Travellers built parish crib

Laois Traveller Action Group Men's Shed presented its hand crafted crib to Portlaoise Parish

Travellers built parish crib
News Reporter news@leinsterexpress.ie @laoisnews

The Laois Traveller Action Group (LTAG) Men’s Shed presented its hand crafted crib to the Portlaoise Parish in the run up to Christmas

The crib, which stands on the roof at the entrance of SS Peter & Paul's Church, was blessed by Monsignor John Byrne and Fr Paddy Byrne.

Kenneth Higgins is community development worker for the LTAG Shed.

“This is the lad’s first major project. When we got the use of the building which is at the rear of the old Parochial House it was not sufficient. However, the men got their sleeves rolled up, got stuck in and completed the interior and exterior work that had to be done. It took almost 18 months to make it what it is today and it’s a real credit to them,” he said.

Mr Higgins said the idea came from an online image.

“The project of creating the crib originated from an image that we found on the internet while coming up with ideas once we got settled into the Shed.

“ We projected it onto the wall in the Shed and the lads matched up pieces of timber to the correct specs, cut them to size, pieced them together and painted them before adding the characters.

“This was crafted and placed on the roof of the church as a gift from the LTAG Men’s shed to the people of Laois. It sits proudly above the main entrance for all to see and lights up at night time in a red colour symbolising Christmas and really looks the part.”

The Men’s Shed falls under the umbrella of LTAG and the group wishes to publically thank its co-ordinator Julie Nevin from Portlaoise LTAG for supporting the project and for supporting the Men’s Shed.

The group hopes to hold an annual general meeting early next year and has begun to look into further projects for the New Year.

Brendan McInerney is one of the 14 members of the Men’s Shed that meets every Monday from 2 until 5pm.

“It is a great place for us to come to and meet as a group. We really love the place and we are proud of what we have achieved so far.

“There was a lot of work needed to be done when we got the place but thank god that is all behind us now and we can look forward to new projects.” He said.

Blessing the hand-crafted crib following before Christmas last in front of 200 people Monsignor John Byrne accompanied by Fr Paddy Byrne said,

“The work that you have done is an inspiration to us all. This is the first piece of work from the Men’s Shed and what a wonderful piece it is. It is a credit to you and it will light up all over Christmas and it will enlighten us all. I bless this crib and all those who created it, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen ,” he said.

The Action Group (LTAG) was founded in 1996 to work for the equal rights of Travellers lg in Laois