17-year-old Meath student receives Foróige award for support of hospice
Darragh Hynes the first individual to win the annual citizenship award
Darragh Hynes from Ratoath raised money for the St Francis Hospice in Dublin by holding a culture night in the village theatre. Photograph: Foróige
A 17-year-old student from Co Meath was named the overall national winner of the Aldi Foróige Citizenship Awards on Saturday for his project which raised money for St Francis Hospice in Dublin.
Darragh Hynes from Ratoath was presented with the award for his efforts to raise money for the hospice by holding a culture night in the village theatre. He raised a total of €2,140 for the hospice through ticket sales, raffle tickets and a bucket collection.
The aim of the citizenship awards is to encourage young people to look at the needs in their community and devise practical responses to these issues. Foróige, the largest youth organisation in the State, provides a network of volunteer-led clubs to 50,000 people aged 10-18.
Darragh’s win marks the first time an individual rather than a group of young people has won the prize since the programme began in 1969.
More than 2,000 young people from across Ireland attended the awards ceremony in the Citywest Conference Centre on Saturday, with 200 youth groups taking part in the event. The groups’ projects focused on improving awareness around equality, homelessness, inclusion, mental health and culture in their local communities.
Ballineen Foróige Agri lads from Cork, which developed a new kill switch for tractors to enhance farm safety, and Co Mayo’s Islandeady Senior Foróige Club, which promoted healthy eating through workshops and planting vegetables, received gold awards for their work.
Chief executive of Foróige Seán Campbell said the goal of the awards was to empower young people across Ireland to “use their skills and talents to make a positive contribution to their local community. The programme involves young people researching the needs of their community, organising practical action in response, evaluating the effectiveness of their work and reflecting on what they’re learning along the way”.