President Mary McAleese and Archbishop Desmond Tutu were in Ballymun on Tuesday 17th February to launch the two new facilities provided by BRL; The Music Room at St. Joseph’s School and the BRL Umbro Sports Arena at the Trinity Comprehensive School and to attend a Civic reception to celebrate the Archbishop’s visit to Ballymun. The Archibishop was visiting Ireland at the invitation of ISABA (Irish South African Business Association).
Click on the player above to play a video clip from Archbishop Tutu and President McAlesse's visit to Ballymun.
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The BRL Umbro Sports Arena, situated on the grounds of Trinity Comprehensive school, will make Ballymun one of the top destinations for FAI’s 5-a-side indoor futsal tournaments. The Trinity Comprehensive School has also joined the Amawale project that twins it with South African schools. This gives the school children opportunities to connect with each other, to learn about their similarities and differences and thus create new friendships.
The Music Room is a dedicated practice and performance space for the children of Ballymun Music Programme, and will be open to community groups and local societies. The facility was designed by BRL and is built to a very high acoustic standard, with a sprung timber floor suitable for both, St. Joseph’s Wind Band and dance. The DIT Ballymun Music Programme - started ten years ago - has grown to involve seven primary and secondary schools in the area and has about 700 children involved each year.
Children from the music programme treated our President and Archbishop Tutu to a very special piece called “A New Day”. Archbishop Tutu paid tribute to the children of the music programme when he described their performance as “fabulous”. Over 500 guests gathered for the reception in the Civic Centre to celebrate these achievements where both President McAleese and Archbishop Tutu gave warm heart felt speeches. At one stage Archbishop Tutu got all the guests up off their seats, swaying their arms in the air while echoing his words how they were “very special people”.
President McAleese also paid tribute to the regeneration of Ballymun when she said “This is a place to be very, very proud of and where once it seemed the rest of Ireland was racing ahead of Ballymun, now this is the place we look to, to see what we are capable of overcoming if only we work well, fluently and generously together”.
Click on images below to enlarge
Archbishop Desmond Tutu arrives at St. Joseph's School
The Archbishop and two of the pupils from St Joseph’s School, James Halpin and Martin Maughan
President Mary McAleese greets the Archibishop at the opening of the Music Room at St. Joseph’s School
Pupils perform for Archbishop Tutu and President Aleese at the opening of the Music Room at St. Josph's School
The Archbishop and the President enjoying the performance
The Archbishop captures the pupil's imagination with a story
President McAleese unveils a plaque to celebrate the opening of the Music Room
The crowd at the Civic Centre Ballymun waiting for the President and Archbishop to arrive
The Archbishop gets a standing ovation
The Archbishop during his speech
A wonderful moment as Archbishop Tutu gets the crowd to raise their arms and sway while repeating "we are very special people"
The President looks on as the Archbishop accepts a presentation from Ballymun Regeneration Ltd Chairman, Ronan King
Arriving at the BRL Umbro Sports Arena, situated in the grounds of the Trinity Comprehensive School
The Archbishop cuts the ribbon to declare the facility open accompanied by Fiona Gallagher, Trinity Comprehensive School Vice Principle and Her Excellency Ms. Priscilla Jana, South African Ambassador to Ireland
Archbishop Tutu addresses the crowd
The CEO of the FAI, John Delaney presents the Archbishop with a Ireland jersey
Archbishop Tutu, Lord Mayor Cllr. Eibhlin Byrne, John Delaney, CEO of the FAI and Ciaran Murray, MD of Ballymun Regeneration Ltd. with some of the kids who will use the facility