Alice Leahy was named Irish Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year at the Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards which took place in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road recently. Alice Leahy is director and co-founder of the Alice Leahy Trust, a befriending, social and health service for people who are homeless. Upon presenting Alice with her award, Pat Carey, chairman of the Irish Red Cross, said; “Alice Leahy has dedicated a lifetime to helping society’s most disadvantaged people. She has developed an unrivalled understanding of the needs of those on the margins of society and during every day of her working life she has implemented practical measures to help combat social exclusion.”
Alice is also a writer, lecturer, commentator, broadcaster, former nurse, and former member of the Irish Human Rights Commission and the Sentence Review Group. She has directly contributed to public policy as a member of various policy bodies such as the Lord Mayor’s Commission on Crime. Alice compiled the Report on Medical Care for the Vagrant in Ireland in 1974, the first report of its kind published in this country and she served as Assistant National Director of Simon Ireland. Alice has also produced a number of educational initiatives.
Pat Hume was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award last night in recognition of her decades of public service to the people of Derry. Pat worked alongside her husband John Hume from the beginning of civil rights movement in the 1960s, continuing during the Troubles, right through to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Pat ran operations on the ground, manning John’s constituency office in Derry. Pat sacrificed her first career as a teacher to undertake this work and didn’t just run one political office; the Hume family home was a thoroughfare for journalists, political visitors and diplomats, and Pat ran proceedings here too, while also taking care of a young family. This was all against a backdrop where the Hume family was often under threat; their car was being tampered with and their family home was firebombed and vandalised.
In the all-female shortlist for the Journalism Excellence Award, Maggie O’Kane staved off competition from Katie Hannon, Political Correspondent with RTÉ’s Current Affairs Department and Emmy-nominated journalist and filmmaker Shaunagh Connaire who has worked with the BBC and Channel 4.
Maggie O’Kane worked as a foreign correspondent with The Guardian newspaper for 20 years and was named British Journalist of the Year for her work in Bosnia, and Amnesty International Journalist of the Year for her work on sanctions. Maggie was also awarded an Emmy for her documentary film Baghdad: A Doctor’s Story. In recent years, Maggie created, implemented and sustained The Guardian’s Global Media Campaign against Female Genital Mutilation. She has now formalised the entity as an independent charity charged with the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting worldwide by 2030. As well as her ongoing journalism and film work, Maggie now trains young journalists across Africa, particularly focusing on amplifying in country mass media awareness, at academies set up and run by the Global Media Campaign.
When the students and teachers in Tullamore College learned that 14-year-old Nigerian student Nonso Moujeke and his mother and older brother were to be deported, the school community rallied around Nonso and started a campaign opposing the deportation, on human rights grounds. These efforts were duly awarded last night when the Tullamore College students came away with the Student Initiative Award. The students conducted a social media campaign which was carried by all local and national media outlets and they also secured over 22,000 signatures on a petition. The school galvanized not just the local community but their voice was heard on an international stage as they received messages of support from all over the world. On 10 October, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of the Department of Justice and Equality, confirmed that the Moujeke family had been granted permission to remain in the State.
FoodCloud was named winner of the Innovation for Change Award. One in eight people in Ireland experience food poverty yet one million tonnes of food are thrown out by Irish consumers and businesses every year. FoodCloud addresses this issue by bringing retailers and suppliers with surplus food together with local charities and community groups who assist with food supply and distribution. This diverts food from landfill and ensures good food goes to those who need it. By mid-October 2018, FoodCloud has redistributed over 18,200 tonnes of food – the equivalent of over 40 million meals – to charities and community groups in the UK in partnership with FareShare, and in Ireland through FoodCloud’s technology platform and retailer and redistribution network.
Aviva was named winner in the Corporate Impact Category. Aviva focuses on making a difference that is relevant to the everyday lives of their customers and their local communities. Aviva employees chose Pieta House as Aviva Ireland’s charity partner from 2016 to March 2018 and in 2017 alone, Aviva raised just over €111,245 for Pieta House. Aviva provides match funding and three company days per year for employees to encourage them to contribute their time, skills, funds and passion within local communities. In 2017, 721 employees volunteered a total of 3,871.5 hours. In 2017, Aviva also supported another 46 charities through a range of different activities which included skill-sharing, redecorating a room/garden or baking.
Ireland holds the longest unbroken record of UN peacekeeping service of any nation in the world and this remarkable achievement was recognised last night when the Irish Red Cross bestowed a very special honour on the Irish Defence Forces. Óglaigh na hÉireann personnel were first deployed to Lebanon on UN peacekeeping operations in 1958 and over the last 60 years have completed almost 70,000 individual tours of duty in Lebanon with 87 members paying the ultimate price in the cause of peace. 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of Ireland’s first peacekeeping deployment.