THE large number of people being nominated for this year’s West Cork Garda Youth Awards is evidence of the tremendous work being done on the ground by the young people of West Cork.
A total of 128 young people were nominated for the prestigious awards, which are held in association with SuperValu.
This figure demonstrates the contribution being made to their community by the youth of West Cork.
‘The judging committee would like to acknowledge the high standard of nominees from across the entire spread of West Cork,’ said Insp Pat Meany of Bandon Garda Station, chairman of the judging committee.
‘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,’ he added.
Gda Damian White, the 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.
Overall awards (6):
Amy Sexton (18), Lislevane, Bandon
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.
Jordan McCabe (18), Newcestown, Bandon
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.
Eoin Quinn (19), Bridge Street, Skibbereen
Eoin joined his local Civil Defence branch in 2013 and he was involved in the relief work due to the flooding of Skibbereen that year. Eoin has qualified in 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 speedboat for the Civil Defence.
Ellen O’Driscoll (17), Crookhaven, Goleen
Ellen has a passion for environmental issues, and she sees the way that natural resources are being wasted and diminished. During her 4th 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.
Timothy O’Driscoll (17), Watergate St, Bandon
Timothy went to Nepal in the summer of 2016, 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’.
Mair Kelly (17), Gortnacarriga, Goleen.
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.
Emily Horgan (17), Keel, Innishannon
Emily has achieved notable success in her athletic career to date. She is currently the Cork County, and Munster Champion in both hammer throwing and the shot put, in the Under 18/19 age category. Emily came fourth in the All Ireland competition in the shot put.
Leah Murphy (18), Parkana, Bantry
Leah attends Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí, where she is a member of the Student Council, as well as being an auditor for the School Bank Committee. Leah became a mentor with the ‘Meitheal Mentoring Programme’, assisting first year students as they transitioned to secondary school. Leah was part of a school group that organised activities for attendees of CoAction, twice a week for a period of six months, this was part of a Healthy Lifestyle Programme.
Josh McGuinness (18), Ard na Gaoithe, Bantry
Josh is a member of the Bantry Unit of the Youth Red Cross. From the first day of his membership, he has shown himself to be totally committed to the Unit, fully immersing himself into all Unit activities. He has gained his Practical First Aid Certificate.
Shane O’Neill (18), Glandore
As part of his Transition Year in Saint Fachtna’s de la Salle college in Skibbereen, Shane carried work experience with the Skibbereen Cope Foundation, assisting people with intellectual difficulties. Indeed, even after his work experience was completed, Shane continued to attend Cope, and interacted with the attendees there.
Brian O’Sullivan (19), Rosscarbery
For the past three years, Brian has volunteered with CoAction which provides supports and services to children and adults with intellectual difficulties. He has assisted in the running of their summer camps, giving freely of his time, and he also volunteers monthly with CoAction. Brian travelled to Lourdes as a helper on the Diocese of Cork and Ross Pilgrimage.
Sean Timothy Sheehan (16), Rathmore
Sean Timothy is a very committed member of the Social Action Group in Rathmore, where he has been a member for the past 3âears. Presently the group are developing the old Presentation Convent, with a view to renovating the convent itself for the Presentation Sisters, and building four new homes for older adults in the community. Sean Timothy is actively involved in the physical work necessary, as well as assisting in the fundraising effort. He has been part of a group that collected house to house, and has raised €12,000.
Ellen Lucey, (18) Macroom
Ellen carried out her work experience in the Cope Foundation in Macroom, where they work with people with intellectual difficulties. Ellen got on so well with the residents there, that she has continued giving of her spare time to visit there. Ellen has become a volunteer with Cope, spending every Wednesday evening interacting with the residents.
Group awards (2)
Ballinascarthy Foróige Club (25 members).
Brian O’Neill, Cormac McCarthy, Tadgh Crowley, Sean Ryan, Clara Crowley, Kelsie Buttimer, Cassendra O’Sullivan, Kevin O’Neill, Tadgh O’Neill, Megan McDonagh, Ceri Jayne McDonagh, Aaron Ryan, Cian Ryan, Ciaran Brennan, Padraic Cullinane, Lorna Combes, Joe McCarthy, Ciaran Nyhan, David McCarthy, Mathew McCarthy, Darren O’Donovan, Niall Walsh, Kate O’Donovan, David Brennan, Jonas Van der Velde.
For the past couple of years, this group has been involved in researching historical events in the local community. They have carried out in depth research into the ancestry of Henry Ford, whose family lived in Ballinascarthy before they emigrated to America. Henry Ford went on to establish the Ford Motor Company. This group created a 45-minute film based on their research.
‘Are You My Type’ Young Social Innovator Group (11 members)
Brendan Duggan, Denise O’Sullivan, Paudie O’Leary, Danielle Murphy, Ciara Hanley, Jack O’Sullivan, Cian O’Shea, Andrew O’Neill, Siomhadh Murphy, Óisin Murphy, Michael O’Driscoll.
This group are all 6th year students of Scoil Phobail Bhéara in Castletownbere. For their Young Social Innovator project, they based their work on blood types and blood donation. They surveyed 736 people regarding blood donation, visited blood clinics and the blood laboratory. They created posters in 8 different languages and gathered details of 204 potential new blood donors. They created resources to raise awareness of blood donation, and sought to educate their peers on this topic.
Special Achievement award (6)
Wiktoria Karcz (16), Ballineen
Last year, Wiktoria’s father passed away, after suffering cardiac arrest. Since that time, she has been taking care of her mother, who suffers from poor health, and is confined to a wheelchair. When her mother was recently admitted to CUH, it was Wiktoria who was at her mother’s bedside. Wiktoria has the responsibility of looking after her mother’s daily needs. This requires carrying out all the household duties, and Wiktoria is also the main translator in the household.
Andrew O’Connell (16), Riverstick
Andrew is an active member of Riverstick Foróige Club, where he takes full part in the varied activities of the club. When he transitioned from primary school to secondary school, Andrew became somewhat isolated and withdrawn. Challenging these difficulties, Andrew has turned all his negative energies into positive ones. He is regarded as a great asset to Riverstick Foróige Club.
David O’Neill (19), Timoleague
On St Stephen’s Night 2015, David was walking across the bridge in Bandon, when he became aware of a distressed young female. This girl had climbed up onto the wall of the bridge, and the river below was flooded, and the water level was high, and flowing fast. David managed to bring the girl back down from the wall on two separate occasions, but she managed to climb the wall a third time, and she jumped into the river. David ran down from Bandon Bridge, across onto Watergate Street, where he could access the river. Without a moment’s thought for his own personal safety, David jumped into the river. He battled the strong flow of water, and somehow managed to pull the girl out of the river, and onto the riverbank. David then contacted the emergency services, and when they arrived, it was apparent that the girl was suffering from hypothermia, and in need of hospitalisation. David himself was frozen, wet, and tired from his exertions.
Ceri Jeffers (18), Laragh, Bandon
Ceri is currently attending St Brogan’s College in Bandon. Ceri has an extremely rare degenerative neurological condition which affects her motor skills, co-ordination and mobility. Walking and performing everyday tasks are difficult. Ceri is the only recorded case of her condition in the world, and has undergone numerous operations and procedures throughout her life.
Holly Healy (18), Castle Court, Macroom
On Friday October 7th 2016, Holly was walking along Patrick St in Cork city. Ahead of her, she saw a person lying on the ground just outside Merchant’s Quay. Holly could see that the man was in obvious distress, and she was very surprised that people were just walking past him, without trying to help him. As she got closer, it became apparent that the man was homeless. Holly approached the man, knelt beside him, and tried to rouse him. Eventually he came to, but he was in a lot of pain. She took her coat, and placed it under the man’s head, to make him more comfortable. She contacted the emergency services, and she followed the instructions given to her by the operator to keep the man safe until the ambulance arrived.
Arron (13) & Cian O’Leary (15), Ballinhassig
When Arron was born, he was diagnosed with a twisted bowel, and underwent lifesaving surgery in Crumlin Hospital. He fought against the odds, and survived. Then came the diagnosis that Arron had Cystic Fibrosis, a long-term illness involving constant medication and care. Arron’s older brother Cian was also tested for CF and he, too, was diagnosed with the illness. In the intervening years, the brothers have undergone countless hospital admissions, weeks of IV drugs. Utilising nebulisers, the taking of medication, and having breathing machines to assist at night have become part of the family life. Cian can somewhat lead a normal life despite the ups and downs that come with his illness. Arron underwent a double lung transplant in Newcastle in December 2015. Arron has shown remarkable courage, and a positive outlook on life. He never complains, and he is a shining light for all. Cian is a tremendous support for his younger brother.
Outstanding contribution to youth award
Anne O’Driscoll, West Cork Traveller Centre, Clonakilty
Anne first became involved with West Cork Travellers in 1979, when it was the Clonakilty Combined Local Organisation Action Group set up to challenge the poor living conditions for Travellers in Clonakilty.
Since then, she has been involved as a volunteer, an advocate, and a member of Traveller women’s groups. When working in the community, Anne can involve others, and to get to the heart of the issue. As well as being a Traveller advocate, she has raised her own family, and worked in other areas. Anne is a strong, proud Traveller woman.
The awards ceremony takes place this Friday night in the West Cork
Hotel in Skibbereen.