This short history of the agency was written by our late colleague Maire Ni Chionnaith, our former Head of Youth Work Services. It covers the period since the foundation of the agency in 1944 until our 60th anniversary in 2004. Read online or download a copy as a pdf.
Presentation of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
I welcome the publication of the story of Catholic Youth Care 1944-2004. In tracing the history of the changes in Ireland over this period, it illustrates the great contribution that the social care outreach of the Archdiocese has made.
I wish to acknowledge the foresight shown by Archbishop McQuaid in founding a Diocesan Agency with the special remit of caring for the needs of young people outside the school setting. I am grateful to hundreds of volunteers and staffs who underline the guidance of successive Councils and directors enthusiastically shared their time and talents in this mission of service.
The story of the past 60 years is a challenge for the future. It is a challenge for us to listen carefully to the hope, dreams, and questions of our young people and to help them find answers. We must challenge them to appreciate the good news of the Gospel and to participate actively in the life of our parishes and communities. In our Church young people should have a sense of belonging and a voice that is heard.
I encourage Catholic Youth Care to continue their service throughout the diocese especially in caring for the most alienated and marginalized young people. I encourage the Agency to be part of the diocesan effort to “work together for mission” in the times of renewal which is ahead. This will be a fitting contribution and tribute to the last 60 years of dedicated service.
I am delighted to welcome this history of Catholic Youth Care on the occasion of our 60th birthday. It is a short story of ongoing change and development in the service of the young people of the Archdiocese of Dublin. In keeping with our mission to be caring, compassionate and Christian, our services are inspired by the person of Christ and in Him we are mandated to be closet to the poorest, the weakest and the most marginal of our young people of the diocese the treasure which is our faith.
I take this opportunity to thank all current and former members of staff, volunteers and funders who have played a vital role in our story. I thank our patrons, especially our current patron, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and his predecessor, Desmond Connell and all Council members, past and present. A special tribute is due to my five predecessors/Directors. When you read the history, we see that the present generation walks on the shoulders of much past heroism.
I thank especially Maire Ni Chionnaith for writing this history. As well as its writer, Maire has done more than most to be the maker of this story. I am deeply grateful to her.
It is an honour to be assigned the task of writing a booklet on Catholic Youth Care, formerly Catholic Youth Council but best known as CYC, as part of the Diamond Jubilee Celebration 1944-2004.
This is not a history or thesis, full of dates and data. It is simply the story, so far, of how and why CYC was founded, how it has survived and changed over 60 years to meet new challenges posed by young people and contemporary society.
Maire Ni Chionnaith
The Patrons and Council
The Archbishop of Dublin is the Patron of Catholic Youth Care and appoints the Director and Members of Council. Each, in turn, made a special contribution. Archbishop McQuaid was far sighted in setting up CYC in a way that was appropriate to that era. Archbishop Ryan recognised that the expansion of the City into the County and the improvements in access to schools and demanded a somewhat different response, locally based, and that the diocesan Youth Agency needed to be independent (of CSSC) and a Diocesan Agency in its own right from 1977. As a Diocesan Agency CYC is governed by a Council of twelve members, including the Director. The Council Members, who are appointed by the Archbishop, bring a range of experience relevant to the work of the Agency and give generously of their time and expertise and do so as volunteers. CYC have been fortunate in the choice of members and are grateful to each of them.
Archbishop McNamara, during his short period of office and in spite of his poor health, took a special interest in meeting young adults, listened to their aspirations, frustrations and desires to be active in the life of a young and a vibrant Church.
Cardinal Connell had been a constant strong supporter of CYC. Since he became Archbishop he has led many CYC pilgrimages to World Youth Day gatherings in various cities throughout the World. World Youth Day is an initiative of Pope John Paul II and brings together several million young Christians to pray with him, to attend catechesis and to get a sense of solidarity of the Universal Church. Cardinal Connell facilitated our name change to Catholic Youth Care. He has introduced an Annual Mass for young people and recognised the CYC Diocesan Youth Choir.
CYC looks forward to the ministry of our Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and is confident of his support and prays that he will bring new vision and wisdom to them and examples of good practice from his worldwide experience as a Vatican Diplomat. In his homily on the day of his liturgical introduction to the Archdiocese he committed himself to giving the evangelisation of young people a priority.
Catholic Youth Care, best known as CYC, has served the young people of Dublin for 60 years. It is a reminder to thousands of people of the fun, opportunities and friendships found in a local youth club or summer project. It is time to say thank you to hundreds of adults who as volunteers gave freely and generously of their time and talents, to organise the local youth group. In recent years, CYC has been enabled to employ staff to support and train volunteers, to provide specialised services and to work directly with young people.
The story of CYC is the story too of the expansion of the City, the development of the villages of County Dublin into new towns. Over these years daily life in Dublin has changed. Young Dubliners have been influenced by the international youth culture. The Second Vatican Council renewed the Church but CYC must acknowledge that many young people today are like ‘sheep without a shepherd’ and need imaginative leadership to help them to understand the call to be disciples of Jesus and to challenge them to serve the poor, the elderly and to search for justice. There have been many innovations and milestones in the last 60 years. CYC worked within the framework of the development of youth services as provided for by the State.
It is timely to take a look at how and why CYC began, the milestones on the road to 2004, to take stock and to plan for some years to come. The value of voluntary youth work has not been diminished by the employment of staff and the need is greater than ever.
In 1941, Dr. John Charles McQuaid became Archbishop of Dublin. The Irish State was barely twenty years old. There was hunger, nakedness and need but at the same time the courage and solidarity of the poor was remarkable. The first major initiative of the new Archbishop was to set up the Catholic Social Service Conference to amalgamate all the Catholic Organisations into one body for the relief of the poor.
The late Dr. Mary Purcell’s last work, completed just a few weeks before her death, was a concise scholarly history of CSSC 1941 – 1991. She gives a vivid portrayal of Dublin in the forties and traced the development of our ‘mother agency’.
In 1943 the Archbishop turned his attention to the pastoral needs of young people and he decided upon two important fruitful initiatives, which still exist.
Young people have no memory of life in Dublin in the early forties. It is history, the last century and a long time ago. It is useful to paint a broad picture of a much more compact city, the capital of a newly independent State just 20 years old. While war raged in Europe, in neutral Ireland there was an “Emergency”. Food and clothing were rationed; thousands of Dubliners lived in slum conditions in tenements in what is now called the Inner City. Those who had secure or well paid employment were few and privileged. Mobility meant owning or sharing a pushbike. Mothers worked mainly in the home, where they cooked, washed and cleaned for a large family. They made and mended clothes managed the family budget in a way that stretched every shilling to its limits. For most young people formal education in a nearby national school finished at fourteen years. Notwithstanding the willingness of religious orders to give secondary education for a very small fee or “techs” who gave good training and access to a trade, very few stayed on in school. The small earnings of a fourteen year old were a valuable contribution to a meagre family income.
The youth scene was not totally bleak. Catholic Scouts and Guide Associations had been founded in the thirties and there were many members, as can be seen in photographs of the Eucharistic Congress of 1932. There were some 20-30 boys’ or girls’ clubs mainly in the Inner City, staffed mainly by members of the St. Vincent de Paul, the Legion of Mary or the Past Pupils’ Unions of secondary schools.
The Archbishop approached Seán Lemass who as Minister for Industry and Commerce at the time had responsibility for apprentices and youth employment. As a response the Government asked the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee to set up a sub-committee, known as Comhairle le Leas Oige and now known as City of Dublin Youth Service Board, to provide a service to youth clubs. It is interesting to note that some 60 years later the Youth Work Act 2001 uses the same framework for the development of youth service on a national scale. For his part, the Archbishop established Catholic Youth Council as a sub-committee of the Catholic Social Service Conference, which met for the first time on 28th February, 1944. The two Agencies continue to work closely together for the benefit of young people in the City of Dublin and the Director of CYC is always a member of the Committee.
Catholic Youth Council initially included separate sections for boys and girls clubs. While the Scouts and Guides and CYMS had been represented at the preliminary consultations they each had a structure in place and in time ceased to be active members of the Councils. This meant that the Club was the only model of youth work within the remit of the council.
Canon Michael C. Troy chaired the council until December 1960 when Monsignor Cecil Barrett who was then the Director of Catholic Social Welfare Bureau succeeded him. The Councils met monthly at 75 Merrion Square from 1944 to 1970.
Those were the days
The Youth Clubs of the Forties and Fifties
There were separate clubs for boys and girls located mainly in the City Centre, which was densely populated at the time. Volunteers, often called brother and sister, who reflected the influence of the society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Legion of Mary, staffed the clubs. Most clubs were opening every evening in modest rented premises. The members were divided into age groups, juniors, inters and seniors and allocated separate evenings with occasional activities for all members. The typical programme for a boys’ club would include indoor and outdoor games, woodwork or boxing classes given by a teacher supplied by Comhairle teachers, dancing, tea and chats. While the activities were planned as recreation with an education element, much more important was the club atmosphere, the mutual respect and trust developed between adults, members and families. Life long friendships were made and treasured to death. This is evident at funerals when the attendance includes middle-aged mourners of a former club leader of some thirty or forty years ago. The memories recounted and appreciation of the kindness of that generation of brothers and sisters is acknowledged.
The great adventure of these clubs was the annual holiday or outing. For many it was a first trip outside the City to the countryside, with no corner shop. The venue was usually a boarding school. Adults and members shared the chores of cooking, cleaning, the fun and the games. The leaders took their own holidays, a week out of a total two week annual entitlement, which is a testimony to their commitment and generosity.
Young people were helped and encouraged in their school work, given guidance, helped to get a job or a scholarship and the adults could always be relied upon to help in any kind of family crisis.
From the fifties to the seventies CYC administered the Corporation Playgrounds on behalf of the Dublin City Council. These playgrounds were situated in the Inner City and in the suburbs. They were well attended, were open in the afternoons after school, all day Sunday, all day Saturday and daily during school holidays.
These were happy places where children could play in safety under the watchful eyes of the Play Leaders. Eventually the Corporation, for its own administrative reasons, resumed direct management of these Playgrounds.
CYC still manages the Dun Laoghaire Playcentre on behalf of Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council. About ten years ago the Bloomfield Shopping Centre was being planned, there was a land swap and the developers built and equipped a new playground with modern play facilities and a safer surface.
There are many descriptions of this decade, the swinging sixties, the beginning of pop culture, the Lemass area, Dr. Whitaker’s programme for economic expansion, Donough O’Malley’s scheme for free secondary education, the opening of an Irish television station, RTE. These changes impacted on young people, on volunteers and on CYC. As Assistant Director Fr. Patrick Devine was appointed to the Catholic Social Services Bureau and he was given responsibility for CYC and youth activities. This appointment gave scope for a more cohesive service and support for existing youth clubs and for the development of new clubs in the newly created suburbs. The provision of training for volunteers had been a CYC priority from the beginning. Fr. Devine set up a small advisory group, which included some experienced volunteers, to help in planning of training and delivery of programmes. Links were established with the Dublin Institute of Adult Education, a recent addition to the Diocesan family of services and with the Social Science Department of University College, Dublin. This collaborative work brought a more professional approach to the training, challenged leaders to review the traditional programmes of clubs and to respond to changes in the community.
Fr. Devine moved on to parish work and Fr. Peter Lemass succeeded him. He continued to push training and his great innovation was the introduction of the Red Island Seminars in Skerries, which were held twice a year and catered for 250 volunteers each time. Red Island was a residential holiday camp owned by the parents of Senator Fergal Quinn. CYC booked the weekend in May before the official opening for the summer season and a weekend in September when the season had ended. This series of seminars continued for almost a decade. The programme included a key speaker on the principles of youth work and a choice of workshops aimed at widening the curriculum of a youth club. Guest speakers from overseas or other youth organisations gave a new and more professional perspective to working with young people in mixed groups and in new suburbs. The Quinn family were excellent hosts and contributed, by the welcome and hospitality, to a wonderful atmosphere, which combined hard work, prayer, and recreation, with solidarity amongst volunteers, a willingness to maintain contacts and a commitment to share knowledge and resources.
Fr. Lemass moved on to parish work and was succeeded by Fr. P. McDermott who continued and expanded the work of developing youth clubs in the new suburbs and to the training of volunteers. Fr. Eamonn Clarke was the Director for a short time and his experience as a director of Bru Phadraig, one of three full-time youth centres, was a valuable background because he had a special insight into the life of young people in the Inner City. There were three Brughanna in the City Centre, in Gardener Street, North Great George’s Street and Herbert Street. These were financed by Comhairle le Leas Oige, primarily staffed voluntarily by members of the Legion of Mary or Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The Archbishop appointed a full-time Chaplain Director. These joint ventures of CYC and Comhairle le Leas Oige helped hundreds of young people from the worst slum areas of Dublin.
At this time CYC Football and Table Tennis Leagues were well established. The reasons for these CYC Leagues was to give teams from youth clubs a chance to compete in competitions other than those organised for sports and football clubs and thus to create possibilities for success in less competitive circumstances. These Leagues were organised by volunteers who took on this task in addition to their work in the youth club. They met weekly to record results, arrange fixtures, deal with disciplinary matters and negotiate with Dublin Corporation for access to playing fields. Table Tennis was a popular game of skill and clubs hosting teams and providing supper arranged competitions. Coaching was provided throughout the season with teachers provided by Comhairle le Leas Oige.
Throughout the sixties there was much co-operation between CYC, Comhairle le Leas Oige, Dublin Corporation and Dublin County Council with a combined commitment to provide services for the new Suburbs such as Ballyfermot, Finglas, Coolock, Artane and Edenmore.
One of the most important events of the sixties was the appointment by the Government, in 1969, of Robert Molloy, T.D. as a Parliamentary Secretary at the Department of Education with responsibility for Youth and Support. He was allocated a budget of £100,000. This was the beginning of a new era for youth work and sport. For the first time a Government Department was assigned an official role in the development of youth services which up to then had been left to the Churches, as part of their pastoral care of young people, and to the international and national voluntary youth movements, such as guides, scouts, girls’ and boys’ brigades, junior sections of the Red Cross, Order of Malta and St. John’s Ambulance Brigade.
The other great event of the sixties was the foundation of the National Youth Council of Ireland. This was, at the time, the first coming together of the national voluntary youth organisations. CYC was one of the founder members and contributed much to its development. During four different years CYC volunteer or staff member held the Presidency of NYCI. We withdrew from membership in 1991 but rejoined in 2000 and now play an active role again in NYCI affairs. The Youth Work Act 2001 recognises the role of NYCI as the single representative body of voluntary youth organisations. NYCI has had a distinguished history and served youth work well for almost forty years. Theirs’ is another story.
The seventies were a time of great change and expansion in CYC, within the National Youth Council and within the Department of Education (then the Department of Labour and then back to Education). A Youth Affairs Section was established which in a way was the beginning of youth services in Ireland.
In 1973 Fr. John Fitzpatrick became full-time Director. He brought fresh ideas, remarkable organisational skills, enthusiasm and energy to the post which he held until 1983, an exciting decade of youth ministry.
Up to then the office and working base of CYC, a Director, a secretary and lots of volunteers coming and going was an attic room in Westland Row in the office of the Catholic Social Service Bureau. It is amazing to look back and realise how much was achieved in such a small space, with one telephone line, an old fashioned typewriter and a gestetner duplicator. Many willing pairs of hands, who were prepared to work the night shift and at weekends to plan and deliver training courses, do the preparatory work for the Red Island Seminars and to organise inter club competitions and events, more than compensated for what was missing in gadgets and office machinery.
It was evident that CYC could no longer function from the attic office in Westland Row, so when the Parish of St. Paul’s, Arran Quay was transferred to the care of the Capuchin Fathers in nearby Church Street, CYC was offered the Parochial House and adjoining presbytery as its Headquarters. Some thirty years later and with some renovations CYC still uses this lovely old building as its Headquarters. It is the only house on the North or South Quays to have a garden which is well tended and which gives staff and passers by much pleasure.
Grand-aid from the Youth Affairs Section of the Department of Education enabled youth organisations, including CYC, to employ professional staff, known as Development Officers, with a remit to support rather than supplant the work of volunteers and to develop new forms of youth services.
The great innovation introduced in 1973 was the idea of Summer Projects. The first Project was in the Liberties in the City Centre and the following year Finglas, a new suburb of large housing estates, organised a Project for almost 1000 young people. The purpose of a Summer Project is to offer young people during the summer holidays an opportunity for a programme of outings, educational visits and home based activities as a compensation for not having a summer holiday. Volunteers supported by staff from CYC and the Community Workers of Dublin Corporation, the County Councils and VEC’s who also gave financial support staff these Projects.
An unexpected outcome of Summer Projects has been their value as a means of bringing adults together to work in their community for a common cause. This was particularly true in newly built areas where there were no closely-knit communities and where the adults scarcely know one another. Over 30 years later the Summer Project still operates, with volunteers doing the fundraising, planning and staffing, with grant-aid help from the Local Authorities and VEC’s. CYC staff offers Training and support. In 2003 there were 132 Projects throughout the Archdiocese, which involved some 2500 volunteers and 21,000 young people.
The spirit of the original Projects still prevails but it is a matter of concern that Clubs and Projects cater for the under 13-age group and for variety of reasons no longer attract the older teenager. This is a challenge, which has to be faced.
It was in the seventies that CYC seized upon opportunities to set up a network of holiday centres through leasing cottages from the Forestry Department, using old schools and former presbytery leased form the Diocese. Primarily, volunteers carried out the much needed refurbishment work with grant-aid from the Department of Education. These cottages are ideal for group holidays, weekends and as a base for outdoor activities. Each user group devises its programme, prepares and cooks the meals. In winter or summer these houses have provided thousands of young people with a taste of country life, a glimpse of the beauty of the surroundings in the Wicklow Hills. Many hundreds of adults worked hard to ensure that these trips away form the City were memorable experiences for the young people.
The Young Traveller
Young people began to travel extensively in the seventies. Youth Exchange groups who came to Dublin under the auspices of CYC, other organisation or alone found it difficult to get budget accommodation. There were no independent hostels at that time. There were two An Oige Hostels, in Mountjoy Square and on Morehampton Road. A small International Section was set up in CYC to manage youth exchanges and accommodation. When the old school at St. Mary’s Place became vacant it was recognised as an ideal central location. The building was vested already in the St. Laurence O’Toole Trust. After successful negotiations with the Diocese ‘The Young Traveller’ opened for young guests in 1978. Gradually more and more private hostels opened and eventually it became and economic liability so with great regret CYC closed this hostel in 1995. It was a well-known venue appreciated by young people from abroad and from Dublin and met the needs of that era. The building is now used as a Counselling Centre ‘Open Heart’, which is run by a consortium of Religious Orders.
This large house, near Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath was leased form the Packenham family of Tullynally Castle. The grounds were extensive and included the shoreline of Lough Derevaragh, which was home to the Children of Lir for 300 years. Many volunteers offered their services to work on the building and outhouses to make them fit for youth and family groups. The guiding spirit was the late Louis O’ Neill, who unfortunately died prematurely and tragically in 1986. Louis’s dream for Coolure was to create a place of welcome for young people, “we come as strangers and depart as friends” was his motto. Year by year the facilities and activates were extended to include a swimming pool, boating on a lake, and obstacle challenge course, mini gold, BMX bikes and most popular of all, horses, which needed to be groomed and exercised daily before the horse riding sessions which were such a joy to the young riders. Clubs and schools came to Coolure for a week or weekend break. There were lots of indoor and outdoor activities to offer and plentiful supply of volunteers. A small kitchen staff prepared and cooked the meals, which enabled the leaders to spend all their time with the young people and engage in all the activities.
Coolure House was officially blessed by the Bishop Kavanagh and then opened by John Bruton, T.D., the then Minister for Youth and Sport. Stricter enforcement of fire regulations after the Stardust tragedy meant that Coolure had to be closed for a period to enable work to be done on bringing the fire safety standards to the level required.
Many young people and countless volunteers contributed to the development of Coolure House and the spirit of hospitality. For many young people it was a turning point in their lives, as well as a place of memories of wonderful holidays. For over 20 years it was an asset, beneficial, it served a purpose.
Times changed, building standards had to meet national guidelines, and the needs of young people in a different era required a different response. By the eighties much repair work required to be done on the fabric of the house, which was beyond our means. After much consideration and in the light of professional advice, the Council decided to close Coolure House and return it to the Packenham family. We are grateful to the visionaries, the volunteers who created something special in Coolure but the ‘old order changeth’………
CYC continued to be active members of the National Youth Council of Ireland and to participate in international events. Ireland signed a cultural agreement with the French Government, which included provision for Franco-Irish joint ventures, for youth group exchange and access to experts for training programmes and to identify opportunities for innovation and exchange of good practice. CYC was an active participant in these ventures which were beneficial in so far as it obliged us to look beyond our own experience, to realise that there were other ways of approaching youth work which could be followed or adapted for introduction in Dublin.
CYC as a Separate Diocesan Agency
In 1977, with the consent of Archbishop Ryan, CYC was recognised as a Diocesan Agency in its own right, with its own Council.
Fr. Fitzpatrick continued as a full time Director. The structures introduced at that time were well thought out and remain in place over a quarter of a century later. Improvement in the grant-aid from the Department of Education allowed CYC to increase its staff numbers and to establish itself as a professional body, within the Diocesan family of services of Dublin and to work for the benefit of all young people, especially those who were poorest and in most need.
The Papal Visit in 1979
Preparation for the visit of Pope John Paul II was the culmination of the work of CYC in the 1970’s. The first visit of a Pope to Ireland enthused the nation as a whole. Young people were involved as helpers, stewards, and singers at all venues. The special gathering and Mass for young people in Galway required careful planning and was a challenging logistical exercise. An inter-Diocesan network of Youth Directors, including Fr. Fitzpatrick, was given music and rehearses the singing. Through schools and youth groups young people were enthused and encouraged to participate. The response was beyond all expectations and the travel arrangements to transport young people from every parish in Ireland were a challenge for CIE, private companies and for the young people. It was a huge task for Fr. Fitzpatrick and a small core of CYC staff and volunteers to co-ordinate with Youth Directors form other Dioceses to ensure the smooth running of the event. For the young people it was an unforgettable day, for those who watched on television the rapport between this charismatic new Pope and thousands of young people, the joyous singing and the dignity of the liturgy was beyond our dreams. These three days showed Ireland at its best, brought Church and State, young and old together in a spirit of good will and friendship.
We could not have imagined that we would have such a beautiful and fitting end to the seventies.
The seventies spilled over into the eighties in so much as the enthusiasm generated by the Papal Visit in 1979 created a demand for a return visit to Rome in 1980. More than 1,000 young people went on pilgrimage led by Archbishop Ryan. This was a great experience for the young pilgrims who got favoured treatment, including a Papal garden party in Castle Gandolfo. The protocol and formalities were put aside to allow for mingling and singing and renewal of that special greeting “Young People of Ireland, I Love you”. Jim Tunney, T.D., Minister of State for Youth Affairs joined the Pilgrimage.
The first World Youth Day was held in Rome in 1984. These events will be described in a separate chapter. In spite of age and poor health his Holiness continues to be energised by young people and his charisma never fails to inspire and challenge them when they come together.
There were many changes in the Youth Services in the eighties in an effort to respond to new challenges, which faced young people.
In the greater Dublin area the housing programme of the City Council spread to the County area. New towns were established in Tallaght, Clondalkin, Lucan and Blanchardstown. The economic situation of the country, as a whole was not good so these areas initially had lots of houses, lots of young people and apart from schools and churches there were few community facilities. The close-knit inner city communities were scattered and it took many years to develop vibrant communities in these new towns.
Youth unemployment increased and many young people could not see any worthwhile jobs on offer so for many the easy option was to drop out of school. The situation described as “the Troubles” in the North of Ireland had a detrimental influence on the people of the whole island of Ireland. The failed attempts at peace making, the horrific loss of life in a violent way, the sense of injustice and hopelessness created a temptation for many young people to engage in and support violence.
Addiction to drugs began to ruin the lives of many young people, especially those who were poor or who lived in an area, which became know as deprived, or disadvantaged. It was a label, which was not helpful for job seekers nor did justice to the many decent people who tried to raise their children in difficult surroundings.
This may paint a bleak picture of difficulties, of a people without leadership or hope or the energy to become self-reliant. There were at the same time opportunities and challenges to Church and to State to provide better services, to listen to the voice of the poor, to respond to direct and oblique cries for help.
The demographic features of the greater Dublin area meant that there were more young people living in the County than in the City.
CYC, NYCI and other youth organisations pressed for a service such as Comhairle le Leas Oige for the County but all pleas were unsuccessful because of the embargo on recruitment in the Public Service at the time. In the mid eighties a solution was found which has worked well, so it was an ill wind by which County Dublin VEC was enabled to contract Foróige and CYC to provide Local Youth Services in the new towns.
The eighties were a period of change, several changes of government, changes in the youth service and funding and a change of Director to CYC. After ten years hard and energetic work during which time CYC made much progress, Fr. John Fitzpatrick was given well earned sabbatical leave.
Fr. Martin Clarke became Director of CYC mid 1983. From his student days and during about five years as a practising solicitor Fr. Martin had been a key leader in the club run by the past pupils of Blackrock College. As a volunteer, he had attended and facilitated workshops at many of the Red Island Seminars and had been active on several CYC voluntary committees. This first hand experience, coupled with his legal expertise, enabled him to be an effective Director at a critical time of expansion and decentralisation.
The Government set up a Committee to examine the needs of young people and to make recommendations as to how youth services might be structured. Mr. Justice Declan Costello chaired the Committee and the Report published in 1985, International Youth Year, bears his name. The Report is comprehensive but regrettably was never implemented in full, especially in regard to the resources, which should have been made available. The Report is a worthy read for all who are interested in tracing the development and needs of youth services.
Decentralisation of CYC and the Development of Local Youth Services
The Archdiocese of Dublin includes all of the Dublin City and County, most of Wicklow and parts of Kildare, Carlow, Laois and Wexford. In geographic terms it stretches from Balbriggan to Arklow and inland as far as Castledermot. CYC had reached the conclusion that it was no longer practical to deliver a youth service from a central office in Arran Quay. At the same time it was agreed that the greater Dublin and Dun Laoghaire VEC, Bray VEC and County Dublin VEC should contract for the delivery of Local Youth Services to existing youth organisations.
CYC’s sister organisation, Foróige, was assigned to give the services in Tallaght and in Blanchardstown. CYC was given the contracts for Bray, Dun Laoghaire, Clondalkin, Ronanstown, Lucan and Balbriggan/Swords. This enabled CYC to set up a network of Regional Offices in these areas. The remit of all these Local Youth Services was modelled on the recommendations of the Costello Report. The idea was to provide a broad based training and support service to all youth groups in these areas and to promote all models of youth work. Earlier CYC had set a local service in the Howth Deanery, which was later amalgamated with the Balbriggan/Swords Youth Service.
These developments and additional funding enabled CYC to recruit additional staff. These extra staff and the need for sound financial management necessitated the recruitment of two senior staff, an Administrator, E. B. O’Connor, and a Head of Youth Work Services, Máire Ni Chionnaith, to assist the Director in the running of the Agency.
In 1986, the Oireachtas passed the legislation to introduce a National Lottery primarily to fund youth sport organisations. While some of the income was used as a substitute for central government funding in the health and social care area, the Government did allocate additional resources for youth work from which CYC was a beneficiary. The Government made a decision that the emphasis of youth work in future should be on services for what described as “disadvantaged youth”. From the beginning, CYC had given priority to the poor so this policy fitted in well with the ethos. Additional funding to enable CYC to have extra staff working in the designated disadvantaged areas under it is care was appreciated.
International Youth Year
The United Nations designated 1985 to youth. An inter-departmental group under the direction of the Minister for Youth Affairs, George Bermingham, T.D., asked the local authorities to organise events for young people in their areas.
These events were enjoyable and did much to heighten the awareness of communities that young people had much to contribute to their areas if given opportunities of leadership.
In 1988 Dublin celebrated its Millennium as a City. Youth groups organised local events and CYC held a Gala Concert in the National Concert Hall to allow young people celebrate in music, song, dance and poetry and their pride in their city.
St. Kevin’s Young Adult Community
In 1984 Fr. Martin Clarke, Director of CYC, together with Fr. Dermod McCarthy, then Administrator of the Pro Cathedral decided to inaugurate a special Saturday evening celebration of Eucharist for young people. From a small beginning of about 15 participants this weekly gathering of some 200 young people at its peak, formed itself into St. Kevin’s Young Adult Community.
The main focus of this Community was the weekly Mass, which was influence by the form of prayer practised at the Ecumenical Monastic Centre for Young People founded by Brother Roger at Taize in France.
The altar table is at ground level and the young adults sit on the floor and oratory is lit by night lights. Each year the Brothers welcome about 3,000 young people every week and host a New Year meeting in different European cities. P24
Fr. Martin led these pilgrimages for about 10 years and in all some 2,500 young people would experienced simple community living based prayer, scripture readings and sharing of the life of the universal church.
Prayers around the Cross were held regularly. This model of the liturgy spread to many schools and parishes.
Teach Chaoimhin and Teach Lorcain in Glendalough
In 1991 we were blessed by the generosity of an anonymous benefactor. We were able to acquire two purpose houses in the Glendassan Valley near Glendalough. These houses, each with its own oratory, have been well used for retreats for youth and school groups for days of reflection. The beauty and solitude of this beautiful valley and its proximity to Glendalough where the spirits of St. Kevin and St. Laurence O’Toole still prevail and the ruins of their monastic settlement are reminders of the early Christian Church in Ireland and the simple life of early Christian Communities as described the Acts of the Apostles (Chapter V), are a sharp contrast to the secular life style offered to young people in the Ireland of the 21st century.
FAS introduced a number of initiatives to combat youth unemployment, such as Teamwork Schemes, then Community Employment Schemes and Jobs Initiatives. CYC sponsored a number of these schemes, which gave CYC an opportunity work with many young people, to provide structured training, to prepare for employment or return to studies, to give pastoral care to allow them serve either community. Over the years hundreds of young people have benefited from participation in FAS Schemes, gone on to worthwhile employment, changed heir life style and become good citizens and members of the Christian community. CYC has been the beneficiary too in so far as the involvement of these young people in our work has added to the value of our involvement in community based youth work. It is regrettable that these schemes were curtailed in 2002/2003 CYC advocated for their retention because of the benefits to individual young people and their families were curtailed. Even though the overall economic climate has improved there is a need to provide training and a daily structure so that early school leavers, ex offenders and addicts can be enabled to adapt to working life and contribute to the community.
Youth Information Centres
In 1983 funding was made available to CYC to set up a one-stop Information Centre for young people in Dun Laoghaire. We were fortunate that the then parish priest, the late Fr. Chris Mangan, made available the Bell Tower of the old St. Michael’s Church for this Centre. Dun Laoghaire staff were the pioneers in the field of youth information, in collaboration with schools in the area and youth and community groups. The use of computers and the development of hardware and software was pioneered in Dun Laoghaire and gradually transferred to other centres on a national basis. In 1988 CYC was awarded funding for Youth Information Centres in Clondalkin and Bray and it is hoped that in the near future funding will be provided, which will enable CYC to have a Youth Information Centre in all the other CYC Regional Offices.
The nineties was a decade of contrasts. The early years were difficult in economic terms, which caused hardship in many areas, and for many families. The issue of drug and alcohol abuse, especially amongst young people in disadvantaged areas, became a matter of serious concern. The response of Government was to create Local Drugs Task Forces in certain defined areas of disadvantage, which already had Local Partnerships. Through these initiatives certain funds became available to CYC to enable it to recruit staff with specific remit to engage in preventive work in partnership with schools, Health Boards and voluntary youth groups. Then a Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund was created from the monies confiscated from the big drug dealers. With these two additional resources in certain areas it was possible to expand its teams and to assign a small corps of staff to work exclusively on drugs prevention work. The professional evaluation of these programmes was positive and a confirmation that this work was valuable and effective.
In 1996 Fr. Martin Clarke retired from the post as Director and was grant sabbatical leave. He had served CYC for thirteen years and saw through the establishment of Regional Offices, the growth of staff numbers and the creation of a Faith Development Team to assist parishes in youth ministry.
Fr. Jim Caffrey succeeded Fr. Martin and he came with a proven track record of youth ministry in the Peace Corps and as Chaplain of the St. Egidio Community in Ireland. It was an intimidating task to take over as Director of what was then a large Diocesan Agency with an expanding number of staff, a web of contractual obligations and in an era of relative prosperity. As the commencement of his ministry Fr. Jim met individually with every single member of staff as a positive indication of his commitment to the pastor care of staff. Then he initiated, with staff, an organisation review under the guidance of Bob Kelly, a Management Consultant, which let to the publication of a Staff Manual and some administrative changes to make the work of managing the Agency more effective. By the sharing of management responsibilities amongst senior staff Fr. Jim arranged to delegate as much as possible so that he would be free to concentrate on the evangelisation of young people, to introduce Lectio Divina as the basis of his youth ministry and to engage in working directly with the young pilgrims to Word Youth Days.
From the mid nineties onwards it was evident that the Diocesan Youth Agency CYC should introduce Child Protection Guidelines and a Code of Good Practice in Youth Work for the Protection of Children. Fr. Jim took the initiative and invited the Directors of three other large organisations to undertake this task, based on the recent guidelines adopted by Church and workers, Health Boards, the diocesan lawyers and staff members, to exchange good youth work practice with other youth organisations. A code of good practice was agreed and arrangements were made to give accredited training to selected staff that in turn provides training to staff and volunteers. All staff members are required to observe this code of good practice part of their terms of employment. This work required much discussion,, much drafting and re-drafting, much training and changes in work practice. All youth groups affiliated to CYC have similar obligations and there are procedures in place for the management of child protection training and reports through a designated Child Protection Officer.
The closing years of the nineties became a preparation for the celebration of Great Jubilee or Millennium, 2000 years since the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Young people were encouraged to join together with their families and in their parishes and neighbourhoods, in prayer, to reflect on the purpose of the celebrations, to give thanks to the Lord for the graces received and to entrust and rededicate themselves and to work with and for young people in the 21st century. While there had been speculation about celebrations in exotic places and by way of wild parties, the Irish, gathered quietly in family groups, special parish liturgies were well attended so in spite of the secularisation of Ireland over the previous 20 years, the Irish people range the old and rang in the new millennium with dignity and in a fitting manner.
Youth Ministry is a form of youth work, which describers the challenge to young people to become disciples of Jesus and to allow them to place an active role in the Church at parish, diocesan level and in the universal Church.
In Ireland in the forties, fifties and sixties and well into the seventies the need for explicit faith programmes for young people outside the school setting was not recognised or admitted.
Until recently there was an assumption that young people grew up in Catholic families, the leaders of youth clubs had a strong Christian motivation and a commitment to their faith which was given witness by their membership of such lay movements as the Legion of Mary and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul or St. John Bosco.
The hopes engendered by the great Council of Vatican 11 that the role of the laity within the Church scarcely caused an immediate ripple of change. The realisation of the changes which would by demanded by the “post-O’Malley” generation of better educated young people, who would not be afraid to question or to challenge their parents, elders, Church or State. The growing secularisation of Ireland as a nation, the political debates, the liberalisation of Ireland law and constitutional changes to accommodate those who argued for diverse, contraception, the women’s right to chose in matters such as abortion were just beginning. Perceived attitudes towards violence, north and south of the border influenced the young. While in retrospect it is easy to read the signs of change and the need to change, the visit of the Pope in 1979 and the consequential euphoria and enthusiasm for the return visit clouded the issues so that the reality and seriousness of the alienation of young people from the Church and to a lesser extent from the State did not manifest itself or be regarded as serious enough to call for immediate remedial action.
The establishment of the Corps of Youth Directors prior to the Papal visit and the decision to keep that body in existence as a link and focal point for the sharing of youth ministry initiatives marked the beginning of a serious commitment to engage with young adults, especially those in the 17 – 23 age group, to provide challenges and support in faith programmes, to organise special liturgies and pilgrimages which appeal to that age group, to give them a role and a say and a sense of belonging to a vibrant Church which listens to the voice of young people.
The 21st Century
The dawn of a new millennium and the emphasis on the true reason for the celebrations created an impetus with Catholic Youth Care to renew the commitment to serve young people, to bring the good news of the Gospels and to give priority to the poor. Fr. Jim Caffrey and the Council decided to invite Very Rev. Dr. Dermot Lane, P.P. to chair a small group and to engage with staff in a pastoral review of the Agency. Staff members had increased considerably in the Nineties and are now in the order of 130, with a further 100 on FAS schemes.
CYC’s recruitment and terms of employment provide for ensuring that all staff work within its ethos, policy and philosophy and observe the code of good practice in youth work for the protection of children. It is nevertheless essential that the staff be enabled to maintain young people at the centre of their work. The first outcome of this process was an agreed Mission Statement which is “TO PROMOTE A YOUTH WORK RESPONSE THT IS CARING, COMPASSIONATE AND CHRISTIAN AND ENABLES YOUNG PEOPLE TO PARTICIPATE FORE FULLY IN THE LIFE OF SOCIETY AND CHURCH”. This Mission Statement applies to the work of everybody who works in the Agency, Youth Workers, the members of the Faith Team and administrative staff. Days of Reflection on the implementation and implications of the Mission Statement were held for small groups of staff from time to time. Two staff members attended a course in the Benedictine Monastery, Ampleforth on “St. Benedict in the Workplace”. They in turn offered staff a short training course based on the rule of St. Benedict and under the title “Searching for God”.
The Faith Development Team
This small team, based at Arran Quay, has developed and expanded its work beyond the original programmes based on “Discovery” and “Why” discussion groups. The main thrust of their work in recent years has been to promote youth ministry at parish level, to provide advice, support and training for parish ministries, such as Faith Friends and Gift Programme. An important initiative in the early eighties was the introduction of the Cycle of Care which was a give year programme post Confirmation with the twin objectives of giving opportunities for young people to deepen their faith and at the end of the five year period they would prepared for playing a leadership role in peer ministry, Faith Friends or in their parish.
Information Sessions are held annually to publicise their work and small brochure called “Update” is mailed to parish to advise them of events and programmes.
In the late nineties the Faith Team, in association with the Gospel Choir of St. Mary of the Angels, devised a Gospel Concert, which could be held in parish churches and combine music and scripture readings. It was evident that this type of event had great potential for attracting large audiences of young people, of engaging them in the singing and of delivering the message of the Gospel in a subtle and effective way. Over the past few years the format has been developed through using the modern multi media technology, which is an attractive and professional presentation of the Gospel to large audiences. These performances, called “Nights of Soul”, are given in about ten parishes each year. In order to give a lasting effect to these events and take it beyond a “one night event”, parishes must arrange a local input from a school group, a folk group and provide young people to act as stewards so as to give them ownership of the event. Afterwards, while the euphoria of the successful “Night of Soul” is real, follow-up programmes for young people are organised with the help of the Faith Development Team.
The Team also has responsibility for hosting the Summer Open House Programmes at Teach Lorcáin and Teach Chaoimhn. The houses are open to all young adults, either singly or in groups to participate in a flexible programme of prayer, reflection, recreation and exploration of the monastic site.
World Youth Days
In 1984 Pope John Paul invited young people to joint him for prayers at a gathering in Rome on 15 August, the feast o Our Lady of the Assumption. The young people were enthused to have this experience of close contact with thee Pope who then established a rapport with young Christians, which has been a special feature of his pontificate. The Pope promised that he would invite young people to meet with him about second year around 15th August and even though his health has failed over the last 20 years, he has kept his promise and millions of people have responded.
CYC has been engaged in the organisation of the Dublin pilgrimage and Fr. And Fr. Jim in turn have been the official delegate to International Preparatory Meetings.
Meetings were held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Chestakowa, Poland, Denver, Colorado, Manila in the Philippines and in Paris, Rome in the Jubilee Years and Toronto in 2002.
Fr. Jim led the pilgrimages in Paris, Rome and Toronto. For each Pilgrimage he engaged the young pilgrims in preparatory work based on Lectio Divina.
While each of these gatherings was special in its own way, the pilgrimage of 1000 young Dubliners to Rome in the Jubilee Year was the most memorable. The setting in Rome, the sharing of parish life in Ostia, going through the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica, the vigil and Papal Mass at Tor Vergata, the sheer numbers of young people was unique experience, which was not marred by the extraordinary heat wave at the time. CYC have been fortunate that in recent years Cardinal Connell and Bishop Jim Moriarty travelled with them. The young Irish Pilgrims were proud and honoured participants at the Catechesis sessions held by Cardinal Connell.
There is much work arising from the preparatory and follow up programmes with the young pilgrims. The Jubilee Office (latterly World Youth Day Office) has been established for the Ministry. Cardinal Connell introduced an annual Mass for young people and a Diocesan Youth Choir has been established to lead the singing at any liturgical functions for young people.
Preparations are in hand for the next World Youth Day in Cologne in 2005.
In 1983, the parish of the Travelling People, Dublin County Council and CYC came together to provide an after-schools service for young travellers on the halting sites in Tallaght. There was a recognition that young travellers at that time were taken by bus to schools outside the area. When they returned home in the evenings they had little space for play or contact with the local settled community. The beginnings were modest; two travellers as team workers and a supervisor. The County Council made an old railway carriage available on the Brookfield site as a base for activities.
A special conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul was set up to work with Travellers in the greater Tallaght area and the members have been generous, hardworking and most helpful to the project. Slowly the project was enlarged through one then a second Community Employment Scheme. The employment of Youth Travellers and settle people facilitated the integration of the community.
Good relationships have been established with local schools and some of the CE Workers work as classroom assistants and accompany the children to and from school, which is a great help in ensuring regular attendance.
Funds from the Youth Peoples Facilities and Services Fund facilitate the employment of a Development Officer whose principal task is to liaise with schools and parents to encourage young travellers to attend local secondary schools.
A boxing club organised by a loc Garda Detective was a great activity for boys and gave them opportunities to mix with the settle community and compete in the national competitions. The County Council build community centres at Brookfield, Ballycragh and Cherryfield, which are good bases for a variety of after-schools activities. In addition to working with young people the school staff work with parents and support them with information, guidance and literacy classes so that they too can keep up with their children at homework. There are ups and downs in the life of the Travellers and many tragedies. At these times it is good that there is service to those with illnesses and particularly when there are tragic deaths through accidents or suicide. From very modest beginnings, CYC now have a comprehensive service to young travellers and their families and close ties with the parish priest of the travelling people.
On – Going Work
The Regional Offices
By 2004 CYC have Regional Offices in Bray and Arklow, Dun Laoghaire, Clondalkin, Ronanstown, Lucan, Finglas and Swords/Baldoyle and a special Youth Service for Travellers in the greater Tallaght area. This may seem to be a haphazard selection of locations. The capacity to establish and maintain a local office is dependent upon the receipt of funding to provide a local youth service. In these areas we were fortunate to be given contracts from Vocational Education Committees. Over the past decade we have been enabled to extend these services through additional funding from the National Lottery Funds for services to the Disadvantaged Youth People and Young People’s Facilities and Services fund, which were allocated to the designated disadvantaged area. This enables CYC direct work with young people at risk, with early school leavers. Unfortunately, neither North Dublin nor Lucan are classified as disadvantaged areas and thus qualify for much smaller amount of grant aid.
Each Regional Office will write a separate history of the work to respond to the needs of the young people and communities in the area. Each provides a range of services to adult volunteers and works directly with young people. In brief, each could be described as a mirror of CYC as a whole.
Outward Bound Actitives
In recent years, CYC has received funding to enable the employment of five Outward Bound officers, based in City and County Dublin, Dun Laoghaire and Bray. These staff have introduced many young people to the adventure activities, such as canoeing, sailing, hill walking, rock climbing and to appreciate our environment. By strictly observing the codes of good practice for the various sports, CYC has been blessed that these sports are organised with an excellent safety record.
Garda Special Projects
In the early nineties the Minister for Justice and Garda Commissioner became concerned about the anti-Garda culture, which was developing amongst young people in certain area. It was no longer safe for Garda to patrol these areas by foot or by car.
On a pilot basis two projects were initiated, one was in Tallaght under the auspices of Foróige and the other was in Ronanstown under the auspices of CYC. The purpose of these projects was to involve Garda, Youth Workers and members of the community to work collaboratively with young people and to divert them from criminal activity and anti social behaviour.
These first two projects were successful so the model has been extended throughout the country and CYC is involved in the management of six such projects in the greater Dublin area.
Drugs Prevention Work
As part of the Government’s Drugs Strategy, additional funding has been made available in the designated Local Partnership areas to reduce substance misuse. CYC qualified for additional resources in Finglas and Bray to enable the employment of staff with responsibility for working in schools and with youth and community groups in these areas. This programme is designed to give young people and parents factual information of the consequences of drugs misuse, to give them the confidence and know how to say no to different forms of drug misuse and to give them the support to do so.
In addition CYC has been enabled to employ a Co-ordinator at Headquarters who provides support and training for all its staff, all of whom come face to face with young people who have become or are likely to become substance misusers. CYC shares the concerns of parents, school authorities, church and state about the high levels of young people who drink well before the legal age and whose excessive drinking patterns are ruining their young lives. It is a priority now for CYC as a Diocesan Agency to expand the alcohol free activities for young people, to encourage abstinence and moderation.
Many Help Hands
The Religious Sisters
Since CYC was established 60 years ago the Sisters have made an enormous difference in the lives of young people outside the classroom. Originally, many Sisters undertook the organisation of youth groups after a difficult day in the classroom, which at that time had up to 50 pupils. These Sisters were eager to learn about voluntary work as distinct from teaching. They attended training courses and conferences to improve their skills and enable them to relate to young people outside the formal school setting. As well as working with local volunteers, the Sisters were generous in making school and convent facilities available for youth clubs. Many retired Sisters, after 40 years or more of schoolwork, undertook parish work with an emphasis on working with young people. Some volunteered to work full-time with CYC, which was a great help. CYC are grateful to the many Sisters for their support and their work. It is regrettable that the Sisters are getting older and there are virtually none to succeed them.
Priests and Brothers
For 60 years successive full-time Directors have been priests of the Diocese appointed by the Archbishop of Dublin and CYC was their fulltime ministry. The Directors were priests with gifts and vision who ensured that CYC responded and expanded to meet the needs of the era. For many years students at Holy Cross College, Clonliffe and priests in parish were generous and effective youth ministers. The decline in the number of priests and the reduction in parish staff, places a responsibility on lay people to play an active and leading role in the evangelisation of young people.
Government Ministers and Public Representatives and Officials
CYC has its origins in the co-operation between the then Archbishop and Minister Sean Lemass, T.D. For over 60 years CYC has maintained these good working relationships. Uachtarain na Eireann has graciously acknowledged our work by attending functions. Government Ministers and Ministers of State for Youth Affairs have been are supportive.
At local level, public representatives have encouraged staff and volunteers. The area of the Archdiocese covers the area of several local authorities. Mayors and Cathaoirligh have publicly recognised the value of CYC’s work.
The officials of Government Departments, State Agencies, Local Authorities and Vocational Education Committees are helpful and show an understanding of the pastoral youth work. They are always supportive and helpful and we are grateful to them.
The Headquarters staff based in Arran Quay include the Director, Administrator, Head of Youth Work Services, The Accounts Unit, The Information Officer, support staff, co-ordinators of specialist services, the faith team, the world youth day office and the secretariat.
At present there is a staff of about 130 between those based Headquarters in Arran Quay and throughout the Regional Offices. In addition, CYC sponsors seven Community Employment Schemes, which have a total participation of some 100 part-time staff. An important feature of Fr. Jim Caffrey’s ministry has been to offer training, days of reflection and opportunities for staff to up date their skills and to get an insight into the core Gospel values which underpin the work. Fr. Jim introduced a tradition of setting aside Ash Wednesday each year as a day of reflection on the Christian ethos. The format is that all staff, from Headquarters, the Regional Offices and the specialist services, gather in Holy Cross College, Clonliffe. Keynote speakers, including Sr. Stanislaus, Monica Attius, Fr. Iraneau, Fr. Peter McVerry, the late Noel Clear, at the time President of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and a former Council member, John Lonergan, Una O’Higgins-O’Malley and Stephen Rowan, gave a talk. Afterwards, there is a ceremony of the distribution of the Blessed Ashes followed by a modest collation. The annual gathering of all staff brings them together to pray, to reflect on an aspect of their mission and to focus on their work as a Diocesan Agency.
At present there is great diversity in its work, in its sources of funding and in its obligations to Government Departments of Education and Science, Justice, Arts, Sports and Tourism, several Vocational Education Committees and FAS. CYC work collaboratively with Local Authorities, with parishes and with schools.
It is now possible to keep up to date on current future development in Catholic Youth Care through the website: www.cyc.ie
This is the story so far…………………..and as Archbishop Martin has said “the story of the past 60 years is a challenge fore the future”. As one of the caring services of the Diocese must commit CYC to be an active part of the Diocesan effort to work together for mission with and for young people.
Archbishops – Patrons
1944-1972.1 Most Reverend John Charles McQuaid
1972-1984 Most Reverend Dermot Ryan
1984-1987 Most Reverend Kevin McNamara
1988-2004 His Eminence Desmond Cardinal Connell
2004- Most Reverend Diarmuid Martin
1962-1965 Monsignor Patrick Devine
1965 Fr. Peter Lemass
1966-1972 Fr. Patrick McDermott
1972-1974 Fr. Eamonn Clarke
1974-1983 Fr. John Fitzpatrick
1983-1996 Fr. Martin Clarke
1996 Fr, Jim Caffrey
1977-1978 Patrick Gallagher
1979-1980 Patrick Carey
1981-1983 Patrick Gallagher
1984-1986 Tony Gorman
1987-1994 Mr. Justice Michael Moriarty
1995 Siobhan Corry
1996-2002 Sr. Uainin Clarke
2003- Michael Wall
Heads of Regional Offices
Howth Deanery Youth Service
Bray Youth Service Youth Service
Dun Laoghaire Youth Service
Finglas Youth Service
East Wicklow Youth Service
Clondalkin Youth Service
Lucan/North Kildare Youth Service
Ronanstown Youth Service
Tallaght Travellers Youth Service