third level institutions should strengthen links with adult education providers in the city, Mayor Gerry McLoughlin has said at his charity ball at the Strand Hotel.
Cllr McLoughlin told around 350 guests that he hoped to devote more time to giving people a second chance in education once his term as Limerick’s first citizen is up in June. And this included empowering senior citizens with IT skills, he said.
“I have a particular love of adult and continued learning and my big ambition on completion of my term as mayor is to immerse myself in promoting this field across the city. I see education, and in particular second chance education, as hugely important. There is a digital divide to be bridged and under ‘The Benefit IT 5 programme’, I am aiming to team up with organisations and build on the work of the previous programmes. Over a short period, I aim to have 800 older people trained in the use of modern information technology skills. Isolation is a problem for the older people and I see digital inclusion as a way of combating this problem for them.”
The mayor was complimentary of the University of Limerick’s access programmes but said there was further potential for growing links between colleges and adult education providers.
“I have to say that this is an important year for our friends at the University of Limerick as they celebrate their 40th year. UL continues their commitment to promote the economic, educational, social and cultural development of Limerick. It’s connection to the community has always been a defining feature of UL; we have each benefited from the university in some way over the years and we hope that this will continue for many years to come.
“I look very favourably on strengthening connections between adult and continued learning and access to 3rd level courses. I hope that all the colleges and universities of the city will work with groups involved in community education to allow access if it is desired by the learners.”
The charities chosen by Cllr McLoughlin to benefit from this year’s Mayor’s Ball were St Vincent de Paul and the Diocesan Lourdes Invalid Fund, causes he said were “very close to my heart”.
He paid tribute to “the huge number of volunteers and very low-paid people who give of their time and 100% effort to our vulnerable, both young and old, in the city of Limerick”.
“I, as your Mayor, can only repay you by publicly acknowledging you here tonight. To all of you - I salute you. Your gift of care and interest will be rewarded in time.”
Guest speaker at the ball - one of the highlights of the city’s social calendar - was rugby pundit Brent Pope.