In launching the new Limerick lapel pin with an eloquent address outside the Hunt Museum this week, Paul O’Connell struck a chord.
By merely putting the panel on his or her lapel, the Munster rugby legend said, the person wearing it was making a statement. Apart from a clear declaration that they are proud to be a son or daughter of Limerick, the presence of the pin on one’s lapel is an invitation to engage in chat, a conversation starter.
Worn in Limerick itself, the pin designed by delightful 11-year-old schoolgirl Anna Kinsella is clear evidence of local pride. Worn elsewhere, it invites others to ask about Limerick – and the welcome truth is that Limerick people should be talking up their city and county right now, because there are plenty of positive things to say.
The lapel pin idea came out of the Going for Gold initiative, which has seen neighbourhoods across Limerick competing for a generous prize fund put up by the JP McManus Foundation. The latest competition is nearing an end and the winners will be announced next month. The prize money being handed out is only part of the story, however.
Every week we have seen heartwarming proof that dozens of local communities have made tremendous improvements to their environments, thanks to the efforts of a huge number of volunteers.
These community-minded people will be at the front of the queue to obtain the new lapel pin.
They are the kind of people Paul O’Connell was talking about when he said it was possible to make a difference simply by picking up a piece of rubbish on the street.
We hope many more will follow their lead by wearing the lapel pin – available from the Leader office – with pride.
It’s a tiny, discreet object, but it says a lot about the person wearing it.