“Vocational Education is one of the Great Heroic Achievements of the Irish State”, said President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins as he launched “DATE Dundrum Adult Training and Education Celebrating 30 years”.
The President described the DATE Committee “as a group of visionaries, who, 30 years ago, had a good idea”.
He praised their dedication, commitment and their true volunteerism.
It was evident that the President is an advocate of Adult Education and Life Long Learning as he described the education journey, “right until you draw your last breath we are learning different things…………people are kept alive by curiosity”. He spoke of his own experience in UCG outreach education in a diverse range of venues and activities, when he covered the length and breadth of the West of Ireland.
President Higgins emphasised the importance of literacy development and the difference it makes to a person’s life, “able to read….. compare that with any other achievement in life”. He went on to say that there is no better partnership than between Adult Education, Literacy programmes and Governments.
The DATE voluntary committee commenced working in collaboration with the Adult Education service in 1984. In 1994 the former President of Ireland Mary Robinson when visiting DATE stated, “you have a story here that must be told….” Mary Cummins told the assembly in her welcome and introduction to President Michael D. Higgins. The Adult Education Officer Patricia Doran concluded the speeches by thanking the President for his presence, his encouragement and wished him every success in achieving his goals for the Presidency. Mary Elliot presented DATE Celebrating 30 years to President Higgins. After the formalities he was able to stay for refreshments and meet the guests which was welcomed enthusiastically by all present.
The celebration was held in the Adult Education Centre on Level 5 Dundrum Town Centre. Since 2006 The DATE classes have been based at this venue. This is the result of a partnership between DATE the community/voluntary sector, Dublin Dun Laoghaire ETB the statutory body and private enterprise Dundrum Town Centre.