Lochside Garage

Strong work ethic goes a long way in Derrylin

Derrylin Rock Runners

THAT the new natural gasline coming across the length of Fermanagh and Tyrone is terminating in Derrylin is a clear indication that the south Fermanagh town and its surrounding area will be a major place of industry and employment for years to come.
The area has of course suffered serious setbacks – in recent years the collapse of its single biggest employer, the Quinn Group, has had serious consequences and contributed to growing levels of migration.
All that is in the past, however and hundreds of local people are now working at Quinn Industrial Holding which has recently announced new investments and is continuing to grow its workforce.
The Encirc glass-making plant also provides hundreds of well-paid jobs in the area and a number of smaller indigenous businesses are forging ahead, helping the Derrylin area back on its feet.
And although the prospect of a post-Brexit hard border looms large in south Fermanagh, there’s plenty of life in the community.
The local post-primary, St Aidan’s High School reports growing numbers and excellent academic results. But what also makes the Derrylin school so special is that it functions as a community centre for a host of social activities has been central to the burgeoning social life of the area.
The Derrylin area has always had a reputation for its strong sense of community and social, charity and sporting events are well supported.
The Parish Centre and the Aughakillymaude Historical Association area also well supported and in an area that has suffered more than its share of hardship as a result of the border and a chronic lack of government investment, the self-help ethic of people here is clear to see.
Brian McManus, a parish activist and leading member of the Aughkillymaude Historical Association explained, “Of course there is a fear of Brexit. Just last week we listened to Peter Quinn giving a talk on it. So there are worries and businesses along the border here are worried.
“Road closures wouldn’t be acceptable here. We past those days many years ago and it would be a retrograde step for the people of this area.”
Brian, who is chairman of the St Ninnidh’s Board of Governers, has a good insight into the Derrylin community.
“We’re working to keep a healthy a prosperous community through education and parish activities throughout the year,” he said. “We’re working to promote health and prosperity in the community.”
He suggests there are job opportunities within industries in the area, but many still have to move away from their home area to gain employment.
In the constant struggle to retain young families in the area, the strong community spirit in Derrylin – along with the excellent schools and a thriving playgroup – helps make it an attractive place to set up home.
“The vibrant community offers lots of opportunities for young and not so young.
“So many are involved in social activities and other things, health, yoga, all kinds of classes,” he remarked. “
He added that without community leaders these things wouldn’t be available and he has high hopes that the good vibe of the commnunity will continue as always the lively and vibrant village atmosphere will continue.
Angela Lynam of Kindertee Community Playgroup feels Derrylin is a very progressive area.
“When you see the numbers sustained in the local schools it’s very positive. When communities lose their schools they lose a lot. They are the most important part of a community,” she suggested.
“The fact is that there is a high employment level in the area. There seems to be jobs for anyone who wants jobs and it’s great to see that the young families don’t have to emigrate any more. And it means that because there is work out there, both parents can work because there are good facilities and schools to cater for their children.”
Martin Murphy, Scout Unit Leader in the village says his scout group is very heavily involved in the community.
The Derrylin troop has grown substantially in the last eight years and there is now a waiting list to get into the Cub Scouts.
“We’re all about teaching children life skills and looking after the environment and with that comes the involvement in the community.
“We organise several charity events throughout the year and give donations and just last year we started a community garden,” he explained.
At present they are involved in a programme with scouts from Ballyjamesduff, called ‘People and Place’.
“We’re learning about the people around us and the different cultures we have. We’re helping others all the time and that has to be good for our community spirit,” he added. “We’re looking to create memories for the young people so that will last for ever with them.”


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