22 December 2021 No Comments by The Northern Standard

‘Believe that the farther shore is reachable from here. Believe in miracles, cures and healing wells.’

Seamus Heaney’s words have been used often during the last year or so, to give us hope in difficult times. We have to believe that we can get to the farther shore. As another year that has been truly like no other draws to a close, it gives us an opportunity to reflect a little on all that has happened. In truth, we will not miss the past couple of years. They brought more than their fair share of disruption, isolation, pain and loss. However, we must have hope in our hearts at Christmas time and look forward to the future. Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, the Saviour of the world. For Christians, He is the Light of the World (John 8:12), and He comes to illuminate the darkness. 2021 provided us with inspiring moments of solace, with our local communities stepping up to the plate to be there for others. We are all inspired by the heroic work of the women and men in the front-line services who continue to inspire us. I commend and thank each and every one of them. We all have a part to play. Christmas is a time for coming home and being with and celebrating family. However, this year we are being asked yet again to be cautious and limit our social contacts, which is totally against our nature, but we need to protect the vulnerable. Christmas can often be a difficult and lonely time for people, so was this year with all that has gone on. I ask you to make that phone
call and reach out to the people who are alone, lonely and are in need.

I want to also use this occasion to commend all the staff of Monaghan County Council who have kept all the services open and provided much help and assistance to many over the past year. Also, all the outdoor staff who will be working over the Christmas Holidays to keep the roads gritted, our streets clean and to be on call for any emergencies. Monaghan County Council has been recognised on the National stage by recently winning several awards in the Chambers Ireland – Excellence in Local Government Awards 2021. With Monaghan County Council being one of the smallest Local Authorities in the country, it proves yet again that they can — and do — compete with the best. The Excellence in Local Government Awards showcase best practice in Local Government and recognise the skills, hard work, innovation and enthusiasm within it. The three winning projects were: Patrick Kavanagh Centre and the branded Kavanagh Trail (Supporting Tourism Category); Cavan Monaghan Online Science Festival 2020 (Festival of the Year Category) and My Right to Vote – General Election Voter Education (Disability Services Provision Category). To win three National Awards is a phenomenal achievement for a small authority. In January, when the whole of the Country was in lockdown, the Library Services launched the ‘Keep Well’ campaign. The campaign was aimed at showing people of all ages how we can mind our own physical and mental health and wellbeing by adding healthy and helpful habits to our daily and weekly routines. The initiatives included creating Family…

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