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Published on : Monday, December 7, 2015
Six remarkable Co. Clare individuals and one group, all in their teens, have been celebrated for their selfless involvement in community, as well as their individual triumphs over adversity, in the county’s inaugural Garda Division Youth Awards sponsored by Shannon Airport.
The teenagers received their awards at a function at the West County Hotel in Ennis on Thursday night after being selected by a committee comprising representatives from An Garda Síochána, Shannon Group and Clare based print and broadcast media.
The seven winners were Caitlin Campbell, Quilty; Clodagh Sulley, Ennistymon; Jane Doyle, Scarriff; Luke McEvoy, Shannon; Ruth Nolan, Kilrush; Jesse Onyejekwe, Ennis and North Clare Irish Red Cross Cadets.
The winners, in addition to being the first honourees in the awards programme in Clare, were also recipients of a very special and unexpected prize from Shannon Airport – a flight for two people to a UK destination for the individual winners from Shannon and a €500 flight voucher for the North Clare Irish Red Cross Cadets group.
Speakers – including Shannon Group Chairman Rose Hynes, Clare Garda Division Chief Superintendent John Kerin and Elma Walsh, mother of inspirational Kerry teenager, the late Donal Walsh – all spoke of their admiration for the community and personal leadership that the award recipients have shown. Said Ms Hynes, “These awards thank and recognise outstanding young people not only for the leadership they have shown within their communities in Co. Clare – but also for their support and contribution to create a more harmonious society. I hope the awards will inspire many young people with leadership potential. “Awards like these make a difference – both to the community and to the award recipients. The award winners may not today realise it but an award like this differentiates them from others, including later on when applying for jobs or further education. It says – this person goes the extra mile. This person has leadership potential. This person has character. Character isn’t a fancy coat that you put on every now and again – it is who you really are.”
Imparting advice to the students, she continued, “We have plenty of dreamers, talkers, doers and critics in the world – it is always the doers who shape the planet. The dreamers are necessary, the talkers talk, ignore the critics – what’s important is to choose your goal in life and stick with it. Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown you out – have the courage to follow your heart and intuition- dare greatly.”
The mother of inspirational young Kerryman, the late Donal Walsh, told the Shannon Airport the attendance that it’s incumbent on adults to celebrate youth wins and work them through defeats. Donal (16) lost his battle against cancer in 2013 but only after making the bravest of calls, including weeks before his death, for his peers to work their way through mental health problems. “If I’m meant to be a symbol for people to appreciate life, then I’ll be happy to die,” the heroic young Co. Kerry man stated.
Carrying on the torch lit by him, his mother Elma is now a leading campaigner for mental wellbeing amongst young people, “Events like this are very important to give young people the encouragement to fulfil their enormous potential, show them they are appreciated and that the positive things they do are noted. It is very important.
“Parents play a very important role here. They are so important in children’s lives. They have to encourage them, not least when times are difficult. They have to particularly celebrate their victories but also be positive about losses.
“If their children are involved in community work, whether that’s through their local church, GAA or other community groups, they have to cheer them on and support them.
The fact that they take part in anything like this at all is positive. I spoke to a hurler once and he told me that for every one negative that you are told, it will take ten positives to clear that from your mind. So we just need to be more positive with them.”Clare Garda Division Chief Superintendent John Kerin said, “These are our first awards but we have gotten off to a superb start. The idea for the awards is to give due recognition to young people for their great community work and personal achievement. “An Garda Síochána is not merely a law enforcement agency but is also very much at the heart of community activity as well.
We are particularly keen to connect with young people and these awards are an example of that. Young people are far too often categorised in negative tones when, as we see here with tonight’s award winners, they do so much good work as well.”MC for the event was broadcaster and media personality Ciana Campbell. Music was provided by Ennistymon Colaiste, Scarriff Communty School and two newly qualified gardai at Ennis Garda Station, Cait N Chualain and Bébhinn Ní Ghríofa.
Source:- Shannon Airport
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