At the Enniscorthy Athenaeum Limited (formerly Athenaeum Restoration Fund) AGM in Bellefield Complex on Thursday 19th January another successful year was recounted for those in attendance.
After the minutes of the last AGM were read, outgoing Treasurer Dervla Tierney gave a comprehensive account of the financial situation within the fund. A healthy balance of €52,000 was recorded for the end of the financial year, September 2011, which has increased further in the four months since then.
Outgoing secretary Bridie Morrissey followed with a list of events in which the committee had participated over the last twelve months. In what was another very successful year, perhaps the most successful, the committee held a Table Quiz and participated in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, for which they won a prize; participated in the Celebrity Wannabe initiative with Liam Sharkey as Pat Shortt; screened the film ‘Underground’ – a film shot in Enniscorthy in 1969 – and donated the money to Haiti; held the Traditional Building Crafts Fair in the 1798 Centre; hosted a poetry reading event with Colm Toibin and Gabriel Rosenstock, among others, during the Strawberry Fair; were joint beneficiaries of a Lions’ Club organised Golf Classic in July and finally the 3rd Annual Operetta and Dinner by Candlelight in the Riverside Park Hotel. Added to that was a flag collection day, bag-packing at Christmas in Pettitt’s, a number of Coffee Mornings and best of all, the Serenading Santas on Rafter Street.
Bridie also recalled Anne McClean’s Book and Art Sale enterprise during the Strawberry Fair which yielded substantial monies for the fund. She listed her highlight for the year as the handing over of the key to the Athenaeum by Fr. Denis Kelly to Chairman Tony McClean.
Next on the agenda was the Chairman’s address. Tony McClean thanked everyone for their help during the year, and indeed the last three years, whether it be financial, physical or spiritual. He said the bottom line is that funding is essential; the Athenaeum can’t do without it. We rely on the support of the people.
He said that from an informal group of volunteers, whose genesis was in the Legion of Mary Hall in November 2008, the Athenaeum Restoration Fund had now become Enniscorthy Athenaeum Limited – a company limited by guarantee, which now had charity status.
Securing the 30-year lease was also an important part of the year according to the Chairman, this had been secured through the diligent work of Legal Advisor Dermot Davis and Treasurer Dervla Tierney along with others, and special thanks to Fr. Denis Kelly, the parish committee and their solicitors.
A long list of thank yous followed for those who had helped the committee in any way during the year, from patrons to poets and council to credit union. For special mention was Anne McClean who had raised an overwhelming amount of money for the Athenaeum with an auction and book sales.
The question on everyone’s lips was what was the state of affairs with the building itself and Tony told the meeting that the plans were with the architect and planning permission was being submitted. The committee were awaiting tender documents at this stage. He made known, once again, that fire regulations were still the biggest challenge, as they were when the Athenaeum last closed its doors to the public.
Finally the Chairman expressed sympathy to all who had lost loved ones during the year and especially remembered John Murphy, one of the founder members from the very beginning of this journey, who died in September.
With a very solid base and financial platform established over the last three years, the committee is looking forward to rolling up their sleeves and moving forward with the restoration of the Athenaeum in 2012.