This year, a total of 141 young people were nominated for the West Cork Garda Youth Awards in association with Super Valu. This figure demonstrates the contribution being made to their community by the youth of West Cork. Inspector Brendan Fogarty, Bandon Garda Station, who was Chairman of the Judging Committee, remarked “Each year we are consistently impressed and humbled by the sacrifices made by these young people, as they contribute to their community, both at a local level, and also in wider areas. The award winners are truly worthy, but the standard of nominations in general was at a very high level. An Garda Siochana would like to pay tribute to SuperValu for their continued sponsorship of the Youth Awards.”
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.
Niamh Whooley, Ballyvogue, Goleen, Co Cork. (18 years): Niamh has been a leader of her community from an early age. She is a member of Mizen Rovers Scor na Paisti, and Scorn na nOg clubs, and has represented the club in set dancing, instrumental music, and solo singing. In February 2013, Niamh took part in an exchange programme with a High School in Lesotho in South Africa. During the exchange programme, which lasted a week, Niamh was an active participant in a forum, discussing HIV/AIDS, and its consequences. Niamh was also involved in a Link Project within Schull Community College, whereby a group of students identified and implemented a project within their local community. They submitted a proposal to upgrade the kitchen facilities in Goleen Community Centre, and successfully received funding for the project. The students group were at all times very involved with the various stages of the project, and the kitchen now provides 50 hot meals for locals on a weekly basis. Niamh was also part of a group that entered the Young Social Innovators (YSI) focusing on ‘self image’, and how people can feel good about themselves, without following fashion or trends. They presented their findings regionally, and reached the national final.
Tracey Cronin, Coolroe West, Inchigeela, Macroom, Co Cork. (18 years): Tracey is an active member of the Liz Lucey Memorial Committee, who fundraise for Marymount Hospice, and they have raised over €60,000 over the past few years. Tracey is head of advertising and promotion for this Committee, a job she excels at. She is very involved in her local Church, member of the choir and Minister of the Word. Tracey also participated in the Scor musical competition, and now, as she is over age for competing, Tracey volunteers as a helper, and prepares the youth in her locality for the competition. She has a distinct interest in interacting with the elderly, and for a period, she gave voluntarily of her time to visit the Nursing Home in Macroom to visit with and play music for the residents there. In her school community, Tracey was chosen to be a mentor for first year students, and she undertook this task with great enthusiasm. She is Chairperson of the Students Council, which meets on a weekly basis, and addresses any issue of concern to students. Tracey has been involved in fundraising for Trocaire and the Hope Foundation.
Conor Corkery, Liscahane, Millstreet, Co Cork. (15 years): Conor is very involved with Millstreet GAA Club, representing his Club, as well as his school, McEgan College. Currently in Transition Year, Conor has been involved in fundraising, in particular for the COPE Foundation. He is an excellent role model, as well as a loving brother to his older brother John, who is autistic. Conor is always available to look after John’s needs, and his willing involvement with John’s care means that his parents can attend to other household matters, and minding the farm. Conor takes John for walks on a regular basis, and encourages John to socially integrate to the fullest extent. Such is Conor’s dedication, that last summer, when John was in respite, Conor ensured that his parents got a well earned break themselves, while Conor remained at home to look after the farm for the two days. Conor has displayed outstanding characteristics in a young man, selflessly thinking of others, rather than himself.
Ciaran Michael O’Donovan, Skeagh, Skibbereen, Co Cork. (17 years): Ciaran is a very dedicated young volunteer. He is an accomplished musician, and he is a regular visitor to Skibbereen Hospital, where he entertains the patients. He also gives freely of his time and talents by performing at various charity and fundraising events. He has held a variety of positions within his local Foroige Club, and he has played a significant role in the Club’s fundraising for Cancer Connect, and the Children’s Leukaemia Appeal. He has acted as Chairperson, and Treasurer of the Comhaltas Og, and he is a prominent member of his vibrant local branch. Ciaran also encourages younger singers, by giving them lessons and giving something back to his local community. He has worked with the COPE Foundation locally as part of his Transition Year Programme, and also raised funds for the Simon Community and Trocaire. Ciaran is a very giving of his time and energy, always available to assist where needed, and he gives great example to those around him.
Jade O’Shea, Bengour East, Newcestown, Bandon, Co Cork. (16 years): Jade is a dynamic young lady, who has been a member of her local Foroige Club for the past three years. She played an integral role in the Club’s 2011 Christmas Fun Day, putting her artistic talents to full use. This has now become an annual event, much anticipated in the community. The Club’s current project is to create a recipe book, aimed at creating interaction between the older members of the community, and the youth in the area. Jade has proven to be a leader amongst her peers, always embracing any task with a pleasant and charming personality. She has been involved in fundraising for a variety of worthwhile causes, amongst them, Pieta House (suicide awareness), the Guide Dogs for the Blind, and the local Senior Citizens Group. In the past year, Jade has also compiled a scrapbook, detailing the history of the locality surrounding Newcestown. Jade was also part of a team that presented a Cyber Bullying Awareness Project in the local Bandon Dragon’s Cave, highlighting this important and relevant issue.