The members of the Women’s Institutes in Northern Ireland recently travelled to the Killyhevlin Hotel for two very important meetings.
During the morning the International Committee of the Federation held their annual World Rural Women’s Day to celebrate the International Day of Rural Women.
The meeting was chaired by Agnes Black, the Executive Member for the Rowallane Area and was well attended.
The guest speaker was Anne Marit Hovstad from Norway who is the current Chairman of the Projects Committee of the Associated Countrywomen of the World (ACWW). The Women’s Institute in Northern Ireland is a very generous Member Society of ACWW. The Projects Committee is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, having in that time supported over 1,000 projects.
These projects benefit, principally, women and children in various underprivileged areas of the world. Anne Marit gave a very informative talk about various projects, many of whom had been supported by the WI members in Northern Ireland.
The remainder of the meeting was devoted to reports from various delegates about their attendance at the European Area Conference of ACWW in Tirgu Mures, Romania in September. The meeting closed with the singing of the traditional Song of Peace.
In the afternoon the Autumn Council Meeting was held. This Meeting was chaired by Lady Anthony Hamilton, Federation President. Reports were delivered by the Treasurer, Elsie Loughlin and Federation Chairman Elizabeth Warden and written Reports by the Chairmen of the six Federation Sub-Committees. The Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Stephen McCann, brought the greetings of the Council to the meeting and welcomed those attending to the West of the Province. The Women’s Institutes in Northern Ireland are organised under twenty-one Area Groups. The Erne Area is the only one which comprises an entire County and is capably looked after by Norma Heap, the Executive Member for the Area.
Various trophies were presented at the Autumn Council Meeting including the Macausland Rosebowl which is awarded to the Institute of the Year. This year the Rosebowl was awarded to Glenarm Institute which is a very small Institute consisting of approximately one dozen members.
The guest speakers for the afternoon were the Very Reverend Kenneth Hall and the Right Reverend Monsignor Peter O’Reilly who told of their work preparing for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee visit to Enniskillen in June 2012 and how they continue to work together building community. The two gentlemen were extremely interesting, amusing and had their audience enthralled.
The vote of thanks was proposed by Stella Talbot from Newtownbutler Institute. This is another very small Institute but the members are always willing to take on their responsibilities in the Area and beyond.
Lady Anthony, in her closing remarks, wished all the ladies a safe journey home and the meeting closed with the singing of The Countrywomen’s Song.