December 2, 2023

Girls who set up suicide awareness group the big winners at inaugural Kilkenny Gardai Youth Awards

A pair of teenagers girls who set up a suicide awareness programme for the people of North Kilkenny were the big local winners at the inaugural Kilkenny/ Carlow Garda youth awards.

Holly Farrell (15) and Laura Delaney (17) won the group award for their Light up the Night initiative.

Light up the Night is a suicide awareness program that was set up by communities in North Kilkenny in 2016. The aim of the group is to make people aware of the help and support that is available locally and beyond. The girls are instrumental in organising tractor and truck runs in the locality to raise funds for relevant charities.

Holly and Laura now go on to represent the Kilkenny/ Carlow region in the National finals.

The winners of the District prizes were:

District Awards, Thomastown – presented by Superintendent Carmel Banville

Chloe Anderson and Anna Ryan are members of Thomastown Scouts. Both girls are recognised for their leadership skills within the group. Chloe and Anna combined this year to be camp chiefs – each in charge of up to 100 scouts at a recent youth led camp.

There was a post-humous award for Matthew Dunne, a 13-year-old energetic, passionate, and popular boy, who passed away suddenly earlier this year. The award was accepted by his mum, Amy Lynch.

Matthew was a member of Thomastown Scouts and TADA Drama Group. He threw himself into everything he did. Matthew really wanted those around him to be happy. Matthew was recognised for the positive impact he had on all those he met.

District Awards, Kilkenny – presented by Superintendent Derek Hughes.

21-year-old, Anthony Coy was recognised for his volunteer work. He has always been aware of disability and the challenges being disabled brings. His older sister was born with meningitis and is profoundly disabled and blind. When just 12-year-old, Anthony started volunteering with the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA), supporting people with physical and sensory disabilities. Although not disabled himself, he has become an accomplished wheelchair basketball player.

He has also volunteered with IWA holiday service, travelling abroad with young people with disabilities and raised thousands for disability projects.

18-year-old, Shane Brennan is a member of Johnswell Youth Club, a club he joined at just five years of age. Shane became a youth leader at 15. He is recognised for his kindness and willingness to help others.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Mary Mescal, CEO of Ossory Youth. Mary was recognised for her dedication to young people. She began working with Ossory Youth as an Information Officer in 1997. Three years later she became CEO, a position she still holds today. Mary was presented with her award by Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn.

In total, 10 awards were presented to outstanding young individuals who by their presence, make their community a better place to live or who themselves have shown determination in their own lives.

The award winners are all aged between 13 and 21 and were picked from a pool of 70 nominees.

Ismail Mohammed (21) from Carlow, won the Individual Award. Ismail and his family are Rohingya people from Myanmar, who resettled in Carlow as part of the United Nations High Commissioner Refugee (UNHCR) mission.

On arriving in Carlow at 11-years-old, Ismail had no English, never experienced formal education or the norms of living in a settled community.  Ismail now attends the Institute of Education in Carlow and is studying Engineering Aircraft systems.

Ismail is involved with Carlow Regional Youth Services and was instrumental in revitalising cricket in Carlow.

The Special Achievement Award was won by 21-year-old Carlow native, Shauntelle Tynan (21), a cancer survivor and campaigner.

A group of students from St Leo’s College, Carlow won the Community Safety Award for a project called Crossing the Line, which makes young people more aware of the meaning of consent and its importance.


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