‘Historic’ election of woman as Pioneer Association’s president

‘Historic’ election of woman as Pioneer Association’s president Fr Robert McCabe, new Pioneers president Frances Egan and outgoing President Matt Boylan are pictured after Ms Egan was appointed the Pioneer Association’s first woman president on Sunday, March 10. Photo: John McElroy

The election of a woman as president of the Pioneers for the first time in the apostolates’ 125-year history has been described as “historic”.

The election of Galway-based mother of four, and grandmother of three, Frances Egan, was announced on Mothers’ Day, Sunday, March 10, with Ms Egan stressing the ongoing importance of the Pioneers’ witness in Ireland.

“The Pioneers has a huge influence on society,” she told The Irish Catholic. “I think we’re needed now more than ever.”

Ms Egan encouraged all Pioneers to wear their pins so that people “know we are the people who are praying and helping them along and then obviously we abstain from alcoholic drink”.

The spiritual director to the Pioneers Fr Robert McCabe, expressing his joy at Ms Egan’s election, also highlighted the importance of Pioneer witness.

Fr McCabe noted that a report issued by Alcohol Action Ireland released around the time of Ms Egan’s appointment shows how “very timely” her election is. The report warned of the increase in alcoholism among women.

Concerns have been raised over the alcohol industry’s marketing campaigns in Ireland which increasingly target women, especially through sport.

It is estimated that alcohol causes at least 200 breast cancers every year in Ireland, but only 21% of women were aware of the connection between alcohol consumption and the risk of developing breast cancer.