A crowd of over 100 men’s sheds members gathered at the Metropole Hotel in Cork to see the Irish Men’s Sheds Association awarded the European Citizens’ Prize.
The prestigious award, conferred by the European Parliament upon the recommendation of MEPs, has previously been granted to organisations such as the GAA and Foroige.
The Irish Men’s Sheds Association was honoured with the award after being nominated by Kerry MEP Sean Kelly, a long-standing supporter of men’s sheds. The award recognises the contributions that men’s sheds have made to communities throughout the island.
Over 100 men’s sheds members witnessed the occasion, with attendees serenaded by the men’s sheds choirs of Mayfield and Carrigaline. Barry Sheridan, CEO of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association, expressed his delight on a red-letter day for the movement.
“This is an incredible honour”, said Sheridan. “I’d particularly like to thank Sean Kelly and his colleague Deirdre Clune, both for the nomination and for coming here today to present us with the award”.
“This award”, he continued, “acknowledges almost a decade of hard work and dedication by thousands of men’s sheds members throughout the country, who have made the movement what it is today. Men’s sheds are now synonymous with civic spirit and community engagement, and that’s something we’re incredibly proud of”.
Sean Kelly MEP spoke glowingly on the impact of men’s sheds: “As Fine Gael’s leader in the European Parliament, I was proud to see my delegation nominate a positive, community-based organisation such as Irish Men’s Sheds and it is even better to see the association presented with the award at today’s event.
“Irish Men’s Sheds are filling an important need in our communities, not just in Ireland, but right across the EU. We are hopeful that the European Citizen’s prize will encourage the movement to expand into every Member State in the EU. I congratulate everyone involved in the Irish Men’s Sheds on this important accolade, and encourage them to continue the great work they are doing”
With over 400 men’s sheds in operation, serving a weekly total of 10,000 members, Ireland has the greatest density of men’s sheds in the world. Friday’s event was the second major outing for men’s sheds in Cork in quick succession, with 500 having attended a Men’s Sheds Gathering at Pairc Ui Chaoimh last September – the largest such event ever hosted anywhere in the world.