The Fingal Mayor’s Community Volunteer Awards took place in Castleknock Hotel on Thursday where winners were presented with awards by former RTE Newsreader, Aengus MacGrianna. The awards take place each year to recognise the work of volunteers and the positive impact they have on communities across Fingal and are arranged by Fingal’s Public Partipation Network and Fingal County Council’s Community Deprtment. Congratulating the winners in each category, Mayor McCamley said: “In Fingal, there are so many active and dedicated volunteers who make a huge difference to their communities. The impact they have on social, environmental and recreational wellbeing in our towns and communities is hugely positive and I am delighted we have the opportunity to recognise them.” There were five categories: Social Inclusion, Active Citizenship, Creative Arts, Culture and Heritage, Community Facilities and Sport and Recreation. There were also the Unsung Hero Special Recognition Award, the People’s Choice Award and the Overall Fingal Mayor’s Community Volunteer Award which was selected from the five category winners. The winner of the Social Inclusion Award was Betsy Abu from the Balbriggan Integration Group and the runner up was Ger Kenny who volunteers with Little Seeds Club for children and teenagers with autism in the Ongar area.
The winner of the Active Citizenship Award was volunteer of 33 years Rose Emmet from Clean-Up Mulhuddart and the runner up was Ema Idowu of Balbriggan Youth Services. Ema also helped to develop the Fingal youth bank project. John Halford who has volunteered with the Blanchardstown Brass band for over 50 years won the Creative Arts, Culture and Heritage Award while Bernie Walsh was awarded runner up. Bernie has been a volunteer and key committee member of Coolmine Musical Society for over 20 years. In the category of Community Facilities, Kieran O’Neill who volunteers in Castleknock Community Centre Association was the awarded winner. Lisa Crehan of Failte Isteach in Tyrellstown was the runner up. Billy Bebbington has volunteered for the Sutton dinghy Club for over 20 years and was awarded winner in the Sport and Recreation category while Edward Darcy, group leader of 34th/161st scouts in Balbriggan for over 30 years, came in as runner up. Barney Greene, Jennifer Hughes and Anthony Lyons won the Unsung Hero Special Recogniton Award. Barney is from north County Dublin and organises the annual tractor run starting at the Man O’War, and raises money for St Francis Hospice. Jennifer has volunteered with Special Olympics Ireland as Aquatics Head coach for the 2010 Ireland Games and the 2015 World Games and Aquatics coach chaperone for the 2011 World Games. Anthony maintains the grass verges and flower beds along the Blakestown road from St.Peregrines GAA Club all the way up to St.Philips Church in Mountview. He also cuts the grass and maintains the grounds to St.Philips Church. Joseph Bennett won the People’s Choice Award. Joseph is an active member of the Whitestown Estate Management Group. He led on the very successful Pride of Place entry for the Blakestown area some years ago and is very active in his local Blakestown Community Centre. Kieran O’Neill, winner of the Community Facilities also won the Overall Fingal Mayor’s Community Volunteer Award. Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, Paul Reid said: “Fingal County Council’s Operations and Community teams work closely with many volunteers across the county and the contribution that they make is hugely important in increasing social cohesion and environmental well-being. The high level and standard of volunteerism in Fingal has also helped to create strong communities, making our towns and villages better places to live and visit.”