Jim Quigley

Each year Skerries Athletic Club present an award called the Jim
Quigley Award. It is given to an athlete who has shown commitment & perserverance over many years, who respects their coaches and is supportive to their fellow athletes. Basically someone who exemplifies the attitude we promote as a club, rather than based on athletic ahievement. But who was Jim Quigley?

The award is presented in honour of Jim Quigley, a champion of community
development; a larger than life personality who was a dreamer and a doer;
an idealist and an activist. Jim was born in 1942 and grew up in
Toomevara, County Tipperary. He attended school firstly in Nenagh and then
Mungret College, Limerick. He spent two years in the SMA Seminary, Cork
before moving to Dublin where he worked initially in the bar trade and
subsequently in sales, with Telecom Eireann. In 1970, Jim married Brigid
Carolan and shortly afterwards the couple came to live in Skerries,
purchasing their home in the newly built Hillside Estate.
An Irish Times obituary in honour of Jim, published shortly after his death
in August 2001, refers to the ‘missionary zeal’ with which he approached
his involvement in community development. In this, Jim was inspired and
influenced by the movement, Muintir na Tire, founded by Canon John Hayes in
Thurles, County Tipperary, in 1937. Self-help, neighbourliness, service
for the common good are the core principles of Muintir na Tire and Skerries
provided ample opportunity for Jim’s energy and commitment to these goals.
Jim firstly volunteered in his local Residents Group and from there was
drawn to the Skerries Development and Community Association where his
involvement lasted 22 years. Jim was Chairperson of the SDCA for ten of
those years and worked on many, many projects. Perhaps the most visible
legacy of his work in Skerries is the Community Centre. In 1977, the
Skerries Development and Community Association set up a sub-committee to
look at the needs of their fast-growing town. Jim was a leading member of
this sub-committee which lobbied central government; the local authority,
then Dublin County Council and the residents of Skerries to raise the
necessary funds to build a Community Centre. The Centre opened in December
1982 and Jim was determined that it would succeed and flourish. He kept a
keen eye on income streams including the Saturday evening bingo event where
he was a regular presence. In the course of encouraging his own children
Orla and Edel, Jim became involved in community games at local and national
level and served as chairman of our own Skerries Athletic Club. In the early
1990s, the SDCA was asked to collaborate with the County Council in the
development of Ardgillan Castle as a visitor attraction. Jim became
Chairman of the Board of Management and attended meeting after meeting as
this project got off the ground. The same can be said of his involvement
with Fingal Tourism, formed in 1994 to coincide with the new Fingal County
The opportunity to take early retirement from Telecom Eireann allowed Jim
to pursue his ideals for community development and to commit his energies
to this area which was so important to him. He had rekindled his links to
Muintir na Tire in their Golden Jubilee year of 1987 and in 1994 was
elected the organisation’s first full-time President. As with every other
project, Jim threw himself into the work; travelling up and down the
country; establishing Community Alert units; lobbying and advocating on
behalf of vulnerable people and communities. He became a member of the
Rural Development Strategy Group; was a member of a steering committee for
a White Paper on ‘Voluntary Activity and its relationship to the State’; in
1999, he was nominated to the National Crime Forum by John O’Donoghue TD
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Jim was named Tipperary Man
of the Year in 1999, an accolade he treasured as he dealt with the onset
and diagnosis of a brain tumour. Jim died on the 29 August 2001. We
remember him and celebrate his life’s work with this award.