Michael McKenna, Chair of the Skerries Community Association, writes: Last Monday, 19 October, on the day of the 2020 Skerries Community Association AGM, I had the pleasure of presenting Ronan O’ Callaghan with the Jim Quigley Volunteer of the year award for 2020, on behalf of the Association. Ronan was given the award for “his exemplary initiative and proactivity in starting the community response in our town” in setting up a volunteer group response group here in Skerries at the beginning of the Covid Pandemic.
After considerable arm-twisting Ronan accepted the award with the words ”All I’ll say is I just hope I’m making it clear how the Skerries Volunteer Group was in every way a team effort that literally couldn’t have been done without many volunteers, and you can kick me if I ever say it wasn’t. I want to specifically say that others did the same share of work, especially in getting the concept out there. It’s an example of how people are willing to do to help when needed.”
Well said and fair enough Ronan, but you were the one that kicked it off.
So who was this Jim Quigley guy anyway?
Jim Quigley came to live in Skerries with his wife Brigid in the late 1970s, purchasing their home in the newly built Hillside Estate. He joined the local residents association and was drawn to the Skerries Development and Community Association where his involvement lasted 22 years. Jim was Chairperson of the SDCA (now SCA) for ten of those years and worked on many, many projects. Perhaps the most visible legacy of his work in Skerries is the Community Centre. His skills in community building came to be recognised further afield and he became the first full-time President of Muintir na Tíre in 1994. He was proud to be named Tipperary Man of the Year in 1999. Jim died on the 29 August 2001. We remember him and celebrate his life’s work with an annual award. You can read more about him here.
Skerries Covid Community Response Group
When Ronan started the Response Group last March, he was quickly joined by other individuals and groups and together with voluntary services such as Meals on Wheels, they delivered a valuable service to those confined to their homes.
Leaflets were printed (with the contact numbers for the group) and delivered widely in Skerries. Volunteers were registered and many of them Garda vetted. Google groups and WhatsApp made it possible to respond rapidly to requests in a way that kept personal information private. As local businesses geared up to meet the demand for home deliveries, the need for the volunteer service lessened and the group was able to wind down operations after some months.
It is great to know that there is a reservoir of people out there who are ready and willing to give their time and energy to making life better for others.