Tributes paid to retiring Tidy Towns stalwarts

Tributes paid to retiring Tidy Towns stalwarts

Kieran Forde and Ray Kelly at KCA AGM 2018.
Tributes were paid to Kieran and Joan Forde at last night's AGM of Kilcullen Community Action when they announced their decision to retire from Tidy Towns and KCA activities, writes Brian Byrne.

Outgoing chairman Ray Kelly said he couldn't recall exactly how many years Kieran had been active in Kilcullen Tidy Towns, but he could remember him being involved, with Joan 'always there', accompanied by their daughter Sinead when she was just a small child.

Kieran served in many capacities with KCA/Tidy Towns, including chairman, secretary and treasurer, and was a key participant in the transformation of the organisation from a loosely-knit community group to a limited company with charitable status.

"Through the years he has been part of most of the major projects and instrumental in many of the changes at the organisation as it has evolved," Ray Kelly said, expressing his thanks on behalf of the committee and all its members for Kieran's and Joan's contribution to the group and to the community. He said that Kieran's attention to detail had been invaluable for KCA. "I learned from him that if you prepare well, the rest is easy."

He added that 'their stepping away will be our loss, but they will not be far away from us', noting that the couple's Saturday morning visits to An Tearmann will remain a point of contact with their many Tidy Towns friends.

Kieran thanked Ray for his comments, and reminded those present that it was 14 years since he had told them of health problems. "I didn't think then that I'd still be so involved today." He completed his final official function by detailing the financial position of KCA, which is in a correct and sound state.

In his chairman's address, Ray said there is 'a lot going on' with KCA/Tidy Towns at the moment, far more than could be fully discussed in a few minutes at the AGM. He noted that a number of new major projects were under way, including the market square development, and the launch (tonight, Thursday) of the Kilcullen Sustainable Energy Community, organised by KCA member Padraig Maloney. On the former, he said he hoped plans would be available 'in the next couple of weeks' that will show the level of progress there.

"The KSEC will also prove to be a very worthwhile project," he said, noting that in addition to its potential for cutting the town's energy costs, both for businesses and individuals, it can provide 'kudos' in the annual Tidy Towns Competition, which has a new emphasis on energy-related matters. "I know it is a major bugbear to me that we don't always get the points I think we deserve in the competition, but in the end the work we do is for the town."

He said that KCA had put more emphasis on accessing funding through grants and other sources from outside organisations, with considerable success, and he expressed his appreciation especially for the support from Kildare County Council in recent years.

Ray announced that he was stepping down from the chairman role, having served for two years in the position. He thanked all who had helped him during that time, and noted that there have been a number of new and active members to KCA in the last couple of years. "There are also many other people out there who help with the work and the projects, and it has been a feature that any time I asked for help it came in bucketfuls."

New officers for KCA will be elected at the committee's first meeting following the AGM.

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