The organisers of a large youth summit which will take place in Dublin later this year were among the recipients of the annual Lord Mayor's Award ceremony.
Clara Kelleher and Bob Coggins accepted their award, which was presented to them during an award ceremony in Dublin's Mansion House tonight. Their colleague Valerie McGrane could not attend the event, as she is now working in New York City.
The duo said they are delighted to receive the award, which they got for landing the summit for Dublin, which will draw around 1,500 delegates from over 180 different countries across the globe, generating an expected €3m for Ireland’s hospitality, conferencing and leisure industries. It will take place in October.
"We're delighted that we've received this award from the Lord Mayor. We're in preparation mode at the moment, so I suppose the award couldn't have come at a better time for us because it does showcase the fact that the summit is coming to Dublin and it's a really nice recognition for ourselves and the bid committee who are helping us bring this to Dublin," Mr Coggins said.
"The summit is all about young people coming together to discuss the problems that are facing them. The whole agenda of the summit is designed by them," Ms Kelleher said.
Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn said all of tonight's recipients have made special contributions to the city of Dublin.
“This year I have chosen to give Lord Mayor’s Awards to three individuals and three groups in the areas of technology, arts, sport, youth, community and social justice," he said.
"One of the awards tonight is a new Award, The Frederick Douglas Award, to acknowledge the contribution of someone who has come to live in Dublin and has made a significant impact on the city. Dil Wickremasinghe is the recipient of the inaugural Frederick Douglas Award. All the recipients, both individuals and organisations, have made and I’m honoured to be able to recognise them here tonight."
Ms Wickremasinghe, a broadcaster and activist originally from Sri Lanka, said she was especially honoured to receive an award like this from Dublin, where she says she feels incredibly at home.
"Recognition and acceptance is not something that I am quite accustomed to. I came to Ireland 14 years ago and started off as a kitchen porter. Never in a million years did I think I would reclaim my job in media or receiving an award from the Lord Mayor," she said.
"Dublin was the first place in the world I really experienced what it feels like to be home."
The full set of recipients are Dublin Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave, Ranelagh Arts Festival, All-Ireland winner Jim Gavin, One Young World Bid Committee, St. Andrew’s Resource Centre and Dil Wickremasinghe.