Homemaker Carmel Lynn refuses to be confined to the house finding additional fulfilment working in her community.

A regional finalist in the Housewife of the Year competition, Carmel Lynn from Dundalk in County Louth believes housewives can combine homemaking with a life outside the home.

With her four children at school, Camel Lynn has a lot of time to herself which she is using for personal development. She recently undertook a community development course with An Chomhairle Oiliúna (AnCO).

It has given me more confidence in myself and it has given me an opening to go and do the things I want to do.

Carmel Lynn wants to help people in her community and is working on a project to establish a co-operative to support young people. Carmel and her group have set up an advice and information centre in Dundalk. A second information centre has been opened in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan. Carmel is now working on the development of another community development scheme for Dundalk.

Unfortunately community development schemes only give employment to young people for 12 months. The recession which has excessively impacted Dundalk, means there is no work for them when they finish the scheme. Nevertheless Carmel feels the skills the young people gain over the year are of benefit to them.

Carmel Lynn stood for Fianna Fáil in the local elections, the only woman candidate to stand with nine men. Initially she was dreading canvassing but she was buoyed by the feedback she received.

You're marvellous, you know you’re a great girl, not enough women are involved in politics.

Family support was vital to Carmel when she was canvassing. However she does not feel her activity outside the home has been detrimental to family life. She is well able to look after her children while pursuing personal goals. Her children are happy with the family dynamic and do not have any complaints.

This episode of 'The Women's Programme' was broadcast on 17 January 1986. The reporter is Doireann Ní Bhriain.