Role models Henry Shefflin and Evanne Ní Chuillin launch Garda Youth Awards
HURLING legend Henry Shefflin and RTÉ journalist Evanne Ní Chuilinn have thrown their support behind an innovative new initiative to recognise the hugely positive contributions that young people are making to their local communities.
The Garda Youth Awards will recognise the “outstanding contribution” young people between the ages of 13 and 21 are making to communities across Kilkenny and Carlow.
The judging panel includes Shefflin and five other highly respected individuals from a cross-section of Kilkenny and Carlow life, including retired judge William Early, Chief Superintendent of the Carlow-Kilkenny Garda Division Dominic Hayes, Inspector Liam Connolly, Netwatch CEO David Walsh and the Editor of the Kilkenny People, Brian Keyes.
Nomination forms for the Garda Youth Awards will be distributed to local Garda stations, schools, community groups and shops across Kilkenny over the coming weeks.
The awards themselves will take place at a special event planned for early November, at which Ní Chuillin will be MC for the night. The winners of four individual categories will then go forward for a national awards ceremony planned for next year.
Chief Superintendent Dominc Hayes (speaking above, beside Henry Shefflin and Pat Walsh of Netwatch) said the awards are all about recognising “ordinary young people doing extraordinary things out in their local communities”.
He described the Garda Youth Awards as “a fantastic initiative”, adding it was great to see well-known role models such as Henry Shefflin and Evanne Ní Chuillin getting involved, “to show young people that if you work hard you can achieve great things”.
Chief Supt Hayes, who is the driving force behind the awards, added: “Every day we see fantastic young people – a lot of them come from difficult situations but they have great pride in their community.”
He urged community leaders, teachers and parents to embrace the initiative, adding: “Young people are the future. It’s about collaboration – working together to make our communities better and safer places to live in.”
The Garda Youth Awards are sponsored by Carlow-based Netwatch, which now employs 600 people and services over 300,000 customers. CEO David Walsh (picture below with Evanne Ní Chuillin and Chief Superintendent Dominic Hayes) said: “For us, sponsoring things in our community is doing the right thing. It’s not all about profit. This is a fantastic initiative and we’re delighted to support it.”