Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) has renamed its library the ‘de Chastelain Library’ in honour of General (Ret’d) John de Chastelain. The ‘de Chastelain Library’ was unveiled at a civic reception held at DkIT attended by General de Chastelain and his wife MaryAnn.
General de Chastelain served twice as Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff and as Canada’s Ambassador to the USA. He was one of three Independent Chairmen involved in the talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement and oversaw the International Commission on Decommissioning in Northern Ireland.
DkIT President, Michael Mulvey, PhD welcomed John de Chastelain, saying: “Today we celebrate General John de Chastelain, a man who gave Ireland hope in darker times and who helped to define peace on this island. His pivotal role in the Northern Ireland Peace Process has had a transformative effect on our region of North Leinster South Ulster and we are delighted to be joined by him and his wife MaryAnn today. We are pleased to continue his legacy with the naming of the ‘de Chastelain Library’. We are confident that it will provide a powerful source of inspiration and motivation to our students and staff in years to come.”
Dr Sheila Flanagan, Registrar & VP for Academic Affairs, DkIT; Cllr Clifford Kelly, Chair of Governing Body, DkIT, General John de Chastelain; MaryAnn de Chastelain; Michael Mulvey, PhD, DkIT President ni the in the de Chastelain Library. Picture Ciara Wilkinson
General de Chastelain said: “It is a deeply humbling experience to have the Dundalk Institute of Technology library dedicated in my name. I firmly believe that education is fundamental in helping to breaking down divisions in our communities. Education helps us form the lines for the future and it is wonderful to show my support for the important work of the Institute. I have been immensely impressed by warmth of DkIT students and staff during my visit.”
The two floor de Chastelain Library was designed by renowned architect, Scott Tallon Walker and officially opened its door to students and the wider public in 2000. The library is located in the TK Whitaker Building, named after the late eminent public servant, Thomas Kenneth Whitaker.
General de Chastelain made reference to this during his speech, saying “It is a real privilege to be named within a building dedicated to this great man, whose work I have admired for a long time. He was a true architect of modern Ireland.”
During the reception, the Institute announced that the launch of a new student graduation prize, the ‘MaryAnn de Chastelain President’s Prize’. The award will be issued annually to a graduate of one of DkIT music programmes in recognition of MaryAnn’s affection for Irish music and culture.
The civic reception was organised in conjunction with Ireland Park Foundation, Toronto and included a speech by its President and Founder, Robert G. Kearns.
Other speakers at the event included Mr Tim O Connor, Independent Reporting Commission and former Consul General of Ireland New York, Joint Secretary North South Ministerial Council. Mikaela McKenny and Tiernan Connolly O'Brien, pupils from St Joseph’s National School, Dundalk recited the poem Lake Isle of Innisfree, by W.B. Yeats. They were accompanied on harp by Dr. Helen Lawlor, Acting Head of Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music at DkIT.