SPEECH BY CLLR RICHARD BUTLER, CATHAOIRLEACH OF LIMERICK COUNTY COUNCIL AT SHANE GEOGHEGAN CIVIC RECEPTION ON MONDAY 12 JULY 2010
“Fellow Councillors, Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to begin by welcoming each and every one of you to Limerick County Hall today.
We have gathered to remember and celebrate the life of the late Shane Geoghegan, who tragically lost his life on November 9th 2008.
I wish to particularly welcome members of Shane’s family along with his friends.
I know how proud you must be feeling today and would like to thank you for approving today’s event.
Of course, a Civic Reception is the highest accolade at the disposal of Limerick County Council for any individual, group or organisation.
This evening we are holding a Civic Reception in memory of someone who represented all that is good about our local community, someone who made a difference to people’s lives when he was alive, and someone who continues to make a difference even after his death.
Words could not possibly describe how those closest to Shane felt when they learned of his death.
All I can say is that the people of Limerick City and County, along with the entire country grieved with you.
Shane’s murder was a mindless attack on the local community and civilised society, as much as it was an attack on a much loved, honest and respected member of the local community.
On that fateful day in November 2008, someone else’s private war suddenly reared its ugly head in the wider community with devastating effect.
Shane’s death was mourned not only here in Limerick, but across the country and further afield.
The outpouring of grief and anger following this tragedy was unprecedented. It served to unite an entire community.
In a wonderful tribute to Shane and fittingly in recognition of his love for rugby, a minute silence was held prior to the international rugby game between Ireland and New Zealand at Croke Park while a minute silence was observed at other sporting and social events throughout the country.
Shane’s beloved Garryowen rugby club also received countless messages of support from sporting organisations around the country and abroad.
Politicians spoke out unanimously against criminality while Shane’s death also resulted in a refocusing of efforts by Gardai and the wider justice system to crack down on criminal activity.
In the weeks and months following Shane’s death, anger and grief were eventually replaced by a sense of determination among his family and friends that his name would not be forgotten and that his legacy would amount to more than just another crime statistic.
As a result, The Shane Geoghegan Trust was established in 2009.
Many of you gathered here this evening have helped establish the Trust and continue to carry out wonderful work in supporting children from various communities throughout Limerick.
In less than 24 hours, thousands of people will gather in Thomond Park to participate in ‘A Day For Shane’.
I would encourage as many people as possible to support tomorrow’s programme of events as by doing so, people will be honouring Shane’s memory as well as contributing to a Trust which continues to make a real difference to lives of others.
In more ways than one ‘A Day For Shane’ is a ‘A Day For Limerick’ and ‘A Day For Ireland”.
The proceeds from tomorrow’s event will go towards providing children with an alternative to criminal or anti-social behaviour by making a range of sporting and cultural activities available to them.
I wish the organisers and participants the very best and congratulate them on their continued work.
Special mention should also be given to Shane’s uncle Tony for his fantastic work, as well as Sunderland Chairman Niall Quinn, CEO of Munster FC and Limerick FC Pat O’Sullivan, and Munster Rugby President Declan Madden for their valuable support in organising this event.
I would like to echo Declan’s sentiments on tomorrow’s event when he said – It is appropriate that Munster Rugby supports the Shane Geoghegan Trust as Shane was a true rugby person who played and loved the game, was a great clubman with Garryowen F.C., and embodied all the qualities of heart and spirit which makes Munster Rugby what it is.
There is no greater compliment than being honoured by your peers and I am sure Shane’s family takes great pride in this.
Shane made people’s lives better throughout his life and his association with this Trust will no doubt continue to remind people of that wonderful quality.
Tomorrow will be all about raising funds for the Shane Geoghegan Trust.
Today, however, is a day for Shane’s family and friends - a day to remember Shane and celebrate his life.
Once again, I would like to thank you for your presence here today.
On a personal level I know that this Civic Reception means a great deal to you and I am delighted that the event will be officially marked with a plaque dedicated to Shane’s memory.
The Cathaoirleach and Members of Limerick County Council, on behalf of the people of County Limerick, dedicate this plaque to the memory of Shane who contributed to making peoples lives better and his continuing contribution through the Shane Geoghegan Trust in helping lives shine.
I now invite you to join me in the main Foyer for the plaque unveiling.
Go raibh mile maith agaibh.”
CLLR RICHARD BUTLER
CATHAOIRLEACH OF LIMERICK COUNTY COUNCIL