Jimmy Cunningham heads task force against alcohol

Jimmy Cunningham is a local builder who is deeply involved in the scouting movement.

He is also the chairperson of the youth facilities sub committee of the Task Force Against Alcohol and Substance Abuse.

Jimmy is married to Dympna and they have two daughters, Kelly Ann (14) and Alice (11).

The family lives at Donoghue, Carrickmacross. Jimmy is the son of Gene and Rita Cunningham of St Joseph’s Tce. He is the oldest of the family and he has two brothers. Pat and Bobby and one sister, Caroline.

“I would describe myself, I suppose, as outgoing and fun loving. I like to get involved in anything thats going on.”

Jimmy went to the Regional Technical College in Dundalk which is now the Dundalk Institute of Technology where he obtained a Diploma in Construction Studies.

“On leaving college I worked for Monarch Properties for two years which was run by the late Phil Monaghan.” Jimmy was involved in the design and construction of structures such as The Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght and Dundalk and Navan Shopping Centres.

In or around 1987 Jimmy started work in the family business, Farney Builders along with his father Gene and his uncle, the late Packie Cunningham.

“There has always been a great tradition of building in my family. The business started by my grandfather, James who went into partnership with my uncle Packie. My father, Gene, had his own construction company for many years but when Packie got older he joined forces with him and Farney Builders was established. jimmy says that he has been on building sites from he was eight or nine years of age. “ I was always destined to work in the business.”

“There has always been great characters in the building game and no two days are the same on any building site. There is also the challenge of getting involved in the design of a building and then seeing it through until its completed to the client’s satisfaction.”

Jimmy explains that since 1987 the building trade has changed beyond recognition.

“There is far more emphasis on safety nowadays which is a good thing. The other most notable thing would be that the trade is less labour intensive as more specialist machinery is now involved at all stages of construction. Jimmy has been a member of the Carrick scout troop for thirty years. He is currently unit leader in Carrick and previously held the prestigious post of regional scouting commissioner which covered Monaghan, Louth and Cavan. “I love scouting because it involves many outdoor pursuits such as camping and hill walking. Its down to practicality and much like the building trade as it happens. The biggest kick that I get out of scouting is watching the young scouts progress in the movement to such a stage that they are able to look after themselves,” said Jimmy.

As Chairman of the Task Force Against Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Jimmy said that it is important that there are alternative social outlets for the young people of Carrickmaccross.

“There is still an ever increasing problem n Carrickmacross with under age drinking and drug use.
There must be alternative facilities made available to our youth otherwise these problems could spiral out of control. This situation is not acceptable and needs to be addressed adequately.”

Jimmy says that his favourite food is steak and chips.” I look forward to that particularly after a hard Monday on the site. It keeps me going for the rest of the week”.

Jimmy’s favourite actress is Willis’ former wife Demi Moore. Not surprisingly his favourite film is Die Hard. “The Die Hard serious of films were great but the first one was by far the best as far as I am concerned.”

Jimmy’s greatest memories are the day that he got married to Dympna and then the birth of his two daughters.

“I also remember going to see the pope in Drogheda in 1979. It sticks in my mind because we went with the scouts and we were right up the front providing a guard of honour for him.”

Jimmy says that his favourite holiday destination is Florida. I take a few weeks holiday every year and Florida has everything - plenty of attractions for all ages and warm weather. I also like getting away on the odd scouting weekend in Ireland.”

Jimmy says that his favourite musical artists are REM and Bob Dylan.” I have seen both in concert, I was at REM last year at Marley Park in Dublin and Dylan at Slane and the first ever Slane Concert. Both those concerts also hold great memories for me.

“There is also a fantastic tradition of bands in Carrickmacross which is great and such talent should be encouraged at all costs.”

With a bit of a smile Jimmy says that his greatest fear is dying. ”I say that because I like to be in full control of any given situation and I have no control over that. I don’t know what to expect!”

Jimmy thinks that Carrickmacross needs to rediscover its sense of community. “In my opinion the town’s population is increasing at such a rate that people no longer seem to have time for each other or getting involved in things for the benefit of the overall community.”

“I grew up in Carrick and the town, despite its few problems, is still a great place to live and raise a family.”

Courtesy of the Dundalk Democrat
August 2004