Above: Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan presenting a Special Achievement Award to brothers Arron and Cian O’Leary from Ballinhassig, with their parents Paul and Caroline.
An assembled audience in excess of 250 guests gathered at the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen on Friday, November 25 to laud the 22 award winners at the 21st West Cork Garda Youth Awards, in association with SuperValu.
Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan, Divisional Officer for Cork West and Kerry Garda Divisions, paid tribute to the Award winners, stating that he had no doubt that these young people would be the leaders of the future. He also stressed the importance of young people volunteering in their communities, and that An Garda Siochana was delighted to be in a position to honour the Award winners. He also said that the Award winner’s dedication and commitment to their communities, be that local, national, or international was uplifting to witness
This year, 128 young people were nominated for the West Cork Garda Youth Awards, in association with SuperValu. This figure demonstrates the contribution being made to their community by the youth of West Cork. Indeed, it is an acknowledgement of the tremendous work being done on the ground by the young people of West Cork.
Inspector Pat Meany, Bandon Garda Station, who was Chairman of the Judging Committee, remarked “The Judging Committee would like to acknowledge the high standard of nominees from across the entire spread of West Cork. We would also like to thank the members of the public who took the time to make the nominations. An Garda Siochana would like to pay tribute to SuperValu for their sponsorship of the Youth Awards for the past 21 years.”
Garda Damian White, PRO for the Youth Awards, stated that it was important to recognise that all the nominees would benefit, not just the Award winners. All other nominees will receive a Certificate signed by their local Superintendent to highlight their nomination. Adding this to any CV will most definitely enhance it.
There were six winners in the Overall awards.
Amy Sexton, Lislevane, Bandon, (18 years)
Amy has been a very active participant in the Community Awareness Programme of the Sacred Heart Secondary School in Clonakilty. She spent time on her Transition Year work experience with the Penny Dinners community organisation in Cork city. Amy assists in the Saint Fachtna’s Community Care Centre every Thursday evening, and she also volunteers with the Meals on Wheels group. Amy has been involved in a variety of charity fundraising events, including the Darkness into Light walk and the Clonakilty Charity Cycle. She is an active member of her local Foróige club and is involved with the Barryroe Choir, and is a Minister of the Word in Church. Amy has trained as a tour guide in Clonakilty Model Railway Village, to become an ambassador for the town. She was awarded a Certificate by the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards and has also completed her silver Gaisce Award.
Jordan McCabe, Newcestown, Bandon, (18 years)
In the summer of 2016, Jordan travelled to Nepal to assist in the volunteer aid work there following on from the earthquake of 2015. Jordan assisted in the relief effort, as towns and villages were rebuilt with support from Irish aid agencies. He is co-owner of Bounce Discos, which provides discos for those under 18 in the West Cork area. In his school, Hamilton High School, Jordan has partaken in varied charity fundraising events for causes such as the Saint Vincent de Paul, and Mental Health awareness. Jordan was a winner of the Irish Rotary Youth Leadership Development Competition and he was one of only nine national winners, to go and represent Ireland at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Jordan was a winner of his school’s Outstanding Achievement Award 2016, and as part of the school’s public speaking team, he reached the semi-final of the Cork West Mental Health Public Speaking Competition.
Eoin Quinn, Bridge Street, Skibbereen, (19 years)
Eoin joined his local Defence branch in 2013 and he was involved in the relief work due to the flooding of Skibbereen that year. Eoin has qualified bin a variety of courses, including CPR and First Aid. He has qualified as a lifeguard and as a sailing instructor, and he is currently training to be an instructor as cox in the speed boat for the Civil Defence. Eoin has been at the forefront of many different searches for missing people in the wider West Cork area, where his knowledge and ability on the water was a great asset. Eoin is a very talented musician, as he plays the uilleann pipes, and he has twice won the All Ireland in the Fleadh Cheoil competition. He has put these talents to good use, as he plays regularly for the elderly in his local Community Hospital.
Ellen O’Driscoll, Crookhaven, Goleen (17 years)
Ellen has a passion for environmental issues and she sees the way that natural resources are being wasted and diminished. During her fourth year in Schull Community College, Ellen was involved with the YMCA, and she spent a week in Co. Down at a Global Justice Summer Camp. As part of a World Vision International initiative, Ellen represented Ireland in Brussels in 2015. Ellen spoke on the topic of ‘Making Rights a Reality’ in a panel discussion in the RDS, again representing her country. Ellen had the privilege of interviewing President Michael D Higgins in relation to young people’s participation in Sustainable Development Goals. Ellen attended a conference on climate change, speaking on behalf of Trócaire as a youth speaker. She also spoke at a World Wise Global Schools event in Thomond Park., highlighting the importance of developmental education within our schools.
Timothy O’Driscoll, Watergate Street, Bandon (17 years)
Timothy went to Nepal in the summer of 20156, in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake there. He was involved in physical work (assisting in the building of a school), and educational work (teaching local children English). Timothy was a finalist in the National Action Aid Speech Writing competition in 2016. His entry was titled ‘Educating Women is the key to International Development and Ending Poverty’. He has achieved his bronze Gaisce Award. Timothy was ambassador for Hamilton High School in China in 2015, for the UCC Confucius Institute’s Chinese Language and Culture Tour in Shanghai. Timothy is a member of his school’s Amber Flag Committee, promoting positive mental health. He was the team leader for the science project selected for the BT Young Scientist Competition in 2014. He has recently won the school leg of the Rotary Youth Leadership Development Competition.
Mair Kelly, Gortnacarriga, Goleen (17 years)
Mair is currently a fifth-year student in Schull Community College. She was part of a group that won a National Award for their ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ video. Mair is also very involved with Comhairle na nÓg, and the YMCA. Indeed, Mair was chosen to attend the European Youth Event in 2016, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Mair took part in the Global Youth Work Project with the YMCA, creating a video to increase the awareness of the principle of the right to education. Mair also attended the Dochas Summit on the Sustainable Development Goals in Croke Park in 2016, where she interviewed participants for a promotional video. She has volunteered for a variety of charitable organisations and events locally, including Cycle Against Suicide, Schull Friends of the Elderly, Munster Special Olympics and the Goleen and District Community Council.
District awards went to: Bandon – Emily Horgan, Keel, Innishannon, (17 years); Bantry – Leah Murphy, Parkana, Bantry, (18 years); and Josh McGuinness, Ard na Gaoithe, Bantry, (18 years); Clonakilty – Shane O’ Neill, Glandore, (18 years); Macroom: Sean Timothy Sheehan, Rathmore, Co. Kerry (16 years); and Ellen Lucey, Macroom, (18 years).
There were two winners in the Group award: Ballinascarthy Foróige Club (25 Members); and ‘Are You My Type’ Young Social Innovator Group (11 members).
The Special Achievement award went to six nominees: Wiktoria Karcz, Ballineen, (16 years); Andrew O’ Connell, Riverstick, (16 years); David O’ Neill, Timoleague, (19 years); Ceri Jeffers, Laragh, Bandon, (18 years); Holly Healy, Castle Court, Macroom, (18 years); Arron and Cian O’Leary, Ballinhassig, (13 and 15 years).
The Outstanding Contribution to Youth award went to Anne O’ Driscoll, West Cork Traveller Centre, Clonakilty.