US senator scoops award for brokering North deal
PEACE broker Senator George Mitchell has won the International Person of the Year award.The US senator was presented with the award in a live satellite link-up to the Burlington Hotel where Taoiseach Bertie Ahern presented seven awards, sponsored by Rehab and the ESB.
Mr Mitchell is the first person outside the country to receive such an award. Nominated by various councils and members of the public, Mr Mitchell was given his award for his courage, dedication and diplomacy in brokering the Good Friday Agreement.
Three new categories were added to this year's nomination list the International Person of the Year, the Irish Person of the Year and the Irish Young Person of the Year.
Sligo-born Sophia McColgan (28), was named as Irish Person of the Year for her extraordinary courage in her battle to win justice for herself and her siblings following years of sexual and physical abuse by her father.
Her nominators included local councils, voluntary bodies and members of the public who paid tribute to her bravery in forgoing the right of anonymity in court to help others who might be facing abuse.
Dublin schoolgirl Queva Griffin (16) was named as the Young Irish Person of the Year.
Queva, who received a new heart and lungs in a double transplant operation earlier this year, raised some of the money to pay for her own operation at London's Harefield Hospital. The Clonshaugh teenager also published a book of poetry before the operation. She was nominated by her school principal, Sister Mary Cyprian, who said that Queva had shown exceptional bravery.
Tyrone Co Hospital surgeon Dominic Pinto also received a People of the Year Award.
Mr Pinto, who was born in Goa, has been a surgeon at the hospital for 18 years. He received his award for his skill and compassion in tending to the dying and wounded of the Omagh bomb atrocity.
Anna May McHugh was another award recipient. Anna May started work at the National Ploughing Association 47 years ago. The Ploughing Championships now attract an attendance of 150,000, and cost £1m a year to run.
Brian Kerr, the soccer brain behind the Irish youth teams phenomenal success over the last year also received a People of the Year Award.
Brian managed St Patrick's Athletic for 10 years and in l997 took charge of the national U-16 and U-18 sides. The U-16s won the European Championship title in Scotland and the U-18s captured their title in a dramatic penalty shoot out against Germany in Cyprus last July.
Dr Jerry Crowley, a GP who has worked in Mulranny, Co Mayo for 17 years, is another recipient of a People of the Year Award.
He has been instrumental in setting up the St Brendan's Village project which caters for up to 30 people whose disabilities are too severe for them to be able to live in sheltered housing.