Lions Club unveils annual Briquettes campaign

St Vincent de Paul to distribute ‘to needy’ as demand rises

There is more demand than ever before for The Society of St Vincent de Paul’s (SVDP) services in Co. Roscommon, with no sign of an economic recovery taking hold in the county, Michael McNeela, the president of the society’s St Coman’s Conference in Roscommon town, has said.

  Mr. McNeela was speaking last Thursday at Roscommon Business Park at the Racecourse Road, on the outskirts of the county town, where the Roscommon Lions Club’s annual briquette project was launched.

  For the past four years, the club has run the project with the support of St Vincent de Paul, Bord na Móna and Shannonside Radio.

  This year, they raised a total of €4,500 through their charitable efforts: Shannonside raising €2,000, the Lions Club €1,500 and the SVDP €1,000.

  The Lions Club then approached Bord na Móna, who have kindly provided 2,048 bales of briquettes that would normally cost €8,200. 

            Last Thursday, the briquettes were being transported from Tom Kelly’s warehouse at the Racecourse Road to the six SVDP conferences in the county: Boyle, Elphin, Roscommon, Rooskey, Castlerea and Strokestown.

  Mr McNeela said that, through the project, it is expected that fuel will be provided to around 50 families in the vicinity of Roscommon town.

  “They are invaluable to people, especially at this time of the year, to keep their houses warm,” he said.  Demand for the conference’s services has increased recently, he said.

  “Since I became involved with Vincent de Paul about ten years ago, it seems to increase year on year – people struggling to keep their houses warm, and for other necessities as well, like food,” he said.

  Asked if there was any sign of the economic recovery taking hold, Mr. McNeela said: “Certainly not with us, no.”   Up to 200 needy families in the conference’s catchment area – which also includes Fourmilehouse, Donamon, Four Roads, Ballyforan and Knockcroghery and Ballyleague – are assisted each year.

  Mr Neela described the Lions Club’s briquettes project as a “fantastic idea”, which was a “marvellous gesture” by all concerned.

  Several members of the Roscommon Lions Club were present last Thursday, assisting with the transfer of fuel, including: Michael Lennon, Cllr. Kathleen Shanagher, Dermot Cox, Jimmy Hoban and Padraig Nolan.

  Roscommon Lions Club President, Noel Connolly, who was also present, said that there was a big demand for the briquettes.

  “The feedback every year has been that the need is there, particularly at this time of the year, when the cold snaps sets in, and fuel poverty is at its height,” he said.