Carlow youths among those recognised at inaugural Garda Youth Awards

Awards night to celebrate achievements of young people in Carlow/Kilkenny Division

Darren Hassett

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Darren Hassett

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news@carlowlive.ie

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Chief Superintendent, Dominic Hayes, of the Carlow/Kilkenny Garda Division, gave the closing speech at the event

Award winners from across the Garda Division of Carlow and Kilkenny were honoured on Thursday, November 7, at the inaugural Carlow/Kilkenny Garda Youth Awards.

Over 150 guests sat down to a gala dinner at Hotel Kilkenny to celebrate and honour the achievements of young people across the two counties.

Ten awards were presented to outstanding young individuals who by their presence make their community a better place to live or have shown determination in their own lives.

The award winners are all aged between 13 and 21 and they were picked from a pool of 70 nominees. 

Ismail Mohammed, 21, won the Individual Award. Ismail and his family were resettled in Carlow under the terms of a United Nations High Commissioner Refugee (UN HCR) mission. 

At 11-years-old, Ismail had no English, had never experienced formal education or the norms of living in a settled community. Ismail now attends the Institute of Education in Carlow studying Engineering Aircraft systems.

He is actively involved with Carlow Regional Youth Services and was instrumental in revitalising cricket in Carlow and has been involved in the very successful team representing the Dolmen County. He was nominated by Rohingya Action Ireland.

The Special Achievement Award was presented to Carlow native, Shauntelle Tynan, 21.

In 2015, Shauntelle was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The lack of treatment available in Ireland required Shauntelle to travel to a children's hospital in Texas.

In order to get there the Tynan family had to do some fundraising. Shauntelle ended up staying in Texas for 18 months and is now cancer free.

She continues to update her followers through her YouTube channel. Shan was nominated by Claire Healy of Eist Cancer Support Centre.

The Community Safety Award was won by a group of students from St Leo's College, Carlow, called Crossing the Line.

The group's tagline is "Consent starts with conversation". Their aim is to make young people more aware of the meaning of consent and how important it is.

They chose this issue because they felt that sexual assault and consent isn't talked about enough with young people and that students are not being properly educated about the meaning of consent or sexual assault in schools.

They were nominated by Sheila Cody of St Leo's College.

The Group Award went to Holly Farrell (15) and Laura Delaney (17) for the Light up the Night initiative. Light up the Night is a suicide awareness program that was set up by communities in North Kilkenny in 2016.

The group aim to make people aware of the help and support that is available locally and beyond. The girls are instrumental in organising tractor and truck runs in the locality to raise funds for relevant charities.

They were nominated by Freddie Farrell and The Light up the Night committee.

These four award winners will now go forward to the National Garda Youth Awards which will take place in 2020.

Other award winners were Anthony Coy and Shane Brennan, who won the two District Awards for Kilkenny – presented by Superintendent Derek Hughes. 

Twenty-one-year-old Anthony Coy was recognised for his volunteer work. He has always been aware of disability and the challenges being disabled brings.

His older sister was born with meningitis and is profoundly disabled and blind. From the age of 12 he started volunteering with the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) supporting people with physical and sensory disabilities.

Although not disabled himself he has become an accomplished Wheelchair Basketball Player winning the Most Valuable Player Award in 2015.

He has also volunteered with IWA holiday service, travelling abroad with young people with disabilities. He has helped fundraise for people with disabilities for many years and himself raised thousands of euro for disability projects.

Eighteen-year-old Shane Brennan was the second District winner for Kilkenny. Shane is a member of Johnswell Youth Club, a club he joined at just five years of age.

Shane became a youth leader at 15. He is known for his kindness to the young people in the Youth Club and is well known for organising extra events around Easter and Christmas for the young children where they are rewarded with extra treats that are provided by Shane himself.

He was recognised for his kindness and willingness to help others. 

Sixteen-year-old Alicia Premkumar won a Carlow District award, presented by Superintendent Aidan Brennan. Alicia was given this award for her work surrounding environmental issues and climate change.

While still in primary school Alicia set up an initiative, Santa goes Green, to highlight environmental issues. She has since come up with another enterprise, Planet Pals, which encourages children to be aware of climate change.

The second District Award winner for Carlow was Sophie Denieffe. Sophie was recognised for her achievements in sport.

Following surgery in 2012 Sophie saw a poster advertising the wheelchair basketball team the South East Swifts and decided that she would give it a go.

This has blossomed into her being the only female on the senior team and to her coaching and training the junior team. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Mary Mescal, Ossary Youth.