THE head of the Limerick garda division has praised the contribution which many young people are making in communities across the city and county.
Chief Superintendent David Sheahan made his comments at the fourth annual Limerick Garda Youth Awards which took place at the Woodlands House Hotel in Adare.
Six young people and two groups of young people – aged between 14 and 19 – were presented with awards on the night having been selected by the panel of judges.
One of the recipients was Scoliosis sufferer Megan Halvey Ryan (14) who made national headlines earlier in the year after she featured on RTÉ’s Living on the List which highlighted the plight of those waiting for spinal correction surgery.
“We are delighted because it was the people of Limerick who really really took to Meghan’s story and they were fantastic and the support was fantastic. This is great, she is doing fantastic and it’s great to have something good at the end of it,” said her mother, Sharon.
A number of teenagers who live in regeneration areas of the city also received awards on the night while the contribution of six young men from Foynes to the local community council was also acknowledged.
“They have been volunteering since sixth class so they kind of do everything from clean-ups to helping set up events in the community centre. They do all sorts of stuff like that and they make a huge difference,” said Grainne Walsh who is a volunteer with Foynes Community Council.
Gearoid Malone, Jackson Morey and Joe Cannole received an award for their engagement with the Southill Club2gether initiative and in particular their involvement in making an an anti-smoking awareness film which received national recognition from the Irish Cancer Society.
“They put a lot of work into the programmes that they do and this year they had a great achievement of also winning a national award so they are very proud of themselves and we are very proud of them,” said youthreach worker Suzie Cronin.
Chief Supt Sheahan said all of the award winners deserve huge credit.
“In the current climate with the digital age having really taken over it’s great to see these young kids who have really come to fore. They have taken on the biggest challenges they possible could and they are self motivated. they are self achievers,” he said.
Deputy Mayor, Cllr Richard O’Donoghue, says that initiatives such as the Garda Youth Awards are very important.
“I’ve always said it that if you drop the seed at a young age, it flourishes and it builds and we can see by the awards that’s the way it is and for the men and women of the next generation we are in safe hands,” he said.
Organised by the Juvenile Liasion Office, the annual Limerick Garda Youth Awards are sponsored by the Garvey’s group which operates stores in Corbally and Newcastle West.