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30 Sept 2022

Civic reception is a special night for Nenagh Special Summer Camp volunteers

Civic reception is a special night for Nenagh Special Summer Camp volunteers

Sinead Daffy of Nenagh Special Summer Camp accepts the scroll of honour at the Nenagh Municipal District Council's civic reception for the group Picture: Odhran Ducie

By ronan dodd ronan.dodd@tipperarystar.ie @tippstar

A chance meeting and the realisation that while life is not always fair but somethings can be changed, led to the establishment of Nenagh Special Summer Camp 31 years ago.

The group was honoured with a civic reception by Nenagh Municipal District Council at which the early days of the camp were recalled by one of the founders, Sinead Daffy.

“My son, Donncha, was a pupil in St Anne's in Roscrea, and 31 years ago I noticed one mother was really upset because she had dropped her other child to a camp but there was no place for her special son,” she recalled.

“Life isn't fair and something we can't change, but I felt we could change that,” said Sinead.

She said that from that idea, they started to talk and when the special camp started they had about 10 children the first year.

“This is a community story,” she said. “The cruelty is we felt there was no place for them but there was a place in our own community.”

Ms Daffy said that getting the civic reception was for all the community in Nenagh “because we are a marvellous community”.

She paid tribute to all the volunteers over the years who had helped at the camp and had slowly broken down barriers, teaching people to be kind, compassionate and maybe not to judge.

MDC Cathaoirleach Cllr Mattie Ryan said they were delighted to honour the founders and the curernt committee.

“Your camp is a unique voluntary effort that contributes to the wellbeing of families in a very special way,” he said.

Cllr Ryan highlighted the camp's buddy system which sees a volunteer shadow attendees, giving the assistance. The camp has an annual cost of about €25,000, and the only grant they get is €2,000.

“The balance is fundraised and the people of Nenagh have never been found wanting,” he said.

The civic reception was mooted by Cllr Seamus Morris, who said it was a “small thank you for the fantastic work you do”.

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