President in awe of Great Northern Haven

MARY McAleese joked that she and her husband Martin would be looking for one of the houses at Great Northern Haven when her term as president comes to an end later this year.

MARY McAleese joked that she and her husband Martin would be looking for one of the houses at Great Northern Haven when her term as president comes to an end later this year.

The president visited the project in Barrack Street and received a guided tour from Rod Bond of the Nestling Project in DkIT.

She was immediately impressed, declaring “I love it” before adding “it’s like living in the future.”

The president was told that 15 of the 16 two bedroom flats are currently occupied and then met with some of the residents living there.

In her address to the large gathering at the event, she described Great Northern Haven as a “really special place that is a remarkable in so many ways.”

She joked that here and Martin were there on “reci” as they would “probably need it soon.”

She said, however, that it was “an absolute joy” to visit the site to “see what united intelligence can come up with when they apply their minds.”

She added: “Yeats said this was no country for old men but I was not talking about Louth or Dundalk.”

The president said: “We know everyone wants to stay at home but at times the home starts to work against us and we’ve to adapt. Here we can see what happens when you get a purpose built building made to adapt.”

She referred to Great Northern Haven as a “Tír na nÓg” but added that “it’s a place where people live real lives, happy lives and safe lives.”

Earlier, Dundalk Town Council chairman Cllr Conor Keelan thanked the president for her visit and the residents for opening their homes to all those gathered.

He said the project was “a first rate example of public service delivery at its best” and added that Great Northern Haven was a “solid foundation for a great community to flourish.”

County Manager Conn Murray then concluded proceedings by describing President McAleese’s visit as “another wonderful day to be present in Co Louth.”

He told those gathered that the county was one of only nine places in the EU recognised as an age friendly county. He said this was not just a piece of rhetoric, however, saying that they wanted to create a model in the county that would expand throughout Ireland.