Offaly writers support international charity

THREE Offaly writers helped entertain the crowds in Dublin recently when they recited their poetry during the course of a very special arts exhibition.

THREE Offaly writers helped entertain the crowds in Dublin recently when they recited their poetry during the course of a very special arts exhibition.

The two day event took place in aid of the PREDA Foundation, the Philippine based human rights and social development organisation founded by Father Shay Cullen of the Missionary Society of Saint Columban.

Coordinated by Anne Hederman of Open Heart House in Dublin, the theme of the exhibition, which not only featured writers, but also singers, dancers and artists, was ‘Reflection On Freedom’. Offaly’s ‘ three wise pens ‘, as one member of an appreciative audience affectionately referred to them, all contributed original pieces of work written specially for the event.

Banagher’s own Tomas Carty, taking his lead from the exhibition’s theme, recited his poem of the same name. Ken Hume from Tullamore shared his poem, ‘ Freedom Is.... ‘, while Lusmagh man Anthony Sullivan delivered his poem, ‘ Freedom’s Seed ‘.

The three writers, who are all based in Tullamore, were delighted to accept their invitations to attend and participate in an occasion designed to aid so worthy a cause, and, as well as offering thanks on behalf of all three to Anne Hederman for the opportunity, Tomas Carty also pointed out that, “ To be in any way associated with a man of Father Shay Cullen’s stature, a man who has been nominated for the Noble Peace Prize three times, is nothing less than an honor. I have a huge sense of admiration for the work he’s done and continues to do in the Philippines. So I was more than happy to help this work in any small way that I could. And to meet Father Shay himself, and have the pleasure of some time in conversation with him, that was just a perfect bonus for me. “

Ken Hume was quick to echo his fellow scribe’s praise for Father Cullen and the work of PREDA, saying, “ Not only does PREDA literally come to the rescue of countless abused women in the Philippines, but it also works to protect the environment and to alleviate poverty through micro-credit and fair trade initiatives. Without PREDA and Father Shay it doesn’t bear thinking about the extreme suffering so many more helpless souls would have to endure. “ Mr. Hume continued, “ A chance to contribute to something that highlights Father Shay’s work was a no-brainer for me, I didn’t have to think twice about it.”

PREDA is People’s Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance Foundation, and for over 30 years has been working to help the poorest and most vulnerable people in Philippine society, and to overcome injustice and poverty while doing so.

Open Heart House is a centre of warmth, welcome and acceptance which actively embraces and supports people living with HIV and Aids. It promotes a supportive, non-judgemental and non-discriminatory approach in an environment of confidentiality.

PREDA and Open Heart House work together to facilitate a volunteer placement program which allows students from the Philippines to assist at Open Heart House for three months during the summer.

Tomas Carty has seen his work published as far afield as China! He has published two collections of his poetry, ‘ Writings In Rhyme ‘ in 2005, and ‘ Passing By Our Planet ‘ in 2006. He is currently working on a new collection and also publishes the online magazine, ‘ Carty’s Poetry Journal ‘. Ken Hume has just published his first collection, ‘ Snowstorm Of Doubt And Grace ‘, co-written with his mother, Catriona. Like Tomas, Ken is also at work on his next collection, as well as a number of other writing projects. Anthony Sullivan has published two collections of his lyrics and poetry, ‘ Under Star And Under Sun ‘ in 2004, and ‘ Pilgrim In The Heartland ‘ in 2009. He has just begun work on his third collection.