The President of Ireland Mary Mc Aleese visited Kilbarrack Coast Community Programme (KCCP) on the 1st April 2003 and it was a great uplifting experience.
The President arrived at 11am and was greeted by Michael Finn (Chairperson KCCP). She received a rapturous applause when she entered the community hall from one hundred and fifty people present. The Nazarene Drama group then performed a six-minute extract from their passion play. The President accompanied by Marian Clarke (Co-ordinator KCCP) then viewed a number of display stands which included KCCP, Youth Matters, Kilbarrack United F.C. and Naomh Bharrog G.A.A. stopping in turn to talk to those involved. Mary Mc Aleese then held a private meeting with the participants of the FAS funded drugs rehabilitation Community Employment Programme. When she returned to the main hall she spoke for ten minutes and was thanked on behalf of the community by Lorraine Mulligan. Megan Murray from Youth Matters then presented the President with a bunch of flowers and the morning was completed by Dance X the local hip-hop group who put on an energetic display of their dancing. The President’s warmth of character was only matched by the welcome she received from the people of Kilbarrack.
In her speech the President said that a community is only as strong as the personalities that make it up. She said that Kilbarrack was a beacon of hope to other communities who were setting out to tackle the drugs problem in their areas. She was particularly impressed by the logo of KCCP, which incorporates the Brent Geese. It is said that the Brent Geese travel from the coast of Canada each year 3,000miles to Kilbarrack. It is said that if one bird is injured or tired it drops from the flock. Immediately two others drop with it, then when the bird recovers all three re-join a new flock. This is what Kilbarrack and KCCP stands for a community looking after it’s own. KCCP efforts have been dedicated to helping those who have become involved with drugs and to strive in every way to make sure that the young people of the area are given half a chance and hopefully they do not choose drugs as an option.
People from FAS and the Health Board were present and they were praised for their contribution to the area. It was great day a day to remember.