Finalists Announced for Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards
“The Governor”, John Lonergan, will be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The winners will be announced at the Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards Ball which takes place this Saturday 16 November in the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin 4. There are six categories of the award that will be presented on the night; Humanitarian of the Year, Young Humanitarian Award, Journalism Excellence, Innovation for Change, Corporate Impact and the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Humanitarian of the Year
Mayo woman Gena Heraty arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1993 and almost three decades later is known all over Haiti for challenging prejudice against people with physical and intellectual disabilities.
Sister Stanislaus Kennedy is an Irish Sister of Charity who has been on the frontline of social innovation for almost sixty years. Sr Stan founded a number of voluntary organizations, including Young Social Innovators and the Sanctuary. In 1985 she established Focus Ireland while in 2001 she founded The Immigrant Council of Ireland.
Galway nurse Vivien Lusted has worked for the Irish Red Cross for over 14 years on overseas missions in some of the world’s toughest armed conflicts, including Iraq, Israel, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and Myanmar.
Young Humanitarian Award
TCD Plastic Solutions
TCD Plastic Solutions is a student organization aimed at eliminating single-use plastic from the Trinity College Dublin campus. Its efforts, which included a petition, led to Trinity in May 2018 committing to completely phase out single-use plastics, with a two-year plan.
Donal Walsh #Livelife Foundation
Kerry teenager Donal Walsh touched the hearts of the nation when he came to prominence through his writings and appearance on Brendan O’Connor’s The Saturday Night Show.
Jessie Dolliver, 22, is a Trinity scholar in Botany, a Masters’ student and an environmental activist. Jessie’s humanitarian activity started in her teenage years when she began working in Cork Penny Dinners which serves up to 2,000 freshly-made meals for free every week.
Innovation for Change Award
Mugshot is a coffee cart that sells coffee and pastries outside Dublin’s courts and is staffed by baristas who are former prisoners. This social enterprise was set up to help those who had been in prison get back into the workforce.
Austin Campbell is founder of My Streets Ireland which trains people who are homeless to become walking tour guides of their own city. My Streets runs three-month training courses focused on confidence and presentation skills, creative writing, research and tour guiding, and offers graduates the opportunity to become paid tour guides.
The Rapid Foundation
The founders of The Rapid Foundation believe that real impact comes from giving those in need the education and tools to grow and innovate around their problems rather than trying to create solutions for them.
Journalism Excellence Award
Sally Hayden is a journalist and photographer who focuses on conflict, migration and humanitarian crises. She has reported across Europe, the Middle East and Africa for outlets including the BBC, The Irish Times, TIME, CNN, Al Jazeera and The New York Times.
Sorcha Pollak is a journalist with The Irish Times. She specialises in immigration issues for the paper along with general news coverage and also writes the New to the Parish series which she has brought together in a book – Stories of Love, War and Adventure from Ireland’s Immigrants.
As a reporter for the Irish Independent and Herald, Ian Begley has covered an extensive range of humanitarian issues, from the upsurge of homeless people in Ireland to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Lifetime Achievement Award – John Lonergan
The Lifetime Achievement Award is a pre-determined category and will be awarded to Tipperary man John Lonergan for his contribution to Irish society through his work in Irish prisons which spans four decades.
When John Lonergan walked into his first day of work in Limerick on 8 March 1968, he couldn’t have known he was embarking on a 42-year-long career in the Irish Prison Service.
John was one of the first people to draw the public’s attention to the origins of crime in Ireland, and the connection between criminality and the social, economic and educational circumstances of prisoners and their families.
After three years in Limerick, John moved to Shanganagh Castle in Dublin and following this, John worked in a number of prisons and institutions including Loughan House in Co Cavan when it accommodated teenagers aged 12-18. In 1984, John was appointed Governor of Mountjoy Prison and four years after that, in 1988, he was transferred to the high-security prison in Portlaoise to deal with the complexities arising there from the incarceration of people involved in the Troubles. John served as Governor of Portlaoise Prison until 1992 when he moved back to Mountjoy, where he again served as Governor until he retired in 2010.
John was avant-garde in his rehabilitative approach to managing prisons. He recognised the importance which mental health and having hope for a better future played in prison life and he set about making the regime more humanitarian for those in prison.
Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards Ball
The Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards Ball will honour humanitarian achievements while raising much-needed funds for vulnerable children and families in Ireland and overseas. The black-tie fundraiser will take place in the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin, on 16 November.
For anyone who wishes to attend the Ball, tickets are still available at www .humanitarianawards.ie