Laois Unsung Hero of the Year for 20012

The Unsung Hero is give to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to community life through voluntary local work in their area or around Laois.

The Unsung Hero is give to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to community life through voluntary local work in their area or around Laois.

Maura O’Gorman, Clonaslee

Maura O’Gorman (Winner) is deemed to be outstanding in her contribution and the village of Clonaslee and its surrounding areas. She has worked tirelessly for many local organisations, such as Tidy Towns, the local Development Association, and Community Alert, as well as working on some county organisations such as Laois Trip. She is a friend to all and her interest in her local area never tires; she will always have a positive influence on a plan or a proposal for the community. She has been seen out at 7.00am picking up litter and one could spot her weeding at any location! She is the one that everyone in the community will turn to and who is always ready to help. People like Maura are held up as example of true community spirit, and the people of Clonaslee would agree.


Jack Fahy, Borris-in-Ossory

Jack has been nominated by the people of Borris-in-Ossory for his key involvement in so many aspects of Community Life. He has voluntarily given of his time, knowledge and energy to the local people. Jack has played a leading role in many excellent projects such as the local Primary school, organising a playground committee, fundraising. He is also involved in Tidy Towns. Overall, Jack is a major contributor to all voluntary works in the area. Those who nominated him describe his gentle manner and his unassuming nature has developed an attitude by local people that when there is a problem, you should ‘ask Jack’!

Kathleen Gorman, ICA

Kathleen is a major player when it comes to community life and has made a huge contribution to the people of Laois and local communities quietly and without recognition. Kathleen’s dedication to people with disabilities and older people is tremendous. Everything that Kathleen does is accomplished. As President of the ICA, she is very proactive in the promotion and development of ICA Groups in the County. She gives her time weekly to Ballinakill Active Retirement and was instrumental in setting it up. Kathleen is a trained volunteer with the Cuisle Centre. She has a strong interest in Mental Health issues and was very involved in the organisation and promotion of Laois Connects Mental Health Awareness Week. She represents her electoral area on the Community Forum . Those who nominated her describe Kathleen as someone who truly puts herself and gives back time and time again.

Mary Walsh, Durrow Scouts

Mary is described by her peers as a major Community activist, working tirelessly to create positive local change. Mary has been a founding member of the 3rd Laois Durrow Scout group since 1981 and her contribution to this group has been huge. Mary is greatly involved in the Parish and has commitment to projects is well known. She has been a great influence on the Community and is involved with FAS, the Durrow Development Forum, Community Council, Meals on Wheels and Tidy Towns. Long may her efforts continue!

Michael Hyland, aGHABOE

Michael has been spoken by those who nominated him, have spoken of him with true affection and respect. Michael has contributed greatly to community life in various roles. Michael is the main link in the Community and has gained respect and admiration from the younger generation. Michael has been described as the ‘righthand man. No job is too big or small, he always has a positive attitude in helping to sort out any issue.

Mary Dunne, Loffa

Mary Dunne has volunteered for over sixteen years as an advocate for Laois Offaly Families for Autism. As a parent, she understands firsthand the issues that families with autism face. Mary has worked tirelessly to help families by providing information on obtaing services and entitlements which has been invaluable to families who don’t know where to turn. Mary Dunne is deemed the true Volunteer who is willing and ready to take calls or meet with any families faced with autism and assist them with advice and in applications. The Laois Offaly Families for Autism wish to recognise her tremendous work in this regard. 

Yvonne Porter, Abbeyleix

Yvonne is a committed community worker, someone you can truly depend on according to those who have nominated her. Yvonne’s work is multifaceted – working for the Active Retirement group, Social Services, Community Alert and the ICA Abbeyleix of which she is an active member. Yvonne is a true Volunteer in every sense of the word – she is committed to helping people and in her social services capacity, Yvonne cares to the housebound Senior Citizens with their dinners as meals on wheels. 

Elizabeth Treacy, Borris-in-Ossory

Elizabeth Treacy is a key player when it comes to community life in Borris-in-Ossory. Having devoted huge time and effort in fundraising for different projects in the local community, she gained respect and admiration of everyone. Her nominators say that even in hard times, it is vital that people pull together to help out – you need brave people to stand up and be counted – this describes Elizabeth to a T!

Donie Molloy, Portarllington Scouts

Donie Molloy has been involved with the 4th Laois Scout group since its inception. He has been a group leader for a number of years and has been at the helm through the huge changes that affected the group over the years and steered them through thick and thin to make the Scout group stronger than ever. According to those who nominated him, he has shown great dedication, commitment and leadership and has had an enormously positive impact on generations of children in Portarlington. Apart from Scouting, Donie is a true Community worker and is always on hand to assist other local voluntary groups. His name is mentioned with affection and respect among a generation of young people in Portarlington.

Terence Lawlor, Portarlington

Terence Lawlor has been nominated by the people of Portarlington for his voluntary all-weather efforts in keeping the streets of Portarlington clean. Terry is described by residents and business people alike as an outgoing person, always having a good word to say to everyone. His work is carried out in an unassuming manner, not seeking recognition, but genuinely seeking to assist. His energy and optimism is an example to all in our community and he is applauded by the local community for freely contributing his time and energy.

Edel Shaw, Loffa

Edel took her place as secretary with Laois Offaly Families for Autism in 2009 and proceeded to transform it into the professional, all embracing organisation we see today. She has been described as the instigator and motivator in all fundraising efforts, events and programmes rolled out by LOFFA in the past few years. Her passionate voluntary efforts have raised awareness and thus the organisation’s profile locally and nationally, and her wealth of experience and organised ways are shown in the information packs given to families with newly diagnosed children, along with constant contact and updates and in the smooth running of the events held to raise funds for this, one of the largest autism support groups in Ireland. Edel is described by her peers as a force to be reckoned with and always at the end of the phone.

Kieran Dooley, Emo

Kieran Dooley epitomises the true dedicated Volunteer who has worked for Emo Tidy Towns for over 20 years. He has worked tirelessly to improve and maintain the village of Emo and has developed a picnic area close to the village. He has been nominated by people in Emo who say that he has done tremendous work in attracting positive comments from visitors and tourists into Emo on the beauty and tidiness of the village due to Kieran’s hard work.

John Maher, Stradbally

John Maher has been described as a true Community activist who has contributed time and effort into everything he does. He is the first person on everyone’s list in Stradbally when anything needs to get done. He has been a founder of both Church choirs for over 30 years. According to those who nominated him, John is unassuming and never looks for recognition for the amount of work he carries out. His voluntary work extends to the wider community. John has been put forward by the people of Stradbally as someone who is valued and respected in the Community – a true inspiration!

Michael Cobbe, Killenard

Michael Cobbe is a major player when it comes to community life in Killenard. His fellow resident acknowledge his service to local community and to all of its projects carried out over the years, including active retirement, development of the Community Centre and many other community efforts. He is described as someone who brings happiness to those lucky enough to share his company, as his fellow Community Forum members will testify.

Noel Ryan, Stradbally

Noel Ryan has been a key player in improving the quality of Community life in Stradbally over many years. Noel has worked tirelessly to make Woodview the beautiful estate it is today. Noel has dedicated his time to helping the local community develop – from his work in encouraging young people in playing sport to devoting his energies to the people of Woodview and the upkeep of the estate to helping the elderly in the locality. His contribution to the local community has been multifaceted and he has organized the local St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Stradbally. One of his greatest Passions was the setting up of Community Allotments in Stradbally and to this day, there are 26 beautiful allotments up and running. A truly inspirational man!

Robbie Lyons, The Swan

Robbie Lyons was born with chronic renal failure and received his kidney transplant in 2009 aged 15. Since then, he has emerged as an athlete representing Ireland and the Irish Kidney Association at transplant events internationally. He has shown himself to be a great ambassador for Laois at all events, especially his recent involvement with London 2012. He is described as being a truly inspirational person, a great athlete, and a great advocate for organ donor awareness and an inspiration to children with kidney failure.

Christy Maher, Doonane

Christy Maher has given of his time, knowledge and energy in improving the quality of community life in Doonane and surrounding area. Over a long number of years, he has volunteered his services in his local Parish and fundraising for the Doonane Sports Committee. Not only did he work as a Fundraiser, he worked tirelessly in reclaiming the local historical Kilgorey Cemetery and Holy Well with the help of others. He is also instrumental in maintaining the cemetery and area around it and has helped out in the cemetery and area around it and has helped out in the local Church in many ways. Christy is a major player in helping people in his local community – from the young to the elderly. A total all rounder, he has gained admiration and respect in this local community.

Billy Delaney, Timahoe

According to the people of Timahoe, Billy Delaney is a true Community man and a man that cannot say no. Billy has domne Trojan work of the village of Timahoe – from the maintenance of the Church grounds, the GAA and clubhouse to helping the elderly. Billy is the main link in many organizations in the local community. Described by his nominators as unassuming, he works discreetly and is a truly inspirational man.

Seamus O’Brien, Mountmellick

Seamus O’ Brien has given his time and effort to the Kirwan Park and Harbour Court areas. He has worked as a Volunteer to ensure that the park environment is always kept well and maintained and generally looks after the best interests of Kirwan Park. Seamus’s involvement doesn’t end there, he is also very active in the wider Mountmellick area.

Maureen Culleton

Maureen Culleton is a major player when it comes to Community Life and has made a huge contribution to the people of Laois by giving of her life to promoting our cultural heritage of music, song, dance and language. Her dedication to making it accessible for all members of the community to take part from young to retired and people with special needs has gained her widespread respect. Maureen has a way of including everyone with her warm personality and reassurance. She is well known for her promotion of Irish culture abroad and long may it continue!

Gerry Conroy, Ballyfin

Gerry Conroy has been depicted as an inspirational person, a man that if you ask him to do something, it will be done and more! He is the ultimate volunteer and he has devoted his life to the community of Ballyfin. His involvement in Community life in Ballyfin is comprehensive from helping out with the school, church and the Ballyfin Community Alert. He is a major link between many organizations in the area. An active worker for St. Vincent de Paul, he has worked discreetly for this organization for years.

John Hartford, Portlaoise

John Hartford has been nominated as a person in the community that has given so much of his personal time on a voluntary basis in his county and beyond. John is a founder member of the 50+ Active age group Portlaoise. Over the years, John has run in over 30 marathons and dedicated his time and energy to raising money for a number of charities. John worked as a Senior Nurse at St. Fintan’s Hospital and was a founder member of Laois Alzheimer Association and personally trained young people to participate in the Community Games. He has also raised funds for the Blind and Re-Hab Associations. John is a true Community Worker who puts people ahead of himself and gets things done.

Orlagh McCrory, Portlaoise

Orlagh Mc Crory is president of the Arch Club and has wored tirelessly to improve the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities in Laois and to organize and fundraise for activities and facilities needed. Her efforts to date in organizing and fundraising for the Arch Club have been formidable and no doubt she will continue to make it a great success. Orlagh has been described by her peers as a ‘completely selfless person who devotes so much of her time to helping others but she also inspires those around her to be involved.’

Liam Preston, Civil Defence

Liam Preston has been described by all his nominators as a first class leader as his role as Laois Civil Defence Officer. He has added greatly to civil defence in the last 10 years by ensuring that the volunteers got the highest level of training and equipment. His nominators have described him as someone who gives of himself constantly – a true inspiration!