Lions International District Governor Paul Allen
Hundreds of members of Ireland’s 108 Lions clubs will gather in Newbridge from this Friday to Sunday, March 3 to 5, for their 48th annual District Convention.
This is the Lions International Centenary Year.
This weekend, the delegates will formally approve a multi-faceted service programme to mark the centenary of the foundation of Lions International in 1917.
Projects already launched include raising up to €150,000 for a Guide Dogs breeding and training programme and a bid to make local communities ‘Better Places to Live Work and Play’ through the ‘Better Ireland Challenge’ project.
Speaking in advance of the Convention, Paul Allen, District Governor of Lions International, said that Lions work extends into many aspects of Irish life, through projects designed to serve local communities.
“In addition to our centennial projects, we will be continuing and often expanding programmes in health screening, care of the elderly, homelessness, education, youth development, suicide prevention and anti-bullying,” he said
In June of this year Lions Clubs will host close on 600 senior citizens on a holiday at Trabolgan, Co. Cork while the annual Food Appeal in November will enable Lions Clubs to distribute up to 12,000 hampers worth more than €1m to families at Christmas.
Lions Clubs will also host carers at special respite weekends and will check the blood sugar levels of up to 20,000 people at Diabetes Screening events throughout the country, including a major screening at the National Ploughing Championships.
The distribution of ‘Message in a Bottle’ packs to Irish homes will be accelerated during the year. The small bottles contain the medical history of recipients and are invaluable to first responders during emergencies. Lions also distribute sleeping bags and warm clothing to rough sleepers.
Educational programmes conducted by Lions Clubs in Ireland include the distribution of 140,000 advice leaflets on bullying and 450,000 cards with suicide prevention advice through schools.
An Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald will be Guest of Honour at the District Convention on Saturday when speakers will include Alison de Bruir of the UN Special Tribunal on Lebanon, Nils Orun from Lions Norway District, Judge Haynes Townsend from Lions International USA and Phil Nathan from Lions Multiple District (UK and Ireland).
Newbridge Kildare Lions Club is hosting the Conventon at the Keadeen Hotel in Newbridge. Club president Morgan McCabe said that they expect to welcome more than 250 participants .