in The Atrium, Dublin City Council Civic Offices, July 2015
Comhgairdeachas libh go léír a ghlac páírt san taispéantais seo inniu. Ba chóir go mbeadh sibh thar a bheith bródúil. Is cúis áthas agus bród dom a bheith anseo inniu libh agus go raibh míle maith agaibh as ucht an chuireadh a bheith libh.
I have had the great pleasure to view the fantastic exhibition here today and I commend and congratulate all of you who have participated in this fantastic exhibition. You all should be very proud of yourself and I am genuinely very proud and honoured to be invited here today to speak at the launch of your work. This whole area is steeped in republican history. Many ordinary men and women from Dublin 8 took part in the Rising and it is appropriate and fitting that you commemorate their heroic contribution to Irish freedom and their fight for equality, and we are still fighting for equality.
I have for many years been a supporter of RADE and believe in RADE’s approach to engage participants with the arts and therapeutic supports and provide a platform for their artistic expression. What is blatantly obvious for all to see when visiting a RADE exhibition or performance is the absolute pride, joy and sense of accomplishment that the participants express but also the pride their family and friends feel. There is no drug on earth that can give the feeling.
Sometimes it can be difficult to prove the value of Community Employment programmes such as RADE, to government funding bodies but it just takes a visit to any RADE production to fully appreciate the value of such schemes. RADE instils confidence, stability and structure into participants lives. RADE improves participant’s quality of life and addresses their sense of isolation and boredom through the use of cultural activities and make each participant believe that they have the capacity to contribute to society. Community based rehabilitation projects like RADE provide an essential service to both the participants and to the wider community.
RADE continue to produce some of the best art, poetry, theatre and film in this city. This not only contributes to the participants lives but also contributes to the culture of Dublin
The focus towards the showcasing of the art product each year not only gives a meaningful motivation to participants but also helps to change societal perception of drug-users which I believe is very important.
RADE has managed to not only stay afloat through the slashes and cuts of these austere times, but to continue their programme of quality productions demonstrating that ‘creativity is open to everyone’ and that engagement in arts activities, combined with therapeutic supports, does have a profound impact for making positive change in the lives of people affected by problem drug use. I would like to take this opportunity to call on the government and other agencies to recognize the contribution that special CE schemes make. It is vital to maintain the existing funding and to also increase the resources available to ensure all participants benefit fully from these schemes.
It takes courage to put your artistic work on show, it takes guts to get up on stage and perform and it takes everything you have to fight addiction and come through the other side. I wish you all the very best now and into the future and once again congratulations on such a great exhibition. Molaim sibh agus RADE. Ádh mór.