Rita Fagan

beautiful Oak Tree is based in a small park at the back of St. Catherine’s Church where Robert Emmet was beheaded in Thomas Street, Dublin.

I chose this amazing tree to hug as it is a great source of nurture and inspiration for me in my work as a Community Development Worker at a grass-roots level. For over eight budgets now the heart has been ripped out of communities & people’s lifelines their community & youth projects are being closed as a result of austerity policies. Those who were not at the Celtic Tiger party have had to pay dearly.

My own project the Family Resource Centre, St. Michaels Estate who works daily with the most marginalised from the cradle to the grave has been struggling.

This Oak Tree of which I pass every morning on the way to work gives me daily energy to find the strength to fight the injustice. This tree stands tall and proud, its roots are deep and rooted in the soil. Its spirit is unshakable and unswayed by the seasons of change.

It is a symbol of hope and endurance. We too must stand as strong, as dignified and as persistent in the struggle to bring about justice and equality. AUSTERITY KILLS!!


Rita is from a working class family in the Liberties, Dublin. She went to the sewing factory at 14. Through the 14 years there she became active in the Trade Union Movement. She spent 11 years voluntary and 1 fulltime in the Dublin Simon Community. From here she was sponsored by good people to partake in the Community & Youth work course in NUI Maynooth. On a placement from this course, Rita came to St. Michaels Estate. 25 years later she is still in this struggle with this grassroots community and is the director of the Family Resource Centre, Women’s Community Development Project.

She has travelled widely and has been involved politically in the issues effecting Central America and Cuba. For 9 years she led a protest outside of the U.S. Embassy challenging U.S. foreign policy in the said region. She is also committed to the struggle of women at grassroots level who are very much on the margins and who’s struggle on a daily basis is to survive structural poverty, last but by no means least she believes, that the struggle for justice and freedom not only embodies pain but also joy through celebrating our lives and the outcome of the struggle.