The People of the Year Awards took place last night and among those honoured were Brendan O'Carroll, Donal Walsh and the Irish women's rugby team.
Donal Walsh was posthumously awarded the Young Person of the Year award for his courage, strength, determination and desire to show young people the true value of life and for inspiring so many. Donal lost his battle with cancer earlier this year at the age of 16. His award was presented to his parents by Brendan O'Connor who interviewed Donal on the Saturday Night Show.
The Young Person of the Year Award was also awarded to one of Ireland's youngest authors Joe Prendergast. At 10 years of age Joe has had one book published and he donated all of the proceeds to the Clinical Cancer Research Trust at St. Vincent's Hospital. His decision to donate the proceeds from the book was made to honour his dad, Geoff, who died from lung cancer last year. His award was presented to him by Nicky Byrne.
Comedian Brendan O'Carroll was given an award for his services to the entertainment industry as his show Mrs Brown's Boys has become an international phenomenon winning both BAFTA and IFTA awards. Gay Byrne presented O'Carroll with his award.
The Irish Women's Rugby Team were given an award by Kathryn Thomas for their skill, passion and dedication and for breaking down the barriers for women's sport in Ireland. This year the team won their first ever RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam.
Fiona Doyle received an award for her courage and bravery in fighting for her rights and the rights of survivors of abuse. Fiona suffered years of abuse at the hands of her father, Patrick O'Brien, and set about bringing him to justice. Fiona's award was presented by Joe Duffy.
Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was posthumously awarded the People of the Year Award for his bravery and fearlessness as a local Garda in Dundalk. On January 25th this year Garda Donohoe was shot while accompanying Credit Union staff in Bellurgan with cash to the bank. Michael O'Muircheartaigh presented his award to his wife Caroline.
Tom Arnold was presented an award by Rob Kearney for his drive and achievements with the charity Concern.
Loretta Brennan Glucksman was awarded the Internation Person of the Year Award for her work, dedication and commitment to her extraordinary philanthropic efforts. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny presented Loretta with her award.
Dad of the Year was awarded to Ciaran Finn from Ashbourne for his dedication to going above and beyond for his children. Ciaran is a fireman and loves to spend his spare time teaching his four kids about food, how to grow vegetables and make their lunch boxes creative. Nevin Maguire presented Ciaran with his award.
Orla O'Sullivan was honoured with an award for her incredible musical talent and acting and for being an inspiration for others with a disability. Orla became deaf-blind at just six weeks old due to medication she was taking for an infection. Orla is remarkably positive about life and she attributes this to music. Rehab's Angela Kerins presented this award to Orla.
Fabian Lugandu received an award for his bravery and courage in saving the lives of Liz O'Brien and her son Derek who had fallen into a river near their home in Tralee in January. Fabian was presented his award by Love/Hate's Peter Coonan and actress Aoibhin McCaul.
Chief Executive of Rehab, Angela Kerins, said, “We are delighted to organise the People of the Year Awards for the 39th year, and are honoured to share the stories of this year’s winners with the nation. These awards give us the opportunity to honour unsung heroes from communities across the country whose stories and achievements inspire everyone around them. With nominations for each winner coming from the people of Ireland, these truly are the ‘People’s Awards’ and reflect all that is good about our society.”
All winners are nominated by members of the public and finalised by a panel of adjudicators.