'Live your dreams' top chef advises Tullamore Fusion project students

Thursday, 26 July 2018

'Live your dreams' top chef advises Tullamore Fusion project students thumbnail

YOUNG people graduating from the Fusion Youth Diversion Project in Tullamore have been advised to "live their dreams" by one of Ireland's up and coming chefs.
Patrick Walsh, originally from Tullamore, speaking by video link at the Fusion annual graduation ceremony last week, gave a brief inspiring talk to the students of the project from which he graduated some years ago.
Mr Walsh is a chef at one of Dublin's most prestigious restaurants, Chapter One, and previously worked with celebrity chef Nevin Maguire in his Co. Cavan eatery.
Guest of honour at the presentation evening was the Chief Justice of Ireland, Mr Justice Frank Clarke and he was joined by the Circuit Court Judge Keenan Johnson and District Court Justice Catherine Straines.
Echoing Patrick Walsh's earlier comments, Judge Clarke outlined his own progress to the position of Chief Justice having come for a working class Dublin background and lost his father at the tender age of 11.
“I was lucky but you make your own luck to an extent," the Chief Justice stressed.
Prior to the presentation ceremony on Wednesday evening in the Tullamore Court Hotel the Chief Justice visited the Fusion projects offices in Tullamore where he viewed at first hand some of the students work.
He also visited the Acorn Project offices in Edenderry earlier that afternoon, a similar diversion project for young people in north Offaly.
Both Fusion and Acorn are Garda Siochana Youth Diversion Projects which have achieved considerable success since their inception.
Garda Inspector Kieran Keyes said the relatively low numbers of young people coming before the District court in Tullamore was due, in part, to the work of the projects.
Speaking at the outset of Wednesday evening's presentation ceremony, Inspector Keyes, who acted as Master of Ceremonies, extended a warm welcome and said the presence of such "distinguished members of the judiciary was an indication of the support Fusion has been receiving."
Inspector Keyes, who is Chairman of both Youth Diversion Projects, said the schemes were managed by a voluntary committee composed of local solicitors, including Offaly State Solicitor, John Hughes, Garda members, Probation Officers, Juvenile Liasion Officers and representatives of the Health Servcie Executive.
“They give of their free time for the betterment of these young people,' stressed the Inspector.
He added: "I have no doubt the acid test of how successful these projects are is that the number of young people coming before the District Court is very low in co. Offaly."
Gada Emma McKeever, who is based in the Youth Diversion and Crime Prevention Unit in Harcourt St in Dublin, said the primary purpose of the schemes was to keep young people involved in anti-social behaviour away from the criminal justice system.
Directly addressing the young Fusion and Acorn graduates, Deaglan O Brian, Principal Officer of the Equality Division at the Department of Justice, said many of them may "have taken a long and winding road' to arrive at their present destination. He stressed every young person deserved a second chance in life.
Mr O Briain revealed his Department is involved in 105 projects similar to Fusion across the State which cater for some 4,000 participants.
Describing the nature of the schemes' work as challenging, Mr O Briain said there was a moral obligation on the State to provide such services to young people.
Aoife Buggy, Fusion co-ordinator, outlined the project had been in existence for ten years and a total of 150 students had participated during that time.
An overview of the work of the Acorn Project in Edenderry was given by its co-ordinator, Kevin Farrell while former and current students from both areas also spoke of their experiences.
Following brief addresses by Judge Staines and Judge Johnson the student graduates were presented with their certificates by Mr Justice Clarke.


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