An audience of 200 guests gathered at the Kinsale Hotel recently to laud the winners of the 26th West Cork Garda Youth Awards, which were run in association with SuperValu.
Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan, Divisional Officer for Cork West, paid tribute to the award winners, saying it was heartening to see so many young people involving themselves in activities within their local communities.
Inspector Ian O’Callaghan, chairman of the organising committee, also praised the award winners, saying that not alone are they the leaders of the future, they are also the leaders of today.
Saorlaith O’Leary from Macroom, who raised over €4,000 for the Hope Foundation, was the first of five young people to receive an overall award at the ceremony. Lorraine Casey from Lissarda was awarded for running the Women’s Mini Marathon in both 2020 and 2021, raising funds for the Marie Keating Foundation, and for the award she received for her project in the BT Young Scientist exhibition.
Lara O’ Sullivan from Macroom was awarded for, among other things, working with the European Youth Parliament, Climate Rights Ireland and the UCC Feminist Society. Conall Boyle from Courtmacsherry was awarded for his work as a lifeguard and for raising funds for Mental Health Ireland.
Laoise O’Sullivan from Macroom was awarded for working as a member of Macroom Foróige, for raising over €4,000 for the Hope Foundation, and for performing with Cork Youth Orchestra in local nursing homes. Aisling O’ Reilly from Enniskeane was awarded the Bandon District award for running the Bandon Athletics Club summer camp for the past five years, and for her work as a Young Social Innovator advocate.
The Bantry District award went to Zoe Murphy from Castletownbere for her volunteering and her work in the publication of ‘Stand Up, Speak Out’, an information pack on bullying.
Marian Creedon received the Macroom District award for her volunteering and fundraising and her work on her school’s students’ council. The Clonakilty District award went to international oarswoman Lauren McCarthy from Rosscarbery.
Cathal O’ Sullivan from Beara was given a community safety award for designing and developing a warning system that could prevent serious injury on farms. A Special Achievement award went to 16-year-old Darragh Kelleher for coming through the ordeal of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, necessitating a bone marrow transplant, doing well in his exams, and returning to athletics. Clonakilty 17-year-old, Lynn McCarthy, was given a Special Achievement award for helping to save the lives of four people who got into difficulty swimming off Inchydoney beach in May 2020.
The first of three group awards went to the seven members of the Traveller Girls Film Project in recognition of their acting as positive role models in their community.
The 28th Cork Macroom Venture Scout Group received a group award for their great work in making a positive contribution to their community and helping those less fortunate than themselves.
The five members of the Young Social Innovators Beara were given an award for their project focused on rural regeneration, particularly on the Beara peninsula.
An Outstanding Contribution to Youth award was presented to retired garda, James O’Mahony, who founded the Awards in 1995. A Special Recognition award was also presented to Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan for his contribution to the West Cork Garda Youth Awards.