The President and committee of the Past Pupils Union are pleased to announce that they have elected Fr. Myles Kavanagh CP to be Row Person of the Year 2017. Fr. Myles will be presented with the P.V. Doyle memorial trophy at the annual dinner which will be held at the Westbury Hotel on Saturday January 28th 2017.
Fr. Myles, for 53 years now, has lived and worked in one of Northern Ireland’s “black spots”, the Ardoyne area of North Belfast, which has experienced more killings, more inter-community strife and has higher levels of unemployment than perhaps any other area of Northern Ireland.
In 1977 he set up the Flax Trust to bring about reconciliation through economic development. Since then he has been responsible for establishing a wide variety of projects and providing help to many charities, an incubation system which produced over 300 new businesses in 5 years. 1995 saw the Short Brothers/Flax Trust (SBFT) partnership developed. This is a 50/50 joint venture to provide apprenticeship training in Interpoint, a neutral site. Interpoint was used for the first coming together of the N.I politicians in the N.I Forum, for the Patton Commission on policing and the Novatech Centre for technology transfer.
Fr. Myles took his message to America and founded the Flax Trust/America in 1980.
The following is a list of Fr. Myles’ additional achievements in his on-going battle against social deprivation and unemployment –
- Developing a Housing Association to address the needs of homeless young people and a sheltered dwelling for the elderly including 700 units of social housing.
- The setting up of a training school to meet the educational and training needs of local youth.
- The establishment of an Open Learning Centre providing training and educational opportunities for adults.
- A Shopping Centre, Day Care Centre for local Pensioners which also provide meals on wheels.
- Setting up a Medical Centre.
- The establishment of Ulster Community Investment Trust to provide funds for the community economic sector in N.I and the border counties.
- The establishment of the school for Social Enterprises to foster a professionally qualified leadership for community enterprise.
- The most recent venture was the setting up of the Flax Trust Academy for Musical Excellence which is providing great opportunities for young aspiring musicians and vocalists.
In addition to holding Directorships in Northern Ireland and North America, Fr. Myles is a member of the International Economic Development Council (North America) and the Ireland US Council. His knowledge and expertise in the field of community economics means that he is frequently invited as a guest speaker to conferences in Europe and North America.
The International Economic Development Council (North America) this year presented Fr. Myles with their Life Time Achievement Award.
Fr. Myles Kavanagh is clearly a very worthy winner of the Row Person of the Year award and we look forward to welcoming here to the dinner on January 28th.