Review of the First Traveller Pride Awards 2009
The first ever Traveller Pride Awards were held on the 8th of December 2009.
The award ceremony culminated in a huge sense of pride among Travellers and will hopefully become an annual event, growing year on year.
The idea of the Traveller Pride Awards is to bring Travellers from across the country together to celebrate and showcase Traveller achievements, whilst highlighting some of the obstacles that exist for Travellers in Irish society.
The ultimate aim is to instill pride, increase expectations and celebrate the undoubted positive contribution Travellers have made to Irish life and also the pride and determination one must have in order to succeed as a Traveller.
The following awards were presented on the night:
Achievement in Education
This award was presented by Catherine Joyce, Irish Traveller Movement, to twin sisters Sally & Eileen Flynn. The sisters were the first Traveller girls in Labre Park to complete their leaving certificate and pursue third level studies. Sally is a second year student at the Liberties College, Dublin studying Community & Youth Work. Eileen completed a one year access programme in Trinity College, Dublin and is now completing a pre-nursing Course in
Ballyfermot College. Eileen has also applied to be part of the Garda reserves.Achievement in Sport
This award was presented by Olympic Boxer John Joe Joyce to Hannah Carthy for her contribution to boxing. Hannah has overcome many obstacles which exist for Travellers but with a winning determination she has enjoyed successful boxing achievements which include becoming the Irish Amateur All-Ireland National Girls Champion. Hannah trains three times a week and participates in professional fights at weekends. Her dedication and commitment is outstanding and she is an inspiration to the up and coming boxers in her club and community.Achievement in Youth
The award was presented by Bridget Collins, Pavee Point, to Cassandra Ward on behalf of the winners, the Galway Youth Leadership Programme, of which Cassandra was a participant. This Programme was designed to equip Young Travellers with leadership skills and pride in their communities in Galway. Cassandra is a role mode for young Travellers and her participation in the Leadership Programme highlights the important contribution young Travellers can make to their community.Achievement in Music/ Arts/ Culture
This award was presented by musicians Kathleen and Mary Keenan (who performed at the Awards) to Selina O’Leary, an exceptional singer and a very good role model for her peers.
Selina has been accepted into a music Diploma course at the University of Limerick with the
possibility of undertaking a full music degree. Selina is the youngest of 10 sisters.Achievement in Enterprise
This award was presented by John McCarthy, Irish Traveller Movement, to Galway Recycling
Cooperative (GRC). The aim of the Cooperative, which was established by seven Traveller men, is to provide employment for the Traveller community while at the same time promoting Traveller economy. TheTraveller men have ownership of the cooperative by engaging specific
cooperatve structures and were incorporated in October 2009. An inspirational project, the GRC have built up very strong relationships with the local business community and have secured financial backing from the local Credit Union.Achievement in Community Development
This award was presented by Thomas McCann to Julie Nevin. Julie has been working within her own community for over 20 years. Beginning as a volunteer, she has shown outstanding commitment and a real understanding of social justice and empowerment. Julie has educated herself in order to provide better service to her own people and in so doing is a community champion.Overall Traveller Pride Award 2009
The overall Traveller Pride Award was presented by Martin Collins, Pavee Point, to Julie Nevin, a community development worker and human rights activist. "It is an admirable thing to commit oneself to doing community work, but it is another thing altogether to be willing to work on Traveller issues in a predominantly settled population. There is nearly always a struggle to be taken seriously. It is nearly always a struggle to keep Travellers’ rights on the agenda without making it a poverty issue. And Julie has been fighting this fight for years and years without fuss and without kudos". (Martin Collins, Pavee Point)Traveller Pride Awards 2009
The Traveller Pride Awards were part of Traveller Focus Week organised by the Irish
Traveller Movement, Minceirs Whiden, Pavee Point, National Traveller MABS, the
National Traveller Women’s Forum and the National Association of Traveller Centres.