home or business, in the kerb or at the base of buildings, please remove them.

Grass verges in front of houses need to be neat and tidy.

No litter is acceptable to the adjudicators.

Let’s all work together to show what a great town we have to live, work and grow up in.

Contact details for Skerries Tidy Towns are on their page here.

You could, of course, also join one of the regular work parties which meet every Monday evening at the old fire station on Quay Street at 7 p.m. until further notice.

tidy towns 1 tidy towns 2

Skerries South Beach – now with Blue Flag and Green Coast Award!

What a great day for Skerries when the Blue Flags and Green Coast Awards 2014 were announced on our South Beach!

All the greater because that very same South Beach was awarded both these awards.

This is mainly due to the people of Skerries, the pride they take in their place, and of course the work they put into keeping beach and town neat and pleasant for locals and visitors alike.

Skerries Adopt-a-Beach were singled out by Minister Hogan, Minister for the Environment, who commended Emily Diebold and her volunteers for their great work.

The audience consisted of representatives of Skerries community groups, such as the Adopt-a-Beach people, the Tidy Towns Committee (part of the Skerries Community Association), and Skerries Community Association itself.

Apart from that, there were visitors from practically every coastal local authority in Ireland, who had come to Skerries to pick up their Blue Flags and Green Flags. We’d like to think they were well impressed with our great little town.

And even the weather held up!

Blue Flag flying 2014