The Community of Clones, Co Monaghan
Clones town is recognised as being amongst the areas worst affected by the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Faced with the closure of multiple local businesses and widespread dereliction, the community came together in 1999 to form Clones Community Forum, which represents over fifty voluntary groups striving to make a difference in the town. The Forum provided a much needed vehicle with which to engage with statutory agencies in an organised way. Clones Community Forum set about identifying all the needs of the local community – social, economic and cultural – and organised the linkages required to make things happen in this depressed area. As a result, the town streetscapes and centre have been totally transformed, community meeting places have been improved, and facilities for young people and people with special needs have all been put in place. Each group is very clear how they are contributing to the revival of Clones, and the pride in what has been achieved to date is palpable.
This was probably one of the most enlightening presentations the judges encountered as it put in very clear terms the history of the area and the steely determination over a long period of time by the leaders of the community to overcome many obstacles. There is an obvious sense of pride emerging with some incredible new projects recently established in particular the development of what is arguably Ireland’s finest regional sports complex. Clones is a town with a future and for the power of the leadership in its community Clones is receiving one of our special awards.