The Achill People of the Year Awards were held recently in Óstan Oileann Acla where people from all walks of life were given recognition for their efforts in various fields over the past year.
Caoimhe Cafferkey, from Achill Sound was first to receive an award on the night, she was named as the Achill Young Person of the Year. Caoimhe was born in 2010 with a rare condition called bladder extrophy and regularly attends Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
She continually stays strong and positive and is an inspiration to all. Seán Molloy, from Dooagh received an award for his contribution to sport in Achill and for establishing the Achill Sports Network. Mr Molloy was on holiday at the time of the event, Vincent English received the award on his behalf.
Marty Gallagher from Valley received an award for all the work he does within the community. It was noted that Mr Gallagher was always available to lend a hand at all local sporting events. He holds a weekly whist game with all money raised going to local charities. Marty Gallagher said while raising funds for local charities is important, the weekly whist night is a great social night for all who attend.
Ken Quinn of Achill Sound was named Volunteer of the Year for his contribution to the Achill Boxing Club. Mr Quinn's honesty, enthusiasm, positivity, and never give up attitude knows no bounds. He set up and runs the club like a fine Swiss watch and because of him Achill Boxing Club has gone from strength to strength.
Mary McGing Vesey from Valley was awarded Carer of the Year. It was noted that caring for anybody is singly the greatest task of all. It does not run Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm. It is 24/7 job, and it is often the case carers do not see the significance of their role, but without carers like Mary in the community, Achill would not be the place it is today.
Packie McGinty of Springdale was presented with a Lifetime Recognition Award for his commitment to Achill GAA. He goes above and beyond what is expected. Mr McGinty has held the role of Achill GAA Club vice-president as well as having held the position of chairman for many years.
His service to Mayo football was recognised in 2011 when he was appointed to the position of Mayo County Board president.
The final award of the night went to Marty Gallagher, Valley, who was named as Achill Person of the Year 2017, which was presented to him by Ann Carroll Cattigan, the Achill Person of the Year 2016.
Vincent English who organised the night said: "It was a great night to acknowledge those among us who work tirelessly, yet never seek recognition or thanks. It's an opportunity for the people of Achill to say thank you for all they do. Without them we wouldn't have the community we have today. Last year was the first People of the Year Awards and judging by the attendance I have seen here tonight it is going from strength to strength. Ultimately I would like to see a funding system established where nights like this can draw from, and any money raised in Achill will be invested in Achill.
"I would also like to thank all those who nominated people that didn't get an award on the night, places are limited so please, keep nominating them, they will get the recognition they deserve. I would also like to thank all the premises who held the nomination forms. Plans are already in place for the third Achill People of the Year Awards to be held in December in Óstan Oileann Acla."