The Lord Mayor honours ‘a hall full of heroes’

The Lord Mayor honours ‘a hall full of heroes’

Mna Feasa, overall winners - Aba Salami, Carol Goulding, Ruth McLaughlin, Ann O’Mahony, Geraldine Johnson and Mary O’Connell, at the Lord Mayor’s Community & Voluntary Awards, with Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, Ann Doherty, CEO, Cork City Council, and Maurice Gubbins, editor of the Evening Echo, sponsors at City Hall last night. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

UNBELIEVABLE, breathtaking and humbling was how the recipients of civic awards last night described their honour.

A glittering ceremony saw the Lord Mayor of Cork recognise dozens of groups and individuals from a wide range of backgrounds for their important impact on life in Cork city.

These included social outlets, sporting groups and essential support networks.

Winners of civic awards at the City Hall last night, front from left, Rena Buckley, Tom Coleman, Tracey Kennedy, Pat Lyons, and Derry O’Callaghan, with the Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald and Ann Doherty, CEO Cork City Council.	Picture: Eddie O’Hare
Winners of civic awards at the City Hall last night, front from left, Rena Buckley, Tom Coleman, Tracey Kennedy, Pat Lyons, and Derry O’Callaghan, with the Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald and Ann Doherty, CEO Cork City Council. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

The ceremony saw the Lord Mayor, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, present five Civic Awards to impressive individuals, as well as recognising a further six community and voluntary groups, and handing out awards to members of frontline emergency services and the defence forces for their essential work during Storm Emma and Storm Ophelia.

Ann Doherty, chief executive of Cork City Council, was among those who paid tribute to the recipients on the night.

She said, “Cork people are remarkably resilient and dedicated. We are a population of doers, not complainers and that is evident from the 600-plus community and voluntary organisations in our city.”

The Civic Awards were issued first, recognising specific individuals who have changed and improved the city, according to the Lord Mayor.

Gráinne O’Connell-Walsh, Bernie Buckley, Theresa O’Sullivan, and Sean Monagan, Ballyphehane Togher CDP, the winner of the community development category with Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, Ann Doherty CEO Cork City Council, and Maurice Gubbins, editor of the Evening Echo, awards sponsors. at the City Hall last night.
Gráinne O’Connell-Walsh, Bernie Buckley, Theresa O’Sullivan, and Sean Monagan, Ballyphehane Togher CDP, the winner of the community development category with Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, Ann Doherty CEO Cork City Council, and Maurice Gubbins, editor of the Evening Echo, awards sponsors. at the City Hall last night.

Tom Coleman, the chairman of Blarney Street Community Association, has worked in the area since 1980, improving the lives of those on the street.

“It is unbelievable, breathtaking,” he said.

“We have worked very hard for years and there is more still to come,” he added.

Ann Maria O'Connor and Donal O'Shea, representing Bru Columbanus winners of the social services & environment section award at the Lord mayors Community and voluntary awards with The Lord Mayor Clr Tony Fitzgerald, Ann Doherty CEO Cork City council and Maurice Gubbins, editor of the Evening Echo sponsors at the City Hall last night.Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Ann Maria O'Connor and Donal O'Shea, representing Bru Columbanus winners of the social services & environment section award at the Lord mayors Community and voluntary awards with The Lord Mayor Clr Tony Fitzgerald, Ann Doherty CEO Cork City council and Maurice Gubbins, editor of the Evening Echo sponsors at the City Hall last night.Picture: Eddie O'Hare

GAA superstar Rena Buckley added her Civic Award to an impressive haul that includes 18 All-Ireland medals in camogie and football.

“It is a great honour,” she said.

“But I am just in awe at the work done by the volunteer groups here tonight. They’re fantastic. I was lucky enough to be part of a team. I’m accepting this for them too.”

Ruairi O'Farrell, representing Cork Foyer and Bishopsgrove winners of the Advocacy/information guidance section award at the Lord mayors Community and voluntary awards with The Lord Mayor Clr Tony Fitzgerald, Ann Doherty CEO Cork City council and Maurice Gubbins, editor of the Evening Echo sponsors at the City Hall last night. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Ruairi O'Farrell, representing Cork Foyer and Bishopsgrove winners of the Advocacy/information guidance section award at the Lord mayors Community and voluntary awards with The Lord Mayor Clr Tony Fitzgerald, Ann Doherty CEO Cork City council and Maurice Gubbins, editor of the Evening Echo sponsors at the City Hall last night. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Pat Lyons of Cork City FC and FORAS also paid tribute to those around him who played a role in his award.

“I’m delighted and humbled, but this is fantastic not just for me but for FORAS too,” he said.

Similarly, radio host Derry O’Callaghan paid tribute to his team and his listeners for their role in his award.

“I’m thrilled, but I’d be nowhere without them,” he joked.

Tracey Kennedy, meanwhile, said her award meant a lot, in particular as she is not from the city.

“I’m from Killeagh so to get this recognition from the Lord Mayor really means something! I really am honoured and humbled to share the stage with so many impressive people tonight,” she added.

The glittering ceremony also marked the 14th year of the Lord Mayor’s Community & Voluntary Awards, with more than 90 groups nominated in all.

These were whittled down to 16 by judges ahead of the night, with the Lord Mayor paying tribute to the crucial role volunteerism plays in everyday life in Cork.

Nominees were divided into five categories, recognising advocacy and information; social services; arts and culture; community development; and health and well-being.

The overall winners were Mná Feasa, with Brú Columbanus, the Foyer/Bishopsgrove, Knocknaheeny/Hollyhill Community Garden, the World As One Choir, and Ballyphehane/Togher CDP also winning individual awards.

Stephen Hegarty, Nel Collins, John Paul O’Brien, and Jerry Daly, volunteers with Knocknaheeny/Hollyhill Community Garden which won the Health & Wellbeing category of the Lord Mayor’s Community and Voluntary Awards photographed with Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald, Ann Doherty, CEO Cork City Council, and Maurice Gubbins, editor of the Evening Echo, sponsors.
Stephen Hegarty, Nel Collins, John Paul O’Brien, and Jerry Daly, volunteers with Knocknaheeny/Hollyhill Community Garden which won the Health & Wellbeing category of the Lord Mayor’s Community and Voluntary Awards photographed with Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald, Ann Doherty, CEO Cork City Council, and Maurice Gubbins, editor of the Evening Echo, sponsors.

Other nominees included Support After Crime Services, the Alzheimer’s Day Centre, Middle Parish Meals on Wheels, Ballinlough Summer Festival, Club Ceoil Ballyphehane, Gurranabraher & Churchfield Men’s Shed, and the Glen/Ballyvolane/Dublin Hill Men’s Shed.

Maurice Gubbins, editor of the Evening Echo, delivered a speech on the night, recognising the impact that these groups have in the Cork.

“This is a city of community and togetherness; a great city of good neighbours and helpful friends,” he said.

“Volunteers are the people who make our city the wonderful place it is. It is only right that we should honour them and celebrate them.”

Pat O’Connor, Julia Skelly, Roseli Castro, and Ann Bracken representing World As One multicultural choir, which won the Arts, Culture & Recreation category at the Lord Mayor’s Community and Voluntary Awards at City Hall last night.	Picture: Eddie O’Hare
Pat O’Connor, Julia Skelly, Roseli Castro, and Ann Bracken representing World As One multicultural choir, which won the Arts, Culture & Recreation category at the Lord Mayor’s Community and Voluntary Awards at City Hall last night. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

Mr Gubbins described the amount of voluntary work done in the city as “amazing.”

“The level of effort and commitment required and freely given is nothing short of stunning.

“We must appreciate that this is just people deciding to do real work, involving hours of effort every week, not for their own gain, but for the sake of their fellow Corkonians. This is a hall full of heroes,” he added.

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