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Having a Woman's Voice in Regeneration


HavingaVoice29May09b

Conference at Thomond Park to give a voice to Women affected by Limerick Regeneration

Today Thomond Park in Limerick hosted a unique event giving a voice to women living and working in Limerick's designated regeneration areas.  At a conference organised by the University of Limerick these women were joined by women who are powerful role models for those working towards positive changes in Ireland, including the Ombudswoman Emily O'Reilly and Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate, Kathleen O'Toole. 

Speaking at the event Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at UL, Professor Pat O' Connor said "Women's potential and leadership ability is unfortunately still often ignored in Irish society. Hence the importance of this conference, it has brought women leaders together across a variety of areas in both the public, educational and voluntary sector. This kind of leadership is one that Irish society ignores at its peril"

The welcome given by Mary Timmons, Chairperson of Limerick Women's Network, a native of Limerick and a community volunteer, set the tone of the day by acknowledging the contribution of volunteers in community development programmes.  Keynote speakers Emily O'Reilly and Kathleen O' Toole, encouraged all those present to use their voice to promote sustainable change in their communities. 

The National Women's Council of Ireland, OPEN, Age Action Ireland, The Political System, FAS, The VEC, Independent Living Advocate and Bloggers highlighted the invaluable work done by women in statutory and non-statutory agencies throughout the length and breadth of Ireland.  Ten closed workshops dedicated to women living in Limerick's designated regeneration areas and its environs allowed women from these communities to debate the issues of genuine relevance to their lives.
 
Topics covered at the conference included -youth, women and poverty, well-being, senior citizenship, parenting in education, lone-parenting, local politics and advocacy, women and enterprise, community policing and community education, the role and responsibility of the State in terms of service delivery and efficiency.

Funded by the University of Limerick, the conference was run by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, with the aim of using the best academic expertise to assist in the conference delivery and success. 

Speaking at the conference, organiser Gabriella Hanrahan, Liaison Officer - (Higher Education) Shannon Consortium, said "we want the women leaving this conference today to be reassured that without their voice and contribution Regeneration will not be what they want it to be.  And secondly throughout the process of change that they will experience during Regeneration, that they will feel confident in seeking and drawing down the resources of the University of Limerick to support that change". 

The conference steering group will publish the conference proceedings for distribution to community participants as well as statutory and non-statutory agencies.


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