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Niall Mellon Challenge

John Shelly Bursary 2004

This year’s worthy recipient of the John Shelley Bursary was the Niall Mellon Challenge, a charity that was nominated by two branches, namely the North Eastern Branch and the Roscommon EHOs under the auspices of the Western Branch. It was the first time two nominations had been put forward for the same charity.

Third from left Niall Mellon with builders

The presentation was made by Mrs. Elizabeth Shelley and was gratefully received Mr. Niall Mellon himself. In his acceptance speech Niall very entertainingly regaled us with his experiences in establishing the project whilst also putting a very human face on those benefiting from it. Many of our retired members were present and it gave all an opportunity to catch up with old friends. The Bursary is presented to a different charity every year and the criteria for nomination is available upon request.

Below we have the nomination submitted by Ms. Marie Gillooly PEHO and the staff of Environmental Health Department, Roscommon.

For the past number of years a project has taken place in South Africa known as the Niall Mellon Yethu Township Initiative. A large number of volunteers, tradesmen and women, builders, plumbers etc. primarily from Ireland have gone to South Africa to build a huge number of houses in a shanty town. They volunteered their services free of charge and these homes have been provided to the new occupants at an interest free loan which is repaid into a community fund and is then subsequently used for further housing construction work. The overall aim of the project is to build 1000 homes for 1000 families and at the moment the project is in its 3rd year.

Environmental Health Officers in Co. Roscommon believe that the John Shelley Bursary 2004 should be used to fund the building of a home for a family in South Africa. To build a full house costs €5,000. The reasons for applying for the bursary for this project were as follows:

1. In the past our colleagues played a huge role in tenement clearances in many cities - this would have included Mr. John Shelley PEHO, himself in Dublin.

2. In addition our colleagues around the country, in both urban and rural areas, have played major roles in improving housing standards nationally and in moving people from unfit housing stocks to properties that were fit for human habitation.

3. In providing this home for a family in this township, we, today, will have played a huge role in rehousing a family from accommodation that is so substandard, it is below the standards our former colleagues worked so hard to better back in the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s etc. - the old tenements of Dublin were probably of a higher standard that these current shanty town huts.

4. We passionately believe that this is a very worthwhile cause and is both directly and indirectly related to past and present work of EHOs. In October/November 2004, 50 houses were built in the Yethu Township. A full house was funded by the EHOA’s John Shelley Bursary.

We can be very proud of our role in providing a new home for a family in South Africa.
I would personally like to express my gratitude to the EHOs of the Environmental Health Department in Roscommon for their support in promoting and raising awareness of
this project and in addition to our colleagues in the EHOA Western Branch.

 

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