Many people are still suffering despite the economic success that the country has reaped over the past few years, President Mary McAleese warned today.
Ms McAleese said the poverty and mass emigration that was a familiar part of Ireland’s story has rapidly changed over the past decade.
“But just as these successful times did not appear overnight or without considerable hardship on the way, neither are they a comfort blanket which covers everyone,” Ms McAleese said, as she addressed the 10th Anniversary Conference of Clann Credo, the Social Investment Fund.
“There are, still, many individuals and communities in our society who, for one reason or another, are not benefiting or prospering as they would wish and we would wish for them.”
Ms McAleese said the fund was involved in providing monies for a wide variety of projects to tackle disadvantage in communities.
Projects aided by the social fund include a rural housing project in Roscommon, independent parenting services in Galway, a specialist food project in west Limerick, transport services for people with disabilities in north Dublin and a horse-riding centre for young people with special needs in Co Wicklow.
“This is real social finance in action, as you say ‘generating inclusive prosperity’,” Ms McAleese said to the audience in the Park Inn Hotel in Dublin’s Smithfield.
“It is heartening to hear of your work on issues related to Travellers and proposals you have initiated to assist our burgeoning immigrant community. You are even reaching out to needy communities abroad through projects in places like Slovakia and Kosovo.”
Ms McAleese praised Sr Magdalen Fogarty, from the Presentation Sisters, who was behind the establishment of the fund a decade ago to promote social equality in the society.
“Clann Credo plays a truly invaluable role in giving practical effect to our moral responsibility for the social progress of the poor and the overlooked.
"You have meshed commercial acumen with the common good, created partnerships with established structures and given communities access to the funding and the confidence they needed to change their own futures for the better,” she said.