On their bikes for new Cuan Mhuire centre

June 28, 2011

By Paul Malone

The Break the Chain – Cycle of Hope takes place next week (July 4th) and is hoping to raise some much needed funds for Cuan Mhuire/Sr. Concilio’s Centre in Newry. Niall Maginn, participant and organiser of the event started planning for the Cycle of Hope in January 2011 after being inspired by the work of Sr. Concilio’s when he and friends volunteered to help out with the 25th Anniversary celebrations back in 2009.

He said, “It was from there that we began to understand the work Cuan Mhuire does. We got talking around Christmas of this year and decided that we’d all do something this summer together, as it would probably be the last time we’d all be at home and be able to get together. I had remembered that my dad (Pat McGinn) had done the cycle from Malin Head to Mizen Head before, and we just went from that idea. I think out of the group, there’s 11 of us, 3 people owned a bike, so getting bicycles was our first plan of action.”

Sr. Concilio’s is in dire need of funding as Niall explained, “What we hope to achieve from this cycle, is not only to raise much needed funds for the development of the new Addiction Centre on the Dublin Road, but to raise awareness of addiction and ‘Break the Chain’ or stigma that surrounds addiction. People tend to shy away from addressing the problem of addiction in society and we as young men won’t bury our heads in the sand and are prepared to highlight that there is a problem with addiction and that talking and interacting with young people on the issue can only be a good thing.”

Niall and his friends saw first hand the benefit to the community that Sr. Concilio’s provides.

“It provides people whose lives have been devastated by addiction with a sanctuary to regroup, rebuild and get back on their feet. The work, care and effort that Sr. Consilio, her support workers and volunteers put into every resident is second to none. Cuan Mhuire, which is a registered charity, is currently involved in building a new modern purpose built facility which, when complete, will have cost up to six million pounds. All monies we raise will go to the development of this new centre which Sr Consilio herself is leading.”

The support from the local community in these difficult times has overwhelmed Niall. “The response from people in Newry and south Armagh has been phenomenal. People in this area are well known for their generosity, but when we began this event, there’s no way we could have predicted the response that we have received. People are very kind and whilst it could be argued there still might be a huge stigma in relation to the disease of alcoholism and addiction in general, most people understand the issues involved and recognise the great work that Sr Consilio and Cuan Mhuire is doing for individuals and their families throughout Ireland.”

Niall is one of 11 participants who will get on their bikes in aid of the worthy cause. He will join Peter Magee, Gerard Meehan, Pat McGinn, Larry McCabe, Sean Dillon, Ross Morgan, Conor Murphy, Michael McCabe, Des Murphy and Niall Smyth. There will also be two drivers (Mark Keenan and Steve Mc Dermott) who are also very important as they will look after logistics and ensure that the cyclists remain on the right roads.

Niall continued, “I have never cycled any sort of distance before this and now I’m out at least four days a week doing 40-50 miles. So not only is the cycle great for raising funds and awareness for Cuan Mhuire, but it’s also got all of us in some sort of shape.”

The fundraising figure so far is substantial and Niall hopes it will continue to grow over the coming weeks.

“To be honest we set out on this cycle to raise a few pound for Sr. Consilios but because of the response from people and especially local businesses and shops in Newry and south Armagh, we have raised a substantial amount of money, which will significantly aid the building of the new Addiction Centre.”

The cycling group will have their final fundraiser quiz on Thursday 30th June at 9pm in Quinn’s Bar Camlough and anyone looking to donate to the charity can either contact Niall or any of the cycling team, or alternatively send donations to the Cuan Mhuire Centre in Newry.