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Senator Mike Duffy, Canada.

Senator Mike Duffy, the Prince Edward Island representative in the Senate of Canada and a retired TV Presenter of note, paid his first visit to Ireland and to Monaghan on the week of May 23rd, 24th and 25th. One of the sites he wanted to visit was the Tombstone of the late Canon Patrick Moynagh as he had helped the Senator’s forefathers to leave Ireland, go to PEI, and set up a great community there. I met with the Senator and his wife, Heather, at St. Patrick’s Corracrin and of course Monaghan’s unofficial Ambassador to Canada, Willie McKenna was there too. The Senator was visibly touched being at the burial place of a great priest who did so much for the people he served. He said that we must never forget what the church has done for communities down through the ages.

On Thursday morning the Senator was introduced to the Ulster Canal project and was updated on progress. He was very impressed and looked forward to the project getting under way as it will bring many benefits to the entire region.
On Thursday afternoon the Senator presented an Atlas/Encyclopaedia on Ireland but this production was special. It was taken to Canada by the Senators grand father. He had added personal notes and inscriptions. Prior to his death he bequeathed it to another Irish man, named Burke, with whom he was very close and friendly. Prior to his death Mr Burke left it to his daughter, Nora. Some weeks before the Senator came to Ireland she phoned the Senator to tell him about the book and said that she would like to give it to him, which she did. He then decided that the Book should return with him to Ireland from whence it came and so he took it with him and presented it to the Monaghan Museum at a function in the Museum. Liam Bradley, Curator, accepted and thanked the Senator for the presentation and stated that this would be a very important and positive addition to the Museum resources. Councillor Paul McGeown made a presentation to the Senator to mark the occasion. The Senator informed the gathering that due to the baby boom in Canada after World War 11 the number of people reaching retiring years is increasing dramatically. They will have money, time and an eagerness to do something different. A huge number of them have Irish origins and there is a growing desire to trace roots. Ireland and Monaghan in particular can tap into this massive market and the resultant influx of visitors will be of great benefit to our economy. He praised the work of Willie McKenna in developing the links between various parts of Canada and Monaghan and in attracting big numbers of visitors to Monaghan each year.

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