Monaghan men visit Dáil to highlight benefits of Men’s Sheds
Yet more exciting news from the Monaghan Shed. Following the recent piece on RTE 1 Radio, the group were invited to visit Leinster House on Tuesday 13 May. The following article appeared in The Irish Times.
Fifteen members of the Men’s Shed Monaghan visited Leinster House yesterday and highlighted the growing phenomenon in Ireland, where there are now some 100 groups.
They were invited by Independent Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell, who spoke about the group on RTÉ’s Today
Ms O’Donnell described the phenomenon, which started in Australia, as being about “lives transformed”.
She said: “It’s about time on your hands, pottering about. It’s also to do with men’s health, because they tend to go into a hole or hide their health problems and feel they are a nuisance.
“The men’s shed came about to increase their confidence, and it’s about men’s health and a place of belonging and health information and community,” where “they sit, chat, have a cup of tea, do carpentry” and activities such as gardening in their new allotments.
Group of 50 The Monaghan group of 50 operates from the former St Davnet’s psychiatric hospital and was given the premises by the HSE, the then Monaghan VEC and the Peace Tree Partnership.
Secretary Peter Kavanagh got involved as a part-time tutor with the former VEC and now Cavan-Monaghan Education Training Board.
The first project was home refurbishment and maintenance, involving the repair and decoration of the premises the group was to use when it started 2½ years ago.
“I came to work and stayed to play,” he said of the group, which links up with a men’s shed group in Armagh.
Treasurer Patsy McPhillips who was born with neurofibromatosis, a long-term illness, described the group as a “home away from home”.
Mr McPhillips, who has never had a permanent job because of his illness, said: “I never really met anybody in my life and was in and out of hospital.” He suffered a severe bout of depression after the death of his mother in 2005 and of a good friend, and ended up in hospital.
He subsequently became involved with Solas, a drop-in centre for people coming out of mental health illness, before joining the men’s shed when it started up.
“I haven’t looked back since,” he said.
Author: Marie O’Halloran
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