An acute shortage of volunteers to assist with the annual St Patrick's Day in Edenderry almost forced the cancellation of this year's event, but a novel intervention on Facebook has ensured that the North Offaly town will now have a parade on March 17 after all.
Shane Loughlin, a stalwart on the Edenderry St Patrick's Day Committee for a number of years, decided to issue a plea on Facebook for volunteers to come forward to help with the annual parade, and called a meeting in Larkins, which was attended by over 40 people offering to give a helping hand.
“We were sick and tired of trying to get people to help out, and we had tried everything, but nothing was working,” explains Shane “so I decided to put up a Facebook post aimed at saving the Edenderry parade, and it got a great reaction.”
The parade was “on the point of being scrapped altogether,” says Shane “so I felt I had nothing to lose by putting up a post, and then we called a public meeting and we couldn't believe the number of people who turned up and offered to help.”
A new committee was set up, and among its members are local Independent Cllr Noel Cribbin and his two daughters, Gillian and Ciara; Tricia, Stephen and Christy St George; Marcus Malone, Shane Loughlin and his father, Ger; Alice Doyle; Judy Kennedy and Peter Kane.
“We have a very strong and active committee now, and our plans for the 2018 Parade are very well advanced at this stage, and we are hoping that everyone in the North Offaly area will come out and support us on St Patrick's Day,” says Shane Loughlin.
However, one difficulty Shane has encountered is in securing bands to provide music at the parade. “All the bands would normally be contacting me around September, but when they came to me last year I wasn't in a position to tell them that we would definitely have a parade in Edenderry, so some of them have now committed to attending other parades,” he says. “But if there are any bands out there who would like to join us in Edenderry on March 17 we would love to hear from them.”
This year will mark the seventh successive year that Edenderry has staged a St Patrick's Day Parade and there is no shortage of enthusiasm and excitement among the new Committee, so Edenderry definitely is the place to be on the feast day of our national Saint this year.