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03 Dec 2021

Laois Offaly gardaí to honour young people for their achievements

Laois Offaly Garda Youth Awards

The Laois Offaly Garda Division is set to honour young people across the two counties who have excelled in their communities or overcome difficulties to reach their achievements.

The inaugural Laois Offaly Garda Youth Awards ceremony will take place this month in Portlaoise. 

The awards celebrate outstanding young people between the ages of 13 and 21. Laois Offaly Gardaí recognise that a lot of good work is being done by young people in every community throughout both counties.

The nominations were open for a couple of months and the winners have now been chosen. Young people, individuals and groups, have been put forward by adults from youth groups, community groups and schools.

There will be twelve awards given out at the ceremony in Portlaoise on February 22, four of these will go on to the National Garda Youth Awards and the other eight will be local prizes. The winners will be revealed on the night.

Laois Offaly Garda Chief Superintendent John Scanlon said they want to unearth the untold stories of the good work young people are doing.

“It’s important that in society we do what I call succession planning, that young people start to engage with the idea of what contribution you are going to make and some of you are ahead of the curve, some young people in our society have done enormous things, made enormous contributions, some of them are untold stories and we want to give that forum to those young people that their stories can be told.

“A young person that simply looks after some other sibling in the family because they are not well, they have taken up a role because elements of their family have passed away, that they step into a community and lead on some aspect of something that ordinarily would not normally fall to a young person, it is to the limits of their imagination.

“I would suggest that the person who receives an award would never have set out to win it, unlike the Gaisce awards where they set out and they plan to do it whereas in this there must be some gems of examples out there. It can be simple, it can be anything. That some other person in the committee says isn't it amazing what that young person is doing and take the moment to write out the nomination,” he said.

The awards are sponsored by Supermac’s and well-known owner of the fast-food chain, Pat McDonagh attended the launch at the Killeshin Hotel which he also owns.

“I think it will be a huge benefit to all concerned, there is a lot of good young people, they are very tech savvy, conscientious, they are socially minded and a lot of them are doing a lot of good work out there and not getting too much recognition.

“Young people are under serious pressure in relation to the drug scene which is spreading pretty rapidly around the country or whether it is alcohol as well or whatever else, compared to back in the day there is much more of a push on young people also there is peer pressure from their friends as well whether it is socially or otherwise, it is a challenging time.

“We as parents have created this situation so it is up to us to try and guide them and this initiative is very worthwhile in that account,” he said.

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