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Irish Women’s Network of BC: What would we have done without you?!

EILIS COURTNEY who is now President of the Irish Women’s Network was honoured as Irish Woman of the Year in 2009.

By EILIS COURTNEY
President, Irish Women’s Network of BC

VANCOUVER – There is no doubt that the Irish Women’s Network of BC would not have got off the ground in 1998 nor would it have survived and grown in the early years without the support of The Celtic Connection.

Having conceived the idea of an Irish Women’s Network after chatting with some other Irish women (members of an earlier incarnation of the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce), Mary Monks Hatch knew that the only way to get the word out to the wider Irish community was through The Celtic Connection, and so she sent a paragraph to Maura to include in the paper.

The response was enthusiastic, and with a meeting arranged, Maura obligingly published details, ensuring a very encouraging attendance at the first gathering as well as subsequent meetings.

The women attending our very first meeting had agreed that no fee would be charged for membership to ensure that lack of funds would not be a barrier to participation.

This meant, of course, that there was rarely a budget for communicating to our community.  However, Maura and Catholine saw the value of the IWN within the community and did everything they possibly could to encourage our efforts and activities.

Throughout the years, they supported us in every way by promoting all our initiatives in the paper, often patiently waiting for us to provide articles when we were late for the deadline!!

They would attend as many events as they could, bringing their camera to capture the places, faces and fun.

In the days before everyone had smart phones, the photos that Catholine and Maura took for the paper created a wonderful record of the activities coordinated by the IWN and indirectly created an archive of our network events.

On top of that, they would also often generously provide gift baskets for any fundraiser we were running and support all community philanthropic initiatives.

Its hard to imagine the community without The Celtic Connection – I personally always looked forward to receiving my hard copy paper in the mail and reading it at my leisure.

But as they say, all good things must come to an end and on behalf of myself, past presidents Mary Monks Hatch and Deirdre O’Ruairc, the IWN executive committee and all the members, past and present of the Irish Women’s Network of BC, I want to sincerely thank Maura and Catholine for their incredible work for our community and wish them well in the future.

Learn more about the Irish Women’s Network of B.C. at: www.irishwomenbc.net

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