Chairperson's Civic Awards
Each year the Council recognises those people who have demonstrated outstanding service to the community, made a significant contribution to public life in Newry, Mourne and Down and have shown real dedication in helping local residents.
These awards give us the opportunity to show our gratitude and shine a light on the unsung heroes in our district who go above and beyond to improve the lives of others in an incredibly diverse range of areas.
Chairperson's Civic Awards 2023
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Valerie welcomed 33 amazing individuals and organisations to the Burrendale Hotel in Newcastle on Friday 28 September for a special Civic Awards Ceremony.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Chairperson Councillor Valerie Harte said, “These awards hold immense significance to both the Council and the Community. They provide a unique opportunity to shine a well-deserved spotlight on our unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes, often without seeking recognition. These exceptional individuals have demonstrated outstanding service and have made a significant contribution to public life in Newry, Mourne and Down, embodying the true spirit of ‘community’.
“Every year we receive lots of nominations from people who really want to acknowledge a person or organisation that has made such a difference to them or their community. It is always striking, as we read these stories, how much people give of themselves for others, and it is never an easy task to select who should receive a civic award. On a personal level, I am delighted this year, as Chairperson of Council to be able to host this evening to say to each and every recipient how much they are appreciated.”
This year’s recipients were nominated for their contribution in the following four categories: Arts and Culture, Community and Voluntary, Human Endeavour and Sport.
Amongst the beneficiaries was Michéal McCloy who competed for Ireland in the Sports Union for Athletes with Down Syndrome (SUDS) European Futsual Championships in Italy in September. He played a pivotal role as part of the eight-man squad, representing the first ever Irish Down Syndrome Fustal Team at the European Championships. Their achievement in making history is inspirational. Michéal’s dedication and rigorous pre-tournament training reflect his commitment to excellence and he was presented with a Sport Civic Award.
Ballynahinch Community Collective was presented with a Community and Voluntary Civic Award for their remarkable track record of achievements, showcasing the groups unwavering dedication and positive influence to improving resident’s well-being. They have successfully organised various community events, bringing neighbours together, promoting cultural diversity and inclusivity to foster a sense of unity. Their active involvement extends to charitable endeavours, environmental initiatives including tree planting and litter cleanups as well as helping and supporting those in need and vulnerable members of the community.
Niamh Quinn is the founder of Advocacy VSV, a charity which provides an indispensable service to victims of sexual violence throughout Newry, Mourne and Down. Her dedication and that of her team, are evident in the extensive support they offer to those facing the daunting challenge of navigating the court system after such traumatic experiences. Niamh and her team offer unwavering support and advice throughout the entire process, ensuring individuals are not left to face the journey alone. They continue to offer care and assistance even after the case has concluded.
The final award of the evening was the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Pat McGinn. Pat has long been recognised and respected by many for his passion for people, places and things throughout his home community in South Armagh and beyond in many parts of Ireland, England and the USA.
Over the past 30 years he has both privately and publicly been involved in numerous life changing initiatives and key events with individuals, families and communities. He has provided quiet but key support to many and is always on hand to offer support and advice to all who cross his path, irrespective of their background, class or creed.
His work with Cuan Mhuire, Ireland's largest voluntary provider of addiction treatment services and residential rehabilitation, brings him to schools, community groups, sporting and voluntary clubs to speak about the disease and he is heavily involved with the Friends of Cuan Mhuire Support Group. He has raised much needed funds for not only Cuan Mhuire through running marathons, climbing mountains and triathlons but also charities such as Southern Area Hospice and Cardiac Risk in the Young.
A well known storyteller, he has had his work published and enjoys working to promote his own and his community’s culture as well as being open to learning and respecting that of others.
These are just some of the very special people that were acknowledged at the awards ceremony. All the recipients were recognised for doing extraordinary things that make a positive contribution in their community.
Arts and Culture
Community and Voluntary
Ballynahinch Community Collective
Crossmaglen Community Associatiion
Dromintee Community Association
Drumquay Men’s Shed
Dundrum Village Association
Helping Hands Romania
Ian and Pauline Bothwell
Sarah Jane Campbell
The Rainbow Club