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Key Handover speech by Chairman of the Dunrovin Development Committee

We are here today at Dunrovin the ancestral home and birthplace of the IWAI to take possession of the keys of the new Dunrovin IWAI HQ building, events area and upgraded extensive grounds.

A momentous day in the IWAI history and marks the culmination of a seven-year development project with our partner RNLI.

There are so many people to thank that I cannot name them all, so my apologies, but I must as you can understand name but a few.

I thank most sincerely the Dunrovin Development Committee, Carmel Meegan, Jean Kennedy, Siobhan Bigley, Tony Byron, Kevin Clabby and the late Tommy Mcloughlin.  What a great team, each giving their time, energy, on occasion to their financial cost over the project’s lifetime. Each brought their particular levels of expertise and skill to their allotted portfolios to deliver this great project on IWAI’s behalf. As Chair they made my job so easy. Each on can look and admire this building and know that through their individual effort, energy and indeed tenacity that has left a permanent legacy to this great association. Thank you.

I must say a very special thanks to our strategic partners the RNLI Council, Trustees, and Executive in Poole Dorset who placed great faith in the IWAI to deliver the Dunrovin site for the permanent home of their new lifeboat station and our joint development construction project. On the ground, I thank Robert Jeans and Owen Medland who worked so closely with the Dunrovin Development Committee in the developments initial scoping, design, and planning. Laterally, and in the construction stages, Peter Morgan and in particular Chris Scully. The RNLI design team RPS and Todd Architects and the contractor Woodvale.

Looking inward I must now thank the IWAI Executive, Council, and membership. Undoubtedly, without the unqualified belief and support of Dunrovin, this project would not have happened. The road was not without its twists, bumps, and curves. A few IWAI members were doubtful, questioning, indeed sceptical. To those members, I say you also played your part in that your concerns and questions kept the Dunroin Development Committee grounded on the project, to ensure value for money, sensibility of design, and above diligence, transparency, and accountability over all stages of the project. Thank you all.

The fundraising was without doubt the greatest challenge to the delivery of this project. Once again, the true spirit of IWAI, its branch network, and individual members came to the fore with unconditional generosity. Out of the total project expenditure for the build and fit-out I can advise that we are within 20k of the total projected expenditure. The project is on budget and the contingency untouched.

We also acknowledge the generosity of the supporting corporate sector particularly considering Covid/Brexit in a time of very challenging market and business conditions.

Our thanks to those members of the public who saw merit in the project and supported financially.

We acknowledge the kind assistance of Westmeath County Council and Pat Coyle for their support to this joint development on the shoreline of inner Lough Ree.

We acknowledge the grant assistance from Westmeath Community Development Committee and Peter Ormond through the Leader Programme 2014 -2020 and the waterway regulator, Waterways Ireland.

A project of this size and run by a voluntary body where two parties are involved, with agreement, build contracts, boundary clarification, wayleaves and other legal easements requires the best of legal counsel and in this regard, I acknowledge with thanks the guiding hand of Carthage Conlon of O’Mara Geraghty McCount to the Dunrovin Development Committee, IWAI Executive and Council.

The projects information stream to our geographically diverse membership was greatly assisted with the kind offices of the IWN editor Alison Alderton, giving Dunrovin generous space in our quarterly magazine the IWN thus bringing Dunrovin and all aspects of the build, finance, and challenges to the armchair of every IWAI member.

In conclusion, I return to the IWAI collective membership. This is your project, conceived, planned, and delivered. It’s now a place to call the IWAI Dunrovin home, fitting to the wishes of the site benefactors and IWAI founding members Harry and Cynthia Rice. Feel proud of what you have delivered for your association, its members, and the IWAI boating generations to come.

Thank you