By Sean Ryan - 22 April, 2017
A Co. Tipperary native has been elected as the new National President of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP). Kieran Stafford (53), a native of Clonmel, is currently the National Vice President. He will succeed outgoing President Geoff Meagher when his five year term ends on 27 May next.
Speaking this week to the Nationalist newspaper in his home town, the father of two said he was absolutely delighted to be elected to the position after winning an election in which there were five candidates.
He said he was very proud to be elected to the post and was looking forward to taking on the challenging post.
Speaking about how he got involved with the organisation, he said that “Eamon Griffin was, and still is, a stalwart member in Clonmel and I was one of many that he recruited to the cause over 16 years ago. Eamon’s line that ‘it will be for an hour a week’ worked on me and all the others he recruited and I am still involved.”
Mr Stafford, who is involved in a retail business in the town, said that he started out as a member of the Society’s Peter & Paul Conference and is now a member of the Holy Rosary Conference in Clonmel. He added that “To have a really good understanding of the issues on the ground it is important to work in the community and that is what I intend to do.”
He said his primary objective would be to continue working for social justice and to ensure that the SVP plays a leading role in social justice campaigning. “Social justice is the cornerstone of what we do. I have been strongly involved in social justice at an advocacy level by making pre-budget submissions and I will continue to be involved in that important work,” he said.
He added that there are many people living in communities all over the country who have no voice and nobody to speak for them. The SVP has to be a strong voice for those people, he said. Recruitment and a focus on helping people back to self sufficiency will also be high on his agenda.
He will serve a three year term as National President, at the end of which he will have an option of going forward for another two years by election.