Nominations sought for O’Flaherty humanitarian award

Msgr Hugh O’Flaherty helped thousands escape Nazis in Rome during second World War

Nominations are invited for the 2015 Hugh O’Flaherty International Humanitarian Award which honours a person or organisation doing outstanding humanitarian work.

The public, voluntary, humanitarian and non-governmental organisations operating in Ireland or abroad, as well as humanitarian and related societies in third-level educational institutions, may make nominations.

The award honours Msgr Hugh O'Flaherty from Killarney, Co Kerry, known as the Vatican Pimpernel for helping Jewish people and others escape Nazi-occupied Rome during the second World war. He helped save as many as 6,500 people by hiding them in safe houses throughout Rome. He was played by Gregory Peck in the 1983 TV film The Scarlet and the Black.

Last year's winner was UK surgeon Dr John Beavis, founder of Ideals. For over 20 years he has provided medical aid in areas hit by natural disaster or conflict.

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Previous recipients include: the Darfur-based Goal aid workers Sharon Commins and Hilda Kawuki in 2009; Columban missionary Fr Michael Synott in 2010; Trócaire's regional director for Latin America, Sally O'Neill, in 2011; Sr Agnes Hunt of the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas in 2012; and, in 2013, the late Kerry teenager Donal Walsh.

Nominations should be accompanied by a 500-word explanation and sent by email to hofmemorialsociety@gmail.com before Friday June 26th, 2015. The winner will be announced in late August and the award will be presented in Killarney on Saturday October 31st, at the eighth annual Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Week.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times