Inaugural awards recognise unsung heroes from across the Rosslare district

Rosslare Municipal District Civic Awards were presented in Johnstown Castle on Monday evening. Cllr Jim Codd pesented the award to the sixth class history group of Danescastle National School Carrig On Bannow. Back; Áine Kennedy (Principal), Cllr Ger Carthy, Cllr Jim Moore Cathaoirleach, Rosslare Municipal District, Cllr Frank Staples and Nóirín Cummins district manager. Front; Madison Murphy, Elizabeth Colfer, Cllr Jim Codd, Carla Harpur, Bill Carroll, Sean Furlong (missing Kayleigh Walker)

Simon BourkeWexford People

High achievers and unsung heroes have been honoured for their achievements at the inaugural Rosslare Municipal District (RMD) Civic Awards. Held at Johnstown Castle, the awards sought to recognise those who have gone above and beyond in their professions and inspired others with their selflessness and dedication.

The first winner on the night was Lisa Redmond who received an award for Excellence in Sport. Discussing Lisa’s achievements, which include a gold medal at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games, District Manager Nóirín Cummins addressed the audience. “In any sport the ambition is to reach the pinnacle and it is fair to say for any sports person achieving a gold medal is that pinnacle of success,” said Ms Cummins. “Tonight we acknowledge one of our own who not only succeeded in achieving this but returned with more from the World Games in Abu Dhabi in March 2019.

“Lisa overcame a bad injury six weeks before the Games with the help of the physio and determination and won gold in the vault, silver for the beam and bronze in her gymnastic section. Lisa has achieved so much with the support of her family, coaches and club members in the Wexford Able-Disabled Club.”

The next two awards were presented to a pair of organisations who routinely save lives of those in distress for financial reward. Opting to honour both the Kilmore Quay RNLI and the Rosslare Harbour RNLI, Ms Cummins said, “Tonight we acknowledge the magnificent contribution to our communities by the volunteers in both stations. We also acknowledge the voluntary work involved in maintaining the operations to such a high standard with training and the necessary fundraising.”

The Kilmore Quay RNLI service began in 1847 and is this year celebrating 175 years of service. Throughout its history the station has received a number of gallantry awards from the RNLI for its to rescue and recovery missions. Its crew of seven operate a Tamar lifeboat, ‘The Killarney’, which has a range of 200 miles. Located in the Europort, the Rosslare Harbour RNLI was established in the early 1800s and has been involved in many notable rescue missions throughout its history.

Most recently, it received the RNLI Trustees Vellum in acknowledgement of the lifeboat rescue which took place in October 2017 during Storm Ophelia

“History shows many examples of the rescue operations undertaken by the voluntary crews in the lifeboats and one such event highlights the risks and commitment displayed by the volunteers,” continued Ms Cummins. “In serious incidents at sea the crews of both lifeboats are called on to combine their efforts to deal with dangerous and challenging situations.”

The Coxwains of the two lifeboats, Eugene Kehoe and Eamonn O’Rourke, accepted the awards on behalf of their respective organisations. The next recipient had two reasons to celebrate as he has strong ties with the Kilmore Quay Lifeboat. In 2019 Brian Kehoe completed 25 years of service as the mechanic with the organisation and over 50 years overall service.

“Brian joined with other family members in being actively involved in the lifeboat station at a time when the boat was housed away from the water and required a launching crew to assist,” explained Ms Cummins. “Throughout his long career Brian has displayed commitment and enthusiasm to all aspects of the job at hand and as well as participating in many challenging rescues and difficult situations he also ensured the boat and facilities were maintained to the highest standards.”

The last award of the night went to six students from Danescastle National School for a project on the Ryan sisters of Tomcoole. Carla Harpur, Elizabeth Colfer, Seán Furlong, Madison Murphy, Billy Carroll, and Kayleigh Walker are all Sixth Class pupils at the school and won a gold medal in the Department of Education’s, Decade of Centenaries Commemorations, annual school history competition. Asked to submit a project focusing on ‘Women during the revolutionary period in Ireland’ the group told the story of the Ryan sisters and their major contribution to that period.