Tuesday 26 March 2019

Youth prove mettle by making their communities better places to live

Cathal Buckley, Ballydesmond, James Power of Dripsey and David Lucey of Macroom were each lauded at West Cork Garda Youth awards

The group of winners at the West Cork Youth Garda Awards 2018
The group of winners at the West Cork Youth Garda Awards 2018

Maria Herlihy

There were over 100 nominations received for the West Cork Youth Garda Awards of which there were winners from Ballydesmond, Macroom and Dripsey.

Cathal Bradley (16) Toureengarrive, Ballydesmond, and David Lucey (18) of Mountainview, Knockeenacuthig, Macroom along with James Power (17) Millview Terrace, Dripsey were all given awards for their contribution to their community. 

"The 117 nominations we received this year were of a very high standard," Inspector Pat Meany, chairman of the judging panel, said.

"It is great to see so many young people contributing to their community. I would like to thank not only everyone who was nominated for an award, but those who took the time to nominate someone. The Youth Awards not only acknowledges great work, it gives us a great opportunity to engage with so many people in our communities," he added. 

Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan said: "Every year it amazes me how much great work the youth are doing in our local communities. Sometimes younger people can get a bad reputation, but when you hear some of the achievements our nominees have accomplished over the years, your views are quickly changed. We have award winners who have raised money for worthy causes, given up their time volunteering, raised awareness for certain issues and achieved great things in extraordinary circumstances." 

Cathal Bradley, is a fifth year student at  Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore and is a member of the Rathmore Social Action Group for the past four years. He has achieved a Full Attendance Award at school for the past three years. 

He is currently co-chairperson of the SAG in Rathmore and is in line to assume the chairmanship this year coming. He is regarded as a  sincere, hardworking and creative member of the group and has been involved in community activities that brightened the lives of both the elderly and his own generation.

He has achieved the Bronze and Silver standards in the President's Gaisce awards and is soon to challenge for Gold. The Gaisce awards demands dedicating many hours to physical activities, learning new skills and a willingness to undertake new projects within the community. 

At holiday times, Cathal Bradley has committed to do at least three hours community work each week. The workload could include visiting older people in their homes and doing some essential cleaning when required. Cathal has helped organise several outings for the older folk who attend the Day Centre or who live in the SAG houses. Cathal is very much involved in the planning and development of the local Presentation Convent, a project with a €1.2 million price-tag. 

He has been involved in several different fundraising events such as the Ring of Kerry charity cycle, door-to-door collections, and has been part of the team making house calls to collect sponsorship. Cathal and his colleagues have raised over €13,000 each year for the past four years. He has committed himself to 'The Spirit of Christmas' and 'Care of the Earth' projects, the first project involves visiting older people and bringing them gifts as well. The second project encourages people to cut back on the use of plastics, to switch to LED lighting, to buy electric cars and to switch to solar panels, etc. 

This project will be launched during the forthcoming Christmas holiday period. This project with its focus on renewable energy should lead to an attitude- change that should, in time, lead to a reduction in the carbon footprint.

Cathal is seen as a dedicated and dynamic young man who helps organise fun activity days in Killarney for some 20 Chernobyl children. This entails organising the transport for shopping, sight-seeing, a visit to Birds Amusements and meals. Another very worthy winners was David Lucey of  Macroom.

He is a young, dynamic volunteer coach with his local GAA club and has coached in the local national schools as well as in the Cúl Camps in the summer months. He is a member of the Macroom parish Mission of Hope for the Homeless and does volunteer work with them on a monthly basis. This entails visiting Cork City at night and dispensing sandwiches and flasks of tea to the homeless. In addition, he is also the youngest member of the Mission of Hope team and the homeless are delighted with his willingness to help them and talk to them.

James Power  is unique in Irish boxing circles -  he is a professional boxer at the ripe old age of 17. One is not allowed to become a professional boxer at 17 in Ireland but so far James Power has plied his trade, as it were, in Mexico where he is allowed to box at 17. 

James's training regime begins at the unearthly hour of 6am before he heads off to school at Coachford College where he is in Leaving Cert class.  

He gives freely of his time to ensure the boxing community benefits and he does not use his new-found status as a supreme sportsman as a dodge to avoid school. In fact, his attendance record at Coachford College is exemplary and he is known for his speedy return to after his boxing bouts in Mexico. 

In his school, James has created a very positive atmosphere and his willpower, resolve and fortitude have created a ripple effect such that now his peers realise that great things can happen once you put your mind to it. James is determined to achieve a great Leaving Cert and his teachers are confident that he will get an unanimous decision in this regard.