An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has paid tribute to the ‘continued resilience’ of all the Men’s Sheds across Ireland.
A ‘men’s shed’ is a community based project, where men can come together to learn, share skills and make long-lasting friendships together. The Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA) exists to support the development of Ireland’s network of over 450 men’s sheds, north and south of the border.
All sheds are independent and self-autonomous, and the range of activities carried out by sheds differ from the next. Most sheds engage in activities such as woodwork, gardening, carpentry and community work, and Ireland enjoys the highest per-capita concentration of men’s sheds anywhere in the world.
In a letter to the Sheds’ representative body the IMSA, the Taoiseach stated that: "These times have been challenging for you and your members, as it has been for all people across Ireland, and the Sheds are a shining example of the continued resilience that will see us through this together."
Acknowledging the measures that members of Sheds have put in place to prevent isolation and depression during the Covid pandemic as well as initiatives to ensure that members maintain physical activity and health, Mr Martin continued:
"In your response to the pandemic, I know that Sheds and their members have adapted to new technologies and formed a ‘buddying up’ system to keep all members linked up. I want to thank each and every Men’s Shed for this work, and for playing such a key role in each community they serve; it does not go unnoticed. You have rallied to support your members across the country, and this inclusive approach is what will keep communities across Ireland together as we respond to this pandemic."
"To be recognised by the highest office in the land is a huge honour for the IMSA, but more importantly, a tribute to the public-spirited efforts of our sheds throughout the country over the past decade," commented Eamonn Moore, chairperson of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association.
"It is very encouraging that the resourcefulness of our shedders, their ingenuity and commitment to each other has been noted by the State. It is these attributes that will ensure that the sheds will reopen stronger and more resilient than before."
There are over 190 sheds in Leinster and while sheds remain closed due to Covid restrictions, informal networks of members have been established to prevent social and physical isolation. The sheds will reopen as soon as restrictions allow.