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A tribute night was held in Lackagh Parish Centre on Friday last to honour Fr. Des Walsh, who is retiring as parish priest at the end of the month.

For the past nine years, Fr. Des has been leading the pastoral duties of the parish, having come to the area from Williamstown.

It was working with the schools that Fr. Des became a leading light and he worked diligently with classes for First Communion and Confirmation every year.  Fr. Des also worked with parents in the preparation for the sacraments.

He worked closely with the Pastoral Council and through this work led to many improvements in the parish. One of the first duties after arrival was to carry out major improvement work in the sacristy which had fallen into disrepair and while many said that the building needed to be knocked, Fr. Des opted for a total clean-out that transpired the building at a much lower cost and also made the area round the altar safer by removing a step and erecting a fixture for a backdrop that brightened up the altar area.

His next major undertaking was the building of the parish centre which has been a huge benefit to the community and this as undertaken in conjunction with Lackagh Museum committee. Lackagh Parish Centre now caters for the Parish Office as well as being a huge benefit to both the church community and the parish community.

Speaking at the farewell function Chairperson of the Pastoral Council Willie Ahearne paid tribute to Fr. Des and said that in his nine years in the parish had made a tremendous contribution to all walks of life in the parish and community.

He said that he was delighted that Fr. Des had decided to continue to live in the parish for a while and will celebrate his Golden Jubilee in Lackagh Parish next year when the church renovation will be completed.

Fr. Des paid tribute to the community at Lackagh and in particular to the Pastoral Council. He said that the leadership and cooperation that they gave was inspiring at all times.

He thanked the schools of the parish, teachers, parents and pupils for all their assistance over the years.  He also thanked the Church Renovation committee and the Fundraising committee for their huge effort in organising the church renovation and added that it will be a massive and beautiful improvement when completed.

Fr. John O’Gorman has been named as the new Parish Priest of Lackagh.