Training room dedicated to the late Sean McShane

Members of the extended McShane family and directors of Strabane and District Caring Services, Ethna McShane, Niall McShane, John McGinley, Marie Wallace, Patrick Wallace, Barbara Cahill, Gerry Harkin and Carmel McShane pictured at the dedication of the new training room. DR13

DESCRIBED as “a man of great integrity, honesty and straightforwardness,” the late Sean McShane’s legacy was recalled when a facility was named in his honour.

One of the founding members of Strabane and District Caring Services (SDCS), Sean McShane was chairman of the company through its formative years of acquiring contracts with the WHSCT. 

On Tuesday of last week, a gathering at SDCS – including former friends and members of Mr McShane’s family – looked on as a training room was dedicated to the Strabane man. A plaque bearing his name was erected and a drawing of Mr McShane unveiled.

“On Sean’s passing (2016) his son Niall made a donation to Strabane and District Caring Services,” manager at SDCS, Gerard Harkin explained. “Niall asked if we would mark his late father’s contribution to life in Strabane. 

“Sean had a number of great loves in his life, his family, education and his community. Consequently we engaged with St Mary’s Primary School where Sean had been vice principal and it was agreed to sponsor a ‘buddy seat’ for the playground. The idea of the buddy seat is that no child should ever be alone or left out of activities.”

Mr Harkin continued, “The dedication of this training room in Sean’s honour is a mark of appreciation of Sean’s contribution to life long learning and development of community led projects within Strabane.

“He was a man of great integrity, honesty and straightforwardness. He was always there to help and guide, yet was never intrusive. He was willing to take a risk on new developments – not all of which worked – yet never putting anything at risk. He led the organisation through a period of change and uncertainty to a very healthy and confident position well placed to deal with the challenges of then and now.”

It is 33 years ago when a group of individuals were brought together, led by the late Fr Anthony Mulvey with a view of doing something for their community. Sean Mc Shane was one those individuals.

Thus in 1986 Melmount Community Care was established, starting out as an Action for Community Employment (ACE) project. The focus was on providing employment and training opportunities in an area of high unemployment, lacking in social amenities and community cohesion or activity. The then management committee opened up a wide range of activities and possibilities to create employment and develop community projects.

“Sean and the committee worked tirelessly on behalf of their community directing a workforce of 150 ACE workers,” Mr Harkin added.

“Sean would have told you that he did not do this on his own and that we must acknowledge his co-directors, management and staff. Sean made it known that he was privileged to lead the organisation he and others established.

“It is right and fitting that Sean is remembered in this training room as Sean’s lifelong gift was to education and development of members of this community.

“His legacy is there to see and will live long in the work we do. He is sadly missed and fondly remembered.”

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