Christmas Message from the IOBA Chairman
2010 has been quite a year! A new Government, new ideas, new policies, and almost certainly new problems! Yet, all in all, most people seem to have a positive outlook. The predicted ‘double dip’ after the recession does not seem to have materialised, yet! The high streets are buoyant and business and commerce seems to be on the up. Working within a major international automotive company, I can see at first hand that our order books are looking positive, and our global investments are increasing. But, like most, although fairly optimistic, I am cautious about the robustness of the upward trend.
From a military perspective, the PM has announced his intention to withdraw, albeit with the exception of a small ‘mentoring’ force, British troops from Afghanistan by 2015. Although of course, unwise for me to comment on the feasibility of such a withdrawal, this can only be managed once we are confident that the security of the region is stable in the hands of the Afghanistan National Forces. Only time will tell. We have reached 345 British military deaths in the region to date, with a further 1,500 or so life changing injuries affecting our brave service men and women. The trend has changed however, with the more recent casualties being as a result of gun shot wounds as opposed to IEDs. This is due mainly to the improved counter IED equipment now available in theatre and the increasing skill of the enemy snipers. They are now able to pin point their rounds to the most vulnerable areas with incredible accuracy from long range, with the latest weapons supplied by sympathetic countries.
On a positive note, we have a Royal Wedding to look forward too! And an extra Bank Holiday to boot, how good is that! On a not so positive rate, it looks like Ireland is going to go through a period of complete and utter monetary chaos, maybe even to the extent that it will bring down the Euro! What an interesting year 2011 looks to be?
To that end, I would like to thank all those members who had booked into the Carreg Mon Hotel for the original planned Reunion/AGM weekend in 2011, for their understanding and support in agreeing with our proposal to move the weekend forward by one week to SATURDAY 4th JUNE 2011. All your bookings have been moved as discussed. For the remainder of you, hopefully you will have seen the e-mail sent on my behalf by Steve Humphries explaining the background behind the move of date. I sincerely hope that it does not inconvenience you in any way and look forward to seeing you all at the reunion on what is now back to the historical first weekend in June.
In summarising, I again urge you to consider nominating someone for the ‘less fortunate member’ scheme. It really can make a considerable difference to them in determining whether or not they can afford to attend the annual reunion. It has proved very successful to date and we would very much like to see it continue. And as before, I again ask you to spare a thought over the festive period for our service men and women serving overseas on operations. They and their loved ones need your prayers.
Finally, as always, I would like to thank on your behalf, all members of the committee who have continued to work tremendously hard in supporting the Indefatigable Old Boys Association. They are the backbone of our organisation and the cement that keep it all together, and the oil that keeps it lubricated and running smoothly. But most importantly, I would like to thank you, our members, for your continuing support in keeping our Association alive.
A Merry Christmas and a prosperous new Year to you all.
Colonel Bill O’Leary TD / Chairman IOBA