National President's Address

AGM - Dublin - May 2012

Good afternoon everyone. As President of the Guild I am delighted to have the opportunity to greet you and thank you for being here today. I hope you enjoyed Professor Gerard Fealy's address and presentation this morning.

It is wonderful to think the Guild has been here for 90 years. We should remember with gratitude those good people who had the foresight to set it up and also the many dedicated members who have kept it going down the years. Hopefully we will continue into the future.

Since our last AGM we have had a very busy year. Three Executive meetings, which were well attended, were held in the Bon Secour Hospital, Glasnevin, Dublin. Many thanks to Sr. John Marie and her community for the use of their Board Room and also for providing refreshments during the meetings.
In July 2011 we received notification from Revenue seeking information re our charitable status. The required documents and a copy of our financial statement were submitted on time. On August 8th 2011 we received a letter of approval from Revenue granting us charitable status with Tax relief up to 2016 when there will be a further review.

We were very concerned and upset by the Government's decision to close the Irish Embassy in the Vatican. I wrote to the Taoiseach, Mr.Enda Kenny and the Tanaiste and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Eamonn Gilmore on behalf of the Guild to express our displeasure. Mr. Kenny's secretary replied with a long explanation for their action ,the reason being mostly economic. Mr. Gilmore did not acknowledge my letter.

I attended the launch of the Social Programme in Wynn's Hotel, Dublin on the 24th Oct.2011. It was very successful and a lovely occasion. Many thanks to Pat Boyle and her team for all their hard work. Unfortunately it was the night of the extremely bad weather with major flooding on the east coast. A health care worker from the Philippines and a young Garda in Wicklow lost their lives on that night. May they rest in peace.

The XXVI International Conference of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Health Care Workers was held in Vatican City from the 24th to the 26th November 2011 at which I with Josephine Bartley and Bernie Spillane had the privilege to attend. The Conference Theme was on Suffering and dedicated to Blessed John Paul 11. The whole Conference was interesting and informative with a wide range of speakers. Two of our CICIAMS colleagues were among the presenters at Round Tables. During our stay in Rome we attended an Opera in an Art Gallery and on the closing evening of the Conference all attendees were invited to a very special concert in the Great Hall in the Vatican. Two major Orchestras and a number of Soloists entertained us.

An Executive Board meeting of CICIAMS had been held just prior to the Conference so a number of members including Mrs.Marylee Meehan International President and the incoming Ecclesiastical Adviser, Rev.Thomas Nairn OFM were also present.

We were very sad to hear of the death of the Parish Priest of Knock, Monsignor Joseph Quinn on December 1st 2011 May he rest in Peace. A letter of sympathy and Mass card for him were sent to Fr.Richard Gibbons who has now been appointed as Parish Priest in Knock.

The Guild received Christmas Greetings from Cardinal Sean Brady in December He is going through a difficult time now. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

I wrote to Fr. Kevin Doran, Eucharistic Congress Organiser, advising him of the interest of some of our members in volunteering their services during the Congress. Fliers and general information were received in return.

I received correspondence from Mrs. Marylee Meehan, International President CICIAMS regarding the next General Council meeting which will be held in Lusaka, Zambia, Southern Africa on Monday 25th June 2012. Elections to the Executive Board will take place on Wednesday 27th June 2012 Ten members of the Guild are planning to attend.

I wrote on your behalf to Archbishop Charles Brown, on his appointment as Apostolic Nuncio, to congratulate and welcome him to Ireland. In his reply he thanked us and sent kind regards and prayerful best wishes to you all.

During the year we received letters from two Pro Life groups seeking support and financial assistance. The most recent appeal is from Professor William Binchy. The Guild must support these very good causes not only in words but in deeds.

In January the Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly set up a 14 member expert group comprising of medical, nursing and legal professionals to examine the whole issue of the right to abortion following the ruling of the European Court of Justice. A report will be presented to the Minister at the end of July 2012. We hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will guide them in their deliberations and that we will have a good and just outcome for all.

The Annual Pilgrimage to Knock was once again a happy and joyful occasion when we met old friends and greeted new ones. Thanks to Fr. Bryan Nolan the Chief Celebrant for choosing the readings for Mass and for his usual meaningful homily. Thanks also to Fr. Paddy Carey from Kilkenny and Mary Teresa Regan, Roscommon for leading us in the Stations of the Cross and the Rosary and all members who participated in any way during the day. I'd like to say a special word of thanks to the members of the Filipino choir who enhanced the Celebration of the Eucharist in Knock with their beautiful music and singing.
Sincere thanks to my fellow officers, Sister Bridge Commins, Vice-President, Therese McCormack, National Secretary and Sister Margaret Vincent, National Treasurer for their support and hard work on all our behalf. I would also like to thank Josephine Bartley and Bernie Spillane on their commitment to CICIAMS over the last number of years as Acting Secretary General and Acting International Treasurer.

Finally a big thank you to Mary Mulcahy, President of the Dublin Branch and her team for making all the arrangements for this Annual General Meeting. It is very fitting that we are here in Dublin where the Guild was born in 1922 to celebrate our 90th Birthday.

Brede Murphy, National President, CNGI