New Programme of Events for South Armagh Rural Women’s Network

September 25, 2012

The women affiliated to South Armagh Rural Women’s Network (SARWN) enjoyed a night of mixed emotions – as feelings of sadness, joy and admiration, along with the music of Crossmaglen’s finest, filled the Cross Square Hotel on the evening of Thursday 20th September. There to launch SARWN’s new programme of events, those present received a very warm Crossmaglen welcome to the Hotel from Manager Fiona Kieran.  Newry & Mourne Mayor John McArdle then addressed the crowd as he praised the work of South Armagh Rural Women’s Network and the impact it had on women locally. He then outlined the forthcoming range of services and supports that would be available through SARWN.  These included training in ICT, Arts and Crafts, Personal Development and Crossmaglen’s long standing tradition of Carrickmacross Lace making. He mentioned the importance of the befriending and counselling services available. His nursing background enabled him to speak with authority on the importance of these, particularly the importance of befriending to vulnerable people or those who felt excluded or isolated.  ‘Befriending’ he said ‘is the gift of time.’ This service offers support and a friendly face at a time of need and vulnerability and aims to help women and their families restore some form of normality back into their lives.

He finished by introducing  Mrs Pearl Marshall, who to the admiration of everyone present, shared her story about the tragic loss of her son and her subsequent journey from being a victim to being a survivor of the Conflict in Northern Ireland.  Her story, so beautifully told, resulted in a standing ovation. Clearly moved the Chairperson Marie Grant took the opportunity to congratulate Pearl on behalf of all present, for the courage and bravery, she had shown.  She ended by thanking the Community Relations Council who administer SARWN’s main source of funding, which comes from the Victims Unit of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM).  She also thanked the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs for their funding towards SARWN’s programme of events.

Once the formalities were over, a gourmet buffet second to none was served as everyone sat back and enjoyed the Irish Folk and Ballad Group, KERN, which comprises of Brendan McCreanor, Barry Kieran and Pearse McMahon – Crossmalgen’s finest.  Sincere thanks to the Mayor, Lady Mayor, Fiona Kieran and the staff of the Cross Square Hotel, to the Irish Folk and Ballad Group Kern, and to the fifty plus women who attended the event.

If you would like to participate on any of SARWN’s events, please do not hesitate to call into our offices in Crossmaglen Community Centre.