Rathpeacon Guild arrived at Cork Federation AGM last month with a cheque for €630 for Special Olympics Munster.
This was the proceeds of an annual fundraising table quiz organised by the small 16-member guild, which is located just three miles from Cork City.
“It’s an open quiz, not confined to ICA members. We had 16 tables. We held it in the Castle Hotel, Blarney, and we’re very grateful to Blackpool Credit Union for sponsoring some of the prizes,” says Maura Buckley, Rathpeacon Guild secretary, adding that the quiz winners were the Osborne ladies from Berrings ICA Guild.
Set up in 1961, the guild is really a group of friends and not very competitive, says Maura.
“But we support everything. We meet up and we value it for the friendship. I wouldn’t meet the locals if it weren’t for ICA.”
ICA has been a factor in Maura’s life for as long as she can remember. Her mother, the late Mary Buckley, was in Rathpeacon Guild.
“I was forever doing jobs for ICA. My mother would say ‘get me this in town or get me that — it might be a piece of ribbon, a notebook. I’d get it on my way home from school.”
Maura recalls those early days of Rathpeacon Guild: competitions like ‘how many items can you fit into a matchbox’ and visits to long-stay elderly patients in St Finbarr’s Hospital.
“We’d bring them cigarettes and cakes.”
Maura joined ICA in “fits and starts”, but for sure in the early 1990s.
“All the neighbours did lots of fundraisers for the local community centre, for the church building in Whitechurch, and ICA was always involved. I knew the members because they were our neighbours.”
Meanwhile, Cork Federation president Deirdre Hickey spoke out at the AGM in Ballinora about how Government cutbacks and changes impact on rural communities.
“In much of rural Ireland, the post office is like a second Garda station – they know the people, they know what’s happening. A lot of older people have a routine, so they notice if someone doesn’t collect their pension.”
Deirdre also spoke about the “dire need for home help”, counting herself very lucky to have home help for her mum. But she said there’s a lot of worry about at the moment because of proposed changes to the home help programme.
She wants an open line of communication between the powers-that-be and those availing of home help, so the impact of changes can be properly understood.
“Before they change anything, I’d like them to meet the families and the cared-for person.”