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Local youths honoured at West Cork Garda Awards in Dunmore House

May 29th, 2024 5:30 PM

By Southern Star Team

Local youths honoured at West Cork Garda Awards in Dunmore House Image
At the annual west Cork Garda awards at Dunmore House Hotel was the Tanzania team from Kinsale Community School: Aoife Stokes, Hailey Good, Ciara Deasy, Jeanne O'Connor and Veronique O'Toole with teachers Roisín Long, Kate Carmody, Siophra Skinner and Maisie O'Callaghan, with students David Tobin, Luca Dalton, Sean Bowemn and Oscar Power. (Photos: Denis Boyle)

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THE West Cork Garda Youth Awards celebrate outstanding young people between the ages of 13 and 21 years.

An Garda Síochána in West Cork and SuperValu recognise that a lot of good work is being done by young people in every community in West Cork.

The awards were presented last Friday night at Dunmore House Hotel in Clonakilty.

Overall awards (5):

Felix Pratheesh, Skibbereen

Felix volunteers in his local care centre on a regular basis. Felix has also assisted with residents from Skibbereen Retirement Village when they go on outings. Felix is an excellent ambassador for the Indian community in Skibbereen.

Aaron Ryan, Ballinascarthy

Aaron has been a champion for suicide awareness and Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland and took on an incredible fundraising feat. He challenged himself to run four miles every four hours for 48 hours, running a total of 52.5 miles, while being deprived of sleep for two nights. Aaron wanted to show others that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and in the process he raised over €6,600. Aaron has also been a very active member of Ballinascarthy Foróige Club for a number of years.

Eve Cave, Bandon

Eve is a member of the Bandon Girl Guides, where she has volunteered on several nights a week to run activities for the younger Brownies section. Eve is a school prefect at Bandon Grammar School, a representative on her school student council, and also a member of the Bandon Biodiversity Steering Group. Eve was part of a transition year group that reached the final of the ECO – Unesco’s Young Environmentalist Awards.

Maebh Doyle, Bandon

Maebh volunteers weekly with the Ladybirds – the youngest group of the Irish Girl Guides. In 2022, Maebh received her Trail Blazer National Guides Award – which is the highest award in guiding. St Brogan’s student Maebh is currently completing the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership programme and she will graduate late this year with a level 6 NFQ youth leadership and community award from NUIG.

Meabh Doyle from Bandon, an overall winner.


Emily Cronin, Ballymakeera

Emily raised €2,500 in funds for the Hope Foundation, and she travelled to Calcutta where she volunteered for three weeks. Emily worked with the most vulnerable people in deprived conditions in Calcutta. Emily also volunteers with West Muskerry Athletics Club twice a week and also at competitions during the summer.

Katelyn Cronin with her sister and overall award winner Emily Cronin from Ballymakeera, accepting her award from Audrey Scally, Scally's SuperValu Clonakilty. Left: Bandon district winner Doireeann Walsh at the awards.


District Awards (4):

Bandon: Doireann Walsh, Bandon

Doireann is a member of the National Youth Council of Ireland and she has addressed public representatives and even spoke at Leinster House regarding the need for additional youth services in West Cork. Doireann is a member of Kilbrittain Foróige, and has been elected to the Foróige Reference Panel.

Bandon district winner Doireeann Walsh. Picture Denis Boyle


Bantry: Ella Mai Griffin, Schull

Ella Mai has fundraised for Schull Community Hospital, where she visits weekly, and won the Friends of the Elderly award. She is a member of Goleen Foróige and has assisted with the Girl Guides. Ella Mai was involved in running a film course with the YMCA. She acts as a mentor in the buddy system in Schull Community College.

Clonakilty: Joseph Lawlor, Ballinspittle

Joseph suffered a serious knee injury at a young age, and he had to undergo surgery to partially reconstruct his knee. This was a setback for Joseph as he was a promising boxer. Nevertheless, he redoubled his efforts to train to a high level. Joseph has completed work experience with CoAction, working alongside those with additional needs. He sees people’s abilities as opposed to their disabilities.

Macroom: Emily Mehigan, Macroom

Emily is a senior patrol leader with Macroom Girl Guides and is currently completing her bronze Gaisce award. The St Mary’s Macroom student Emily was elected to sit on the youth advisory group on climate. Emily will partake in an upcoming national climate stakeholder forum in Dublin. Emily represented Ireland at a youth participation conference in Madrid in 2023.


Group Award (3):

Walk ‘Cause You Can, Coachford

This group of five students from Coachford College set about a remarkable initiative. It was a meaningful display of support for their much-loved deputy principal Diarmuid Hickey who had MND – Diarmuid sadly passed away in March 2024. The students organised for the entire school community to walk 10,000 laps of the school walkway, which raised €51,787 for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Macroom Foróige, Macroom

Foróige in Macroom are involved in every community event. They contacted management in their local emergency accommodation centre, and have organised monthly visits there. Foróige members have volunteered with: Darkness Into Light, Irish Guide Dogs Walk, Lions Club Food Appeal, Macroom Food Festival, St Patrick’s Day Festival, and they have maintained a Foróige garden locally as well.

KCS Tanzania Team 24, Kinsale

This group of 15 students from Kinsale Community School raised over €17,000 and travelled to Tanzania at their own cost. They were able to provide sufficient ingredients for one year of breakfast and lunch for the local Stella Maris school there. Any money left over went to a project that provides individually tailored wheelchairs for disabled children.


Special Achievement Award (3):

Jessica Jane Waschowitz, Castletownbere

Jessica (Jessie) was born with Down Syndrome. She has continually defied the odds. Jessie developed an interest in blacksmithing when she was 16 and has forged a career in this ancient craft. Through her social media, Jessie was noticed by the US National Down Syndrome Society and showcased on the iconic Times Square billboard.

Jessica Jane Washkowitz from Castletownbere, a special achievement award winner, with trainee Garda Sean O'Sullivan from Bandon, Jessica Jane's mom Katie and sister Renne.


Naomi Dambe, Clonakilty

A native of Botswana, Naomi fled her home country to escape threats to her life and physical abuse. Naomi is active in the campaign against racism. She was MC for the Cork Racist Summit, and in school is a mentor to younger children.

Liam Ryan and Clonakilty mayor Chris Hinchy, a former garda ,with Clonakilty winner Naomi Dambe.


Brian O’Driscoll, Drimoleague

In September 2023, Brian’s father passed away suddenly at the age of 53. The eldest of four, Brian took on the responsibility of running the family farm in addition to his day job. Brian’s father was very involved in bowling, and Brian has carried on a fine family tradition and won the All Ireland Novice 1 Championship just days before his father passed away.

Winner Joseph Lawlor from Ballinspittle.

Community Safety Award (2):

DJs Engineering, Kinsale

These four students from Kinsale Community School come from farming backgrounds and designed a product that makes the dehorning of calves safer and more efficient.

Safety Streets, Kinsale

These two students identified unsafe walking routes in Kinsale, and wrote to Cork County Council making suggestions on how to make these routes safer. They organised for the road safety officer from Cork County Council to come Kinsale Community School.

Kinsale winners Brian Nagle and Garoid Whelton with teachers Dian O'Shea and Claire Sheehan.

Outstanding Contribution To Youth Award

Anthony McDermott, Clonakilty

Anthony is a volunteer par excellence. He is co-chairperson of the Clonakilty Youth Centre. Anthony has been a referee in the West Cork League for nearly 35 years, and is prominent in Clonakilty Tidy Towns. He has also served as a member of Clonakilty Town Council for 15 years.

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