Streuth! Governor–General of Australia drops in to say g’day

by Gazette Reporter
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It was a red-letter day for Balbriggan Men’s Shed when the Governor-General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, paid a visit to their workshop recently.

Sir Peter and his wife Lady Lynne were on a four-day trip through Ireland as part of the Aussie government’s attempts to strengthen Australia-Ireland relations.

Following a working lunch with President Michael D Higgins in Aras an Uachtarain, Sir Peter spent Saturday morning at the shed.

The Men’s Shed concept originated in Australia and according to Sir Peter, who is patron of the Australian Men’s Shed movement, the growth of clubs across Ireland was vital to improve mental health standards in the country.

Balbriggan Men’s Shed is regarded as one of the most progressive Men’s Sheds in the country.

Sir Peter told those gathered: “It’s vital to identify that men, particularly in their middle years and onwards, can often find themselves searching for a sense of community and purpose.

“This provides exactly to those needs and offers a sense of fellowship, involvement and the opportunity to produce things which are beautiful and useful.”

After the visit, the Governor-General made his way to Skerries, where he and his wife enjoyed local seafood and a pint at Stoop Your Head.

Chairman of Balbriggan Men’s Shed, Johnny McLeer spoke to The Gazette about the honour bestowed on them by this visit.

“It was a really wonderful occasion for us,” said a proud Johnny. “We were chosen for the visit by the Irish Men’s Shed Association because of our location and because of the look of our shed.

“They co-ordinated the entire visit with the Australian embassy.

“They were aware of our shed and prior to this visit, the Australian ambassador paid us a visit, along with embassy officials and officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs to check out the place and they were all simply blown away by the location and the look of our shed, simply because it looks like a shed.

“All in all it was a great day and a great honour for us and all the men are very proud to have been chosen and to be recognised in this way.”

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