Lots of Glencree members turned up  on a cold Thursday in November to tea, coffee and delicious scones from the helpful staff at the Armoury cafe in the Bridge Building to hear about Glencree’s work and plans for the future.  Some had been members since 1974 while others had joined more recently.  Chair of the Glencree Board, Barbara Walshe welcomed everybody emphasising the importance of their help, wisdom and cooperation in Glencree’s life and future plans.

Glencree’s CEO Will Devas and Eamon Rafter talked about Glencree’s current work with young people, women and legacy issues.  Will stated that Glencree had had a ‘good year’ the finances had stabilised, the work had progressed and there was now time to think about Glencree’s future role in the world.

Glencree’s long-term commitment to addressing the legacy of the conflict in the interests of having a peace that will last will continue for the next ten years.    Both Will and Eamon stressed that Glencree is cognisant of issues that currently need attention in Ireland; these include playing our part in the development of a culturally diverse and integrated Ireland be it with refugees and asylum seekers or the Travelling community while continuing our work with women and young people.

The development of the site is seen as a priority and a small start is being made enabling the opening of the Bridge Building for a limited period each day to facilitate visitors to Glencree to learn more about the history and work of the Centre. The Bridge Building is currently offering hostel style accommodation thanks to the enthusiasm of Carol at the Armoury Café which is also helping to fund the peace centre.

Members had lots of questions and suggestions, these included;

  • Was it possible to have international volunteers back living on the site?
  • What would attract young people to Glencree today?
  • Is the site at Glencree really important to the work being done or could it be done elsewhere?
  • How can existing members encourage other people to support Glencree?
  • What kind of volunteers is Glencree looking for? And for long? And in what areas?
  • What kind of social media presence has Glencree and how much attention are we giving to that?
  • Does Glencree need to be a place where restorative work with abuse victims could take place as a source of healing considering its own history?
  • What has happened to the Resource room?

A lively discussion offered answers to some of the questions.

It was felt that Glencree was not yet in a position to fund international volunteers on site but would like to in the future. It was felt that ‘the site experience’ at Glencree was an important part of Glencree’s work but said that some of the work also takes place at other locations through Ireland.

Communications and social media were improving at Glencree but still had a way to go to help the public and others to understand the extent and nature of our work.

Chair asked for volunteers who were willing to staff the Bridge Building at weekends for a few hours, volunteers to help out on a site working group or to work on making the Resource room available for use again.

Another meeting of members is planned for late Spring.