Garda Don Davis, Juvenile Liaison Officer, Bantry joined in the organising of the Awards in 2000, and the Awards have developed successfully over the years. The Awards not only acknowledge the positives in relation to the youth of West Cork, but they also provide An Garda Siochana with great community spirit and good will.
Since 2008, each of the five Garda Districts in the Cork West Division have a full time Community Garda appointed, and their involvement in the Youth Awards have also assisted in the successful running of the Awards Ceremony each year. A lot of organising and background work is required to ensure the smooth running of this event every year, but by raising the profile of An Garda Siochana in a positive way, it bears excellent rewards for the Gardai.
The Awards celebrate outstanding young people between the ages of 14 and 21 years. West Cork Gardai and SuperValu recognise that a lot of good work is being done by young people in every community in West Cork. Awards will be considered for nominated young people who by their presence make their communities a better place to live in.
Last year there were a record number of nominations, with over 130 nominations received in total. The nomination process is open to everyone, so if you know of a young person who is committed to making a difference to their community, please put them forward, as every nominee will receive a certificate, even if they do not win an award. This way, all nominees are recognised for their efforts, and the certificate is a very valuable item to have on a young person’s CV into the future.
This year the West Cork Garda Youth Awards in association with SuperValu will take place on Friday, the 23rd November 2012 in the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery. There are 12 awards: 5 Overall awards, 5 District awards, 1 Group award and also 1 Special Achievement award.
The Group Award category applies for groups of two or more young people whose combined efforts have contributed positively to their communities.
The Special Achievement category is open to any young person who has defied the odds, overcome difficult circumstances, and whose commitment deserves recognition.
Last year there were two winners in this category -
(1) Joanne O Riordan, Woodland Drive, Millstreet, Co Cork. Joanne suffers from a disability known as “Total Amelia”, which is a condition whereby you are born without limbs. Rather than fade into the background, Joanne instead allows her positive personality to come forward. She has promoted a positive awareness of disability amongst her peers. Joanne has positively touched the lives of all those whom she comes into contact with, and her positive outlook is an example to all.
(2) Margaret (Maggie) Barrett, Liscubba, Lyre, Co Cork. Maggie lives her life with Cerebral Palsy, but with assistance, she has come to live a very independent life. Maggie was one of the first students in Ireland to be assigned a Special Needs Assistant. Maggie progressed through her secondary school, the Sacred Heart College in Clonakilty. While there her class brought out a cookbook with a difference, in that it contained photos of all stages of preparing the food, as well as clocks showing the cooking times required, allowing all the students cook for themselves. She now attends Co Action in Skibbereen. Maggie is always willing to take on a challenge, and she has a great drive to succeed.
It is for these types of achievements that a Special Achievement Award can be most deserving, as they don’t fall within the remit of the other award categories.
The application forms are now available from any SuperValu in the West Cork Garda Division, and also at Garda Stations within West Cork. Application forms will also be distributed by the Community Gardai in each local Garda District.
The closing date for the applications is Wednesday, the 31st October 2012.
Application forms are to be submitted to James O'Mahony, Juvenile Liaison Officer, Bandon Garda Station, or Garda Don Davis, Juvenile Liaison Officer, Bantry Garda Station.
SuperValu have sponsored the Awards for the past 17 years and An Garda Siochana would like to again express thanks for their continued support for these Awards.
The SuperValu range of stores in West Cork that are sponsoring these Awards are Bandon, Kinsale, Dunmanway, Macroom, Kanturk, Boherbue, Newmarket, Skibbereen, Castletownbere, Bantry, Clonakilty, and Millstreet.
Note for editors; for any further enquiries, please contact Garda Damian White, Bantry Garda Station, who is the PRO for this year's event by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph on this page - Chief Superintendent T. J. Hayes presenting Maggie Barrett with her award in 2011.
Photograph on front page - Chief Superintendent T. J. Hayes presenting Joanne O'Riordan with her award in 2011.