New York Irish County groups struggling for new members
No new blood joining Irish organizations in the greater New York area
O’Boyle Deegan is urging parents who “don’t want their children to lose their Irish heritage” to get involved with the center.
“We’re not asking people to come to everything. Just to the odd event and support the center and the work we do,” said O’Boyle Deegan.
Frank Brady, president of the Leitrim Society of New York, said like the rest of the county associations in New York, his own is also suffering from lack of young members.
“The societies have a crisis of relevance at the moment, and they would seem to be more infused with the older generation as opposed to the younger generation, so it’s a challenge to definitely get the younger people involved,” said Brady last week.
County associations and societies were originally set up to act as benevolent associations but, said Brady, “there isn’t as much need for that anymore.”
One of the events that draws in the younger people to Leitrim, said Brady, is its annual picnic, which just took place this past weekend.
“The older members brought along their children and their relatives and it worked very well. It brought people together,” said Brady.
“The annual dinner dance is also another big event that draws in a lot of younger people.”
Looking forward, Brady said he hopes that younger people from Leitrim or with Leitrim connections will join the association and take part in keeping the organization alive.
President of the County Cork Association Mary Power told the Irish Voice that although nothing specific is being done by the organization to attract new and younger members, it seems to be pressing forward on its own.
“For the past few years we have had a lot of young presidents, most in their early forties,” said Power.
“Of course we could do with a lot more younger people but it’s nice to have the ones we do have.”
The association has made it their business to honor young men and women during their annual dinner dances.
“And the honorees bring with them young people so it’s not so bad,” adds Power. “The younger members might not come to all the meetings but we would see them sporadically at events and that’s fine.”
Although Power said it would be “great to have more younger members” she is not entirely worried about the future of the organization, which will celebrate its 125th year in existence this October.
“It would be lovely to have it around in another 75 years, and I don’t see why it can’t be,” she said.
The latest member to join the Cork Association who was installed at the annual barbeque on Sunday is Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, who is running for re-election this November.
“It’s lovely to have Tom involved. His great grandfather came from Bweeng, North Cork, near Mallow,” added Power.
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