Outstanding young people honoured
MORE than 250 people gathered at the Ballyroe Hotel in Tralee on Friday night for an evening of celebration to honour some of Kerry's most outstanding young people.
The 2013 Lee Strand Garda Youth Achievement Awards saw 27 exceptional young people recognised for their selfless efforts to help others in their community.
Launched in 1998 the programme presents awards to young people aged between the ages of 14 and 19 who are nominated by community members for their community spirit and willingness to give up their time and energy to help those in need and less fortunate.
At this year's awards, 27 inspirational young people received presentations that were named in honour of one of the most inspirational young people to ever come out of Kerry, or indeed anywhere, the late Donal Walsh.
Donal was himself a winner at the Garda Youth Achievement Awards winner, being named as overall winner in 2011 and receiving a special commendation in 2012 for his continuing efforts in fundraising for Crumlin children's hospital.
This year, in recogniotion of the impact Donal has had both before and after his death, the overall prize was renamed as the Donal Walsh #Livelife Award. That award went to 17-year-old Kieran Enright, from Listowel who was presented with the specially commissioned crystal trophy by Donal Walsh's mother Elma.
Four Certificate of Distinction Award Winners were also named and these went to Mary Doody from Tralee, Killarney's Katlyn Moynihan, Siobhán Ní Ghrifín from Annascaul and Anthony O'Connor from Beaufort. They eachreceived a Children of Lir bronze trophy and a distinction award certificate to mark their achievements.
The Voluntary Group Achievement Award was presented to North & East Kerry Development, Youth Group Castleisland.
A merit award certificate was also presented to each of the 21 Merit Award 2013 Winners.
Lee Strand Chairperson Brendan Walsh, said Lee Strand was delighted to be able to recognise the contribution of youth in our communities.
"This is Lee Strand's 16th year sponsoring this most important event in Kerry, which not only recognises but also celebrates the outstanding achievements of our youth and the voluntary organisations within our community. Congratulations to all winners, you are very worthy recipients," he said.
Kerry Garda Chief Superintendent Pat Sullivan said he and all Kerry Gardaí were proud to be able to honour Kerry's outstanding young people.
"An Garda Siochana are once again delighted this year to partner with Lee Strand in one of the highlights of the social calendar in Kerry. Lee Strand, in association with An Garda Siochana, have always been proactive in acknowledging and identifying the positive work by young people and voluntary groups to enhance community life in Kerry."