O'Flaherty honour for Sudan-based Sr Orla

Tadhg Evans

South Sudan-based Loreto Sister Orla Treacy took her place in history on Saturday evening as Mayor of Killarney Councillor Niall Kelleher presented her the Hugh O'Flaherty Humanitarian Award - making her the tenth winner of a prize established in 2008 to commemorate the heroic Killarney native.

Monsignor O'Flaherty saved thousands of lives in Nazi-occupied Rome during World War II, and Sister Orla was understandably honoured at being named the 2017 recipient. The Hugh O'Flaherty Memorial Society praised Sister Orla, daughter of former Kerry County Secretary Blaise Treacy, for travelling to the country in 2007 and being part of a movement to establish schools and basic medical care in the a nation plagued by poverty, civil war and oppression of women.

This year also saw students from all the schools in the Killarney Parish present a newly initiated bursary to Sister Orla at the Killarney Avenue Hotel, and the Rumbek Secondary School Principal sounded a defiant note for the future.

"In 2011, South Sudan gained independence and it was hoped that matters would improve. Following a brief period of relative peace, conditions in South Sudan have returned to those of pre-Independence", she said.

"The Loreto sisters are committed to staying the course and with the help of supporters in South Sudan and at home in Ireland, we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that the young people of South Sudan will receive an education thus enabling them to climb out of poverty and oppression. The girls and young people we work with in South Sudan fill us with hope for a better future for this country," she added.