There was great euphoria and cause for optimism in Ballyjamesduff last Sunday night when local man, Matt Boylan, returned triumphant from Dublin, having been installed as the Irish president of the Pioneers and Total Abstinence Association (PTAA). The chain of office was handed over to Mr Boylan by outgoing president, Jim Shevlin, at a ceremony earlier in the Gresham Hotel. Matt follows in the footsteps of two other Cavan men, Sean Coll and Shane Kitson. The master of ceremonies for the ‘welcome home’ celebration in St Joseph’s Hall was Hugh Farrell, Diocesan president of the PTAA.
Matt revealed that he had been attending central council meetings for at least 20 years and there were four generations of the Boylan family at the ceremony in Dublin. He is looking forward to his new role and will be hitting the ground running.
Fundraising for the association and the finalisation of a new constitution are high on his agenda.
“It will be a lay association – I certainly hope that we will be backed by our bishops, as we still have to have some spiritual guidance, which is most important,” he said.
A delighted Fr Andrew Tully commended Matt Boylan for all he has done for the pioneers to date in this region and the Diocese and as a delegate to Central Council.
“I know he will be a great ambassador for our organisation and a person the association requires at this point in time,” said Fr Tully.
Mattie McCaffrey, president of the region, wished the new president well and was encouraged to see such a wonderful crowd present at short notice.
A former national president of the PTAA, Shane Kitson congratulated the Matt on his election. “It is an immensely proud night for this centre here in Ballyjamesduff,” he said.
“We are in the midst of huge change in the pioneers – the society of Jesuits have pulled out this year after 120 years – we are in the middle of working out a new constitution,” added Mr Kitson.
The diocesan spiritual director of the PTAA, Fr Johnny Cusack said the Pope is expected in Ireland in August and suggest that Matt Boylan, as national president of the PTAA, might be granted an audience.
At the March meeting of Cavan County Council on Monday, members paid tribute to the appointment. Cllr Paddy Smith (FG) first mentioned the achievement of Matt Boylan in attaining the position of president of the PTAA. Cllr Smith said that Mr Boylan was the fourth person from the dioceses of Kilmore to assume the role and commended him on a lifetime of dedication to the works of the PTAA.