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Trail-blazing teacher (97) 'honoured' to be among 'Heroes Awards' winners

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Quaid Cleland (9) from Rathfarnham, with 97-year-old Maureen Cronin from Clare

Quaid Cleland (9) from Rathfarnham, with 97-year-old Maureen Cronin from Clare

RTE's Brenda Donohue, Valerie McCabe-Slattery from Dublin, Sonya Keogh from Cork, Dolores Madden, marketing manager, Hidden Hearing. (front row) Maureen Cronin from Clare, Quaid Cleland (age 9) from Dublin, Kevin Stanley from Dublin and Eithne O’Connell accepting award on behalf  of nephew Ben Wallace (age 15) from Kildare.

RTE's Brenda Donohue, Valerie McCabe-Slattery from Dublin, Sonya Keogh from Cork, Dolores Madden, marketing manager, Hidden Hearing. (front row) Maureen Cronin from Clare, Quaid Cleland (age 9) from Dublin, Kevin Stanley from Dublin and Eithne O’Connell accepting award on behalf of nephew Ben Wallace (age 15) from Kildare.

RTE's Brenda Donohue and Dolores Madden, marketing manager, Hidden Hearing presenting the 2014 Hidden Hearing Heroes Award to Quaid Cleland (age 9)

RTE's Brenda Donohue and Dolores Madden, marketing manager, Hidden Hearing presenting the 2014 Hidden Hearing Heroes Award to Quaid Cleland (age 9)

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Quaid Cleland (9) from Rathfarnham, with 97-year-old Maureen Cronin from Clare

SHE'S 97-years-old, delivers parish newsletters, writes poetry for her local newspaper, and plays several musical instruments.

And now Maureen Cronin from Ennis, Co Clare, has been recognised for the role she played in dramatically improving the lot of women teachers in Ireland.

The introduction of the infamous 'marriage ban' in 1933, meant all female teachers had to resign a permanent job, once they married.

However, the mother-of-four defied some deeply ingrained prejudices of the time.

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RTE's Brenda Donohue, Valerie McCabe-Slattery from Dublin, Sonya Keogh from Cork, Dolores Madden, marketing manager, Hidden Hearing. (front row) Maureen Cronin from Clare, Quaid Cleland (age 9) from Dublin, Kevin Stanley from Dublin and Eithne O’Connell accepting award on behalf  of nephew Ben Wallace (age 15) from Kildare.

RTE's Brenda Donohue, Valerie McCabe-Slattery from Dublin, Sonya Keogh from Cork, Dolores Madden, marketing manager, Hidden Hearing. (front row) Maureen Cronin from Clare, Quaid Cleland (age 9) from Dublin, Kevin Stanley from Dublin and Eithne O’Connell accepting award on behalf of nephew Ben Wallace (age 15) from Kildare.

RTE's Brenda Donohue, Valerie McCabe-Slattery from Dublin, Sonya Keogh from Cork, Dolores Madden, marketing manager, Hidden Hearing. (front row) Maureen Cronin from Clare, Quaid Cleland (age 9) from Dublin, Kevin Stanley from Dublin and Eithne O’Connell accepting award on behalf of nephew Ben Wallace (age 15) from Kildare.

She became a test case for the INTO who were involved in a fierce battle to get the rule changed.

So she decided to continue teaching for a full year without pay.

She went on to have an illustrious career as a  teacher until well after the ban was eventually lifted in 1958.

And now despite her advancing years, her zest for life hasn’t waned.

A voracious reader, she also puts pen to paper every day, whether it be to write a short verse or a story.

She is well known to readers of The Clare Champion, with her poetry regularly featuring in the newspaper’s letters pages.

She has also published eight books of poetic verse, donating the proceeds to charities close to her heart.

To help raise awareness of Ireland’s deaf community, and to highlight the issue of hearing loss, Hidden Hearing launched their forth annual ‘Heroes Awards’ today.

The awards ceremony honours those who have made a significant but unheralded contribution to society.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Maureeen said she was “honoured” to received her ‘Age Is No Barrier Award’.

“It’s lovely. I took a stand for what I believed in way back then and it paid off,” she said.

Ben Wallace (15) was chosen as winner of the ‘Triumph Over Adversity Award’ for completing his Junior Certificate this summer while in hospital undergoing chemotherapy.

The ‘Youth Award’ went to nine-year-old Quaid Cleland.

The Dubliner was chosen for his crusade to get Ireland using Irish Sign Language.

He is currently lobbying RTE to use Irish Sign Language on this year’s Late Late Toy Show.

Since January, he has been sending the national broadcaster a video once a month showing him ‘signing’ a different word or phrase.

Online Editors