Cathaoirleach’s Awards Ceremony 2021

Cathaoirleach’s Awards 2021

Cathaoirleach’s Awards 2021 Front row: Val Robus, Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Taylor, Brian King & Brendan Tierney
Back row: Chief Executive Martin Lydon, Councillor Gino O’Boyle, Councillor Marie Casserly, Councillor Declan Bree & Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady

The Cathaoirleach’s Awards for 2021 have been presented to community volunteers across eight categories.

Due to health and safety restrictions, a number of the awards were presented in the various communities, with three awards presented in the Council Chamber, County Hall.

The Cathaoirleach’s Awards Roll of Honour for 2021 is follows:

CategoryWinnerPresented by
Schools Killavil NS  Cathaoirleach Cllr Paul Taylor
Arts & Culture Brendan Tierney  Cllr Gino O’Boyle 
Sports Brian King  Cllr Marie Casserly 
Spirit of Sligo Val Robus  Cllr Declan Bree
Environment & Heritage Castleconnor Community Alert Cllr Joe Queenan 
Community (Group) Eastern Harps GAA Healthy Club  Cllr Thomas Walsh 
Young Enterprise Lorraine Dunleavy  Cllr Arthur Gibbons 
Community (Individual)* Brenda O’Callaghan  Cllr Rosaleen O’Grady 

*Community (Individual) award will be presented in new year



The Cathaoirleach Councillor Taylor said ‘The Awards scheme was introduced to acknowledge the contribution of volunteers across a wide range of local activity.  Too seldom as a community do we take the time to formally show our appreciation for the enormous work of our dedicated community volunteers, those people who give so generously of their time, energy and expertise for the common good.


Over the course of my time in public life, but particularly in my capacity as Cathaoirleach, I have been simply overwhelmed by the magnificent work carried out by our volunteers.  This Awards ceremony is Sligo County Council’s opportunity to show our gratitude for this invaluable contribution.


The most effective work we do as an Authority is in conjunction with the community we serve, and our engagement with voluntary groups and associations has been the backdrop to many successful projects.

It is an honour to be nominated for an award in any field of endeavour, and our community volunteers here this evening have been put forward by people who hold them in great esteem.


Our committee was genuinely impressed by the scale and quality of voluntary work being carried around our county by individuals and groups. These are the true ‘unsung heroes’ in our society who discreetly go about their business, they invariably shun the limelight, but we publicly applaud and commend them today.


In bestowing this honour to our award winners, we also recognise the trojan work delivered by countless other individuals and groups all over County Sligo, and that was very evident from the many nomination forms we received.  To our Award winners I would say, you are a great resource to your own communities, you should take great pride in the gift your work has bestowed on our society.’

Awards Committee

The Cathaoirleach also extended his gratitude to his colleagues on the Cathaoirleach’s Awards Committee

‘for their work in studying the nominations and selecting the eventual winners; I think when you see the calibre of the people we are honouring this afternoon, you will agree the committee has done its job very well.’


Category: Arts and Culture

Presented by: Councillor Gino O’Boyle

Given Sligo’s rich tradition in the area of Arts and Culture, this category is always popular and attracts interest from a wide range of activity.

Indeed County Sligo is renowned internationally for its achievements in a wide spectrum of artistic and cultural activity, from literature to music to drama and much more.

For that reason our Awards Committee had a difficult challenge to select one individual who embodies the passion and creativity lie at the core of our local arts & culture scene.

Our committee chose Brendan Tierney as a very deserving winner in this category.

Among his many achievements, Brendan founded the Sligo Comedy Festival which is the first comedy festival to take place in Sligo, and succeeded in attracting many fantastic acts to take part.

Brendan is also a member of The Mad Ravens, and has been involved in many musical performances in the Hawk's Well Theatre. Most recently Brendan has started The Sligo Show, this is a weekly show that is streamed live on Facebook and on YouTube. He interviews people of interest living in Sligo, and integrates these with a selection of local, music and entertainment news.

The fact that Brendan carries out all this work voluntarily makes him a very worthy winner of the Cathaoirleach’s Award 2021 in the category of Arts & Culture.

Arts and Culture - Brendan Tierney 1 Brendan Tierney receiving his Cathaoirleach’s Award in the category of Arts and Culture from Councillor Gino O’Boyle (left) and Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Tylor
Arts and Culture - Brendan Tierney 2 Brendan Tierney receiving his Cathaoirleach’s Award in the category of Arts and Culture
Front row: Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady, Brendan Tierney and Councillor Marie Casserly
Back row: Martin Lydon, Chief Executive, Councillor Gino O’Boyle, Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Taylor and Councillor Declan Bree

Category: Community (Group)

Presented by: Councillor Thomas Walsh

Given the many groups and associations providing voluntary service to their communities across a wide range of endeavour, this category attracts many outstanding nominations.

The wok of our dedicated volunteers has transformed communities all over our county, they do so without any expectation of acknowledgement or reward. For this reason we are delighted to offer this token of our appreciation for their efforts.

Eastern Harps GAA Healthy Club did trojan work for the community during the pandemic of 2021. They organised activities for every age group through a virtual programme called "Get Up Get Moving". This was an initial 6-week programme increased to 10 weeks due to popular demand that was also showcased on RTE Six One News with Eileen Magner.

Each week the organising committee set out tasks for completion. These involved walking, running and cycling – also Pilates, Yoga and Tabata classes. At the conclusion all team leaders and children were given a hardwood tree to plant which will serve as a reminder of this dreadful pandemic.

Ireland was in Level 5 lockdown but Eastern Harps Healthy Club excelled. They kept people motivated for doing daily exercise and kept the fun part in it with all the novelty ideas. New friendships were formed as you were randomly selected to a team with at least half your teammates unknown to you.

The Eastern Harps Healthy Club committee also compiled an excellent video on Organ Donation featuring 2 families with 2 contrasting stories.

The initiative in turn created a remarkable example of community spirit. Over the 48 hours crowds of people of every age took to the challenge some running, others content to walk. in support of this fundraiser. It was a remarkable display of community spirit and endeavour by the Eastern Harps Club its members, players and supporters raised over €30,000 Euro.

I am honoured to acknowledge this achievement by presenting the Cathaoirleach’s Awards 2021 in the category of Community- Group to Eastern Harps Healthy Club.

Community Group - Eastern Harps Representatives of Eastern Harps GAA Healthy Club team receiving their Cathaoirleach’s Award in the category of ‘Community Group’ from Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Taylor and Councillor Thomas Walsh

Category: Environment & Heritage

Presented by: Councillor Joe Queenan

One of the most important functions Sligo County Council has as a Local Authority is to protect our Environment and to safeguard and promote our unique heritage for future generations.

All over County Sligo, we have seen local volunteers and community groups, giving of their time right throughout the year to enhance their local areas.

Castleconnor Community Alert fulfil a very valuable role for the people in this area.

One excellent initiative they organised was a national spring clean in association with An Taisce, carried out over the Easter weekend to clean up the local parish.

Groups were organised and every hedgerow and roadside margin was meticulously cleaned.

Despite the difficulties around Covid restrictions 1.75 tonnes of waste was collected.

Environment & Heritage - Castleconnor Representatives from Castleconnor Community Alert receiving their Cathaoirleach’s Award in the category of ‘Environment & Heritage’ from Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Taylor:
Tom Tuffy, Thomas Gilmartin, Trevor Feeney, Chair Castleconnor Community Council. Also included are Councillor Joe Queenan and Councillor Michael Clarke

Category: Schools

Presented by: Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Taylor

One of the most welcome features of the Cathaoirleach’s Awards Schemes is the active engagement of young people right across the various categories, but particularly in relation to the Schools section.

The involvement of our young people in the affairs of their schools and their communities was never more in evidence, and this was very clear from the hugely positive response to the recent Comhairle na Nóg AGM, a forum for the current generation to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing them.

The pupils of Killavil National School have always shown great enterprise in promoting their school and becoming involved in community activities.

Eight of the pupils recently took the initiative of contacting Sligo County Council to make a very strong case for re-opening the secondary school in Gurteen.

This is just a brief snapshot of the outstanding work carried out here, and great credit is due to the young students and their families and the dedicated teachers.

I am honoured to present the Cathaoirleach’s Award 2021 in the category of ‘Schools’ to Killavil National School

Schools - Killavil NS Principal Killavil NS Bill Carty and former Principal Seána Haughey being presented with their Cathaoirleach’s Awards in the ‘Schools’ category from Councillor Arthur Gibbons and Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Taylor

Category: Spirit of Sligo Award

Presented by: Councillor Declan Bree

The ‘Spirit of Sligo’ category was introduced to honour special people whose contribution  extends above and beyond a  particular award category, and whose endeavours have made a major impact on the community.

I believe this year’s winner in this category embodies the spirit of Sligo

Her passion and entusiams for Sligo makes her an excellent ambassador for this county, and her on-line profile serves to showcase our many atractions to a national and international audience.

Over the years Val has developed multiple campaigns for the promotion of Sligo as a tourist destination, generating valuable profile for local businesses, and managing an on-line narrative narrative that places Sligo enterprise firmly on the map.

From creating online shopping guides during the challenge of Covid, through supporting the tourism via Twitter Campaigns, Val’s acumen and creativity have been invaluable resources for our community.

Val has also been a pasionate and articulate advocate for inclusion, human rights and equality

Her many attributers make Val Robus a very worthy  and deserving winner of the Cathaoirleach’s Awards 2021 in the category ‘Spirit of Sligo’.

Spirit of Sligo - Val Robus 1 Val Robus receiving her Cathaoirleach’s Award on the category of ‘Spirit of Sligo’ from Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Tylor (left) and Councillor Declan Bree
Spirit of Sligo - Val Robus 2 Val Robus receiving her Cathaoirleach’s Award in the category of ‘Spirit of Sligo’
Front row: Councillor Marie Casserly, Val Robus, Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady
Back row: Martin Lydon, Chief Executive, Councillor Gino O’Boyle, Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Taylor, Councillor Declan Bree

Category: Sport

Presented by: Councillor Marie Casserly

Sligo people have a special affinity for our sporting heroes, and this is very evident in the quality and range of nominations received under this heading.

2021 has been a hugely successful year for Sligo in the area of sports, with our local athletes reaching the pinnacle of their careers and showcasing their native county on the world stage.

The Cathaoirleach’s Awards were devised to honour the unsung heroes working tirelessly behind the scenes, and our winner this year certainly fulfilled the criteria

Brian King’s contribution to the development and dedication to ladies sports from LGFA, soccer and community games over the last 10 years. 

Brian has been an active member of CT Gaels for the past 10 or more years. He has coached at all grades from u6 to Senior winning many accolades along way. He has also held various roles on CT Gaels Committee the most notable being Development Officer and the advancement of the players through all ages is testament to his hard work and dedication to the Club.

In recent years Brian has moved into a coaching role with Sligo LGFA, and he is destined to make a major contribution in this capacity.

I am delighted to present the 2021 Cathaoirleach’s Awards Winner in the category of Sport to Brian King.

Sports - Brian King 1 Brian King receiving his Cathaoirleach’s Award in the category of Sports from Councillor Marie Casserly (left) and Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Tylor
Sports - Brian King 2 Brian King receiving his Cathaoirleach’s Award in the category of Sports
Front row: Cara King, Brian King and Izzy King
Back row: Councillor Marie Casserly, Collette King and Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Taylor

Category: Young Enterprise

Presented by: Councillor Arthur Gibbons

Particularly since the establishment of our Local Enterprise Office, Sligo County Council has taken a keen interest in encouraging and supporting young entrepreneurs in this region.

This function has been especially important as young people to seek to overcome the many challenges presented by the Covid pandemic

Lorraine Dunleavy is a third year Business Student at Coláiste Muire, Ballymote. She came second at the national enterprise finals for her original idea of the 'Snap & Translate' app, where instead of using google to translate words into another language you could take a picture of an object using the app and it would translate the word into whatever language you would like.

The app was designed to help students studying foreign languages, tourists visiting a country where their first language is not spoken, and also as a learning tool for foreign national students attending education in Ireland.

This initiative captured the imagination of all at Coláiste Mhuire, and certainly attracted the attention of our Committee.

I am delighted to present Lorraine Dunleavy with the Cathaoirleach Award 2021 in the category of Young Enterprise.

Young Enterprise Lorraine Dunleavy Lorraine Dunleavy, 3rd Year student in Coláiste Muire, Ballymote, receiving her Cathaoirleach’s Award in the category of ‘Young Enterprise’ from Cathaoirleach Councillor Paul Taylor and Councillor Arthur Gibbons