We were delighted to host Uachtarán na hÉireann, President Michael D. Higgins, at our services in north inner city Dublin on Monday, November 25th.
Peter McVerry Trust was marking the 40th anniversary of our first service, launched by Fr Peter McVerry in 1979. Today, the service caters for young people under the age of 18 who are in need of residential care.
Speaking at the anniversary event, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, Pat Doyle, thanked President Higgins for his dedication to human rights and support of Peter McVerry Trust’s work.
“Tabor House celebrates its 40th year. We have some former staff, long-serving staff, new staff and current staff here with us. We also have Paddy with us, who was the first client ever here in Tabor House,” Mr Doyle began.
“I want to welcome you all to Tabor House and I want to thank you for taking the time to come here. It is really heartening to know that our President stands with human rights and with the work that we do, so thank you very much,” Mr Doyle said.
President Higgins commended the staff of the service, stressing the importance of social care workers and residential care for young people. He also met Paddy, who was the first resident of the service when it opened 40 years ago.
“No one has a perfect run through life. It’s very important as they (young people) are putting the pieces of their life together that they have a place where you can choose to put on your own headphones and listen to your own music. That you can put the imprint of yourself and the different intimacies on your own space, and people feel safe then in many cases.
“It’s a privilege to be here. May places like this multiply, and may it happen soon,” said President Higgins.
“I’d just like to say that I’m very pleased to be here and it was absolutely lovely to meet Paddy. I want to thank you all for all you’ve been doing for 40 years,” President Higgins added.
40 Years of Tabor House
Looking back on the 40 years that have passed since opening his first service, Fr Peter McVerry detailed how our services grew in Ireland.
“I want to sincerely thank you for coming down. It really is inspiring for us and it does reflect your own commitment to people on the margins,” Fr McVerry said to President Higgins.
“When I opened this 40 years ago…it was just a small, little house with shared bedrooms and I thought I was going to run it for a couple years and then I’d go off and do something else. But young people were leaving at 16 and going back on the streets, so we had to open a hostel for the over 16s.
“As numbers grew and grew we had to open more hostels, then the childcare act came in and we had to separate out the under 16s from the over 16s, so we had to open more hostels. Then the drug problem hit Dublin and we had to open the detox centre,” Fr McVerry said.
“One thing just led to another, so really this was a seed that grew into something wonderful. Totally unexpected, but I’m really delighted it has grown that way,” he continued.
Concluding on the day’s events, Fr McVerry highlighted the vital role housing plays in allowing people to live fulfilling lives.
“Housing is probably the most fundamental human right. If you don’t have a house you don’t have a life and all the other rights disappear. The right to adequate food, your health will deteriorate, you cannot access education and you cannot access employment if you don’t have a home.
“I’m delighted that we in the Trust can make a small contribution to the rights of people who otherwise would have those rights neglected,” he said.