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Key Handover speech by President IWAI

Dunrovin, IWAI HQ was first spoken about almost five Presidential terms ago.

To put that in perspective it is 12-14 years since the idea of establishing a permanent home for IWAI on the Dunrovin site was discussed during Paul Garland’s tenure as IWAI President. Through the terms of Paul, Greg Whelan, Carmel Meegan, John Dolan, and I, Dunrovin has never been off the table.

Once again, our Association has had to show resilience, perseverance, and dedication, to allow the idea of a permanent base for IWAI at Dunrovin to survive for so long. The original proposal from the late 2000s was not to the liking of all members and the fact that Ireland found itself heading into a deep financial recession certainly didn’t help. Divisive opinion damaged our Association, but it did not destroy it. In fact, division paved the way for resolution and a type of spiritual rebirth.

With the advent of lifeboat trials on Lough Ree overseen by the late Martyn Smith, RNLI Operations Manager, a regeneration of the Dunrovin proposal began to take shape thanks to a myriad of people associated with RNLI Lough Ree and IWAI Athlone including Damien Delaney, Dave McCabe, and Kevin Clabby.

At Executive level, Carmel Meegan had the vision to move this project forward, building bridges, uniting IWAI members, and enabling this wonderful Strategic Partnership Project to be brought to life. It took a strong belief from IWAI members to enable the Dunrovin Development Subcommittee to finally deliver a permanent base for IWAI, with RNLI as neighbours on the most significant site for our Association.

We owe so much gratitude to so many who have shaped the Dunrovin story in one way or another. Harry & Cynthia Rice bequeathed their beloved site and Damien Delaney, Michael Martin and IWAI Athlone maintained the site in trust. Martin Donnelly, Jean Kennedy, Carmel Meegan, Tony Byron, Kevin Clabby Siobhan Bigley, and the late Tommy McLoughlin brought the project you see today into being. RNLI personnel and their associates in the UK and Ireland supported this joint development every step of the way.

None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for your support in IWAI Branches countrywide. Your trust and belief have resulted in a state-of-the-art HQ building for your Association. Your financial generosity to support this project as Branches and as individuals has been staggering.

The establishment of Dunrovin, IWAI HQ will be the legacy of those individuals named above; the use and development of Dunrovin, IWAI HQ will be yours to shape.

We look forward to opening the doors to all members in the coming months.