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Willowbank Community Resource Centre Dungannon

10 October 2011

Willowbank Hosts New Chief Commissioner for Human Rights visit to Dungannon

Willowbank Hosts New Chief Commissioner for Human Rights visit to Dungannon

New Chief Comnissioner for Human Rights visit to Dungannon

On Monday 10th October the local community had a unique opportunity to

Meet and discuss issues with the newly appointed Chief Commissioner for Human Rights in Northern Ireland, Professor Michael O’Flaherty. The visit was organised by STEP, who arranged a number of visits to rights based community projects in the morning.


The Chief Commissioner then travelled to Willowbank Community Resource Centre in Dungannon town where over thirty community representatives from organisations working within the community, including local councillors and council officials had accepted the invitation to a meet and greet lunch to bring the Commissioner up to date on their views on a wide range of issues and their expectations of the new commissioner.  Professor O’Flaherty said: “The projects we have visited today are all about empowerment and that is at the heart of all good human rights work. People have shared their stories, their concerns and their good practice with us. They deserve every possible support.” 

After an excellent lunch prepared by Willowbank staff, the day belonged to the community and service users of the organisation hosting the event. After the guests had a whirlwind tour of the facilities and services on site, Willowbank chair Barbara Wilson, facilitated an informal round table meeting where individuals were able to air and share their specific problems and get appropriate information and feedback from the Commission.

Bernadette McAliskey (STEP) summed up the mood of the day: ‘By 3.00 pm when the Chief Commissioner had to leave, everyone involved felt energised and renewed in their commitment to defend the rights of the most vulnerable and work to build a society where those rights are protected and respected and to develop the confidence and skills to do that work effectively.’

 Ann McGlone added ‘STEP and Willowbank and the programmes we support were delighted to be able to present this opportunity to the local community to engage directly with Mr O’Flaherty. We wish to express our thanks to the Commissioner and the N I H R C and their staff for agreeing to this event and wish the Chief Commissioner every success in his new role.

Pictured below: Chief Commissioner Professor O'Flaherty meets Bernadette McAliskey, Co-ordinator STEP with Ann McGlone Manager and Barbara Wilson, Chair Willowbank Ltd and Paul Yam Commissioner with NIHRC

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