January 12, 2018

Dear Member and Friend:

The 123 rd Annual St. Patrick's Day Dinner and Dance of the County Leitrim Society of New York will be held on Friday, March 9 th , 2018 at Antun's, 96-43 Springfield Blvd., Queens Village, NY 11429. The deluxe cocktail hour will begin at 8:00 PM and followed by dinner and dancing to the McLean Avenue Band. Tickets are $90.00 each. Please make reservations early and payment prior to the dance is greatly encouraged and appreciated.  

The Guest of Honor this year is Padraic (Pat) Gallagher. Pat hails from Knockacullion, Aughnasheelin, Co. Leitrim. He is the son of the late Packie and Lucy (nee Dolan) Gallagher, both from Leitrim, and he has one younger brother Michael. Pat attended Tullybawn National School, Rosary High School, Carrick-On-Shannon and Drumshanbo Technical School.  

Pat emigrated to England with his family when he was 17 years old. His first job was sweeping floors for the Kent County Council. He later joined a plastering firm, Ferguson Bros., before joining PJ Burke, Kent Ltd, a civil engineering and plant hire contractor. In 1971 Pat bought his first JCB digger, thus setting him on his way to establishing the Gallagher Group. The following year he married Mary (nee Boylan), a nurse at Maidstone Hospital, originally from County Monaghan. Together they have four children; Richard, Lyndsey, Nicola, and Stephen, and six grandchildren.  

Over the last four decades, The Gallagher Group has become Kent's largest privately owned building, civil engineering, aggregates, and property business. The company has a turnover of over 110 million pounds and employs over 500 people.   Pat is also a very successful cattle breeder, with a herd of over 200 Aberdeen Angus and Limousins, on a farm of over 600 acres. His other passion is race horses; three of his most cherished horses are named after his Lovely Leitrim home, with such names as Iron Mountain, Leitrim House, and the Earl of Leitrim. Pat has been a major contributor to local charities and The Gallagher Group are also keen sports fans and major sponsors of Aylesford Bulls Rugby Club and Maidstone United Soccer Club.   Although Pat has built his business in Kent and the South East of England, he is still a very proud Leitrim man. He returns regularly to his home near Ballinamore and is a big supporter of the Leitrim community. We are delighted to have Pat as our Guest of Honor this year.  

The Distinguished Service Award recipient this year is Meg McKeon-Baker. Meg was born in Astoria, NY to Olive McCabe of Kilclare and Barney McKeon of Drumshanbo. She was soon joined by her siblings; Tommy, Brian, Cathi and Rob and the family lived in Jackson Heights. Tragedy struck when a fire destroyed their home and Brian was lost in 1959.  

Meg attended Corpus Christi Elementary, St. Agnes Academic HS and Hunter College. She was fortunate enough to spend her junior year abroad at Trinity College, Dublin. After graduation Meg worked for Councilwoman Arlene Stringer until she was voted out of office. She then worked as a paralegal for Frank Durkan at O'Dwyer & Bernstien. In 1979 she married Jimmy Baker and started her family. She has four children; Brian, Sean, Deidre and Liam .  

The family moved to College Point, Queens in 1991, where Meg worked in the restaurant business while her children were young. This afforded her the opportunity to be involved in all of her children's activities. She was president of the PTA, a member of the District 25 Leadership Team, Presidents' Council Board member and coached in the Auburndale Soccer club, bringing the first girls in club history from U-8 through graduation from High School.

In August 2003, the NYC Department of Education created a new position, Parent Coordinator, to assist families in getting the best public education possible for their children and Meg was hired at PS 184 in Whitestone. Meg has been a member of the Leitrim Society for many years but became more active as her PTA and soccer obligations ran their course. Meg is the current Treasurer of the Leitrim Society and along with her siblings sponsors a College scholarship for the Scholarship Fund, in memory of their parents, Olive and Barney. Meg is very appreciative of this recognition and we congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.

We are publishing a Souvenir Journal in conjunction with the dance and a contract is enclosed. Please strongly consider placing an advertisement in our Journal as it offers the benefit of wide exposure to the Irish Community in the tri-state area. A return addressed envelope is enclosed for your convenience. If you have any questions, please call Marie Dunleavy at (914)409-8719 or any member of the committee  

For reservations, please call Bernadette Dunleavy at (917)648-2144. Please make all checks payable to ‘County Leitrim Society of NY' and return to Bernadette Dunleavy, 238 Blackford Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10704 before March 6 th !  

Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you on Friday, March 9th .  

Sincerely,

Sharon Brady, Chairperson (914)224-1158

Dessie McWeeney, President (516)443-0485  

Bernadette Dunleavy, Reservations Chairperson (917)648-2144

Marie Dunleavy, Journal Chairperson (914)409-8719

For a Journal Contract please click here