Community Relations Council seeks nominations for major award

Community Relations Council’s annual award.
Picture caption Fr Gary Donegan, who was priest at Ardoyne’s Holy Cross Church for over 15 years before recently moving to the Tobar Mhuire in Crossgar, was presented with the Annual Community Relations Exceptional Achievement Award. The Community Relations Council Award recognises exceptional achievement of an individual in promoting community relations, intercultural work or peace building in Northern Ireland.
Community Relations Council’s annual award.
Picture caption
Fr Gary Donegan, who was priest at Ardoyne’s Holy Cross Church for over 15 years before recently moving to the Tobar Mhuire in Crossgar, was presented with the Annual Community Relations Exceptional Achievement Award. The Community Relations Council Award recognises exceptional achievement of an individual in promoting community relations, intercultural work or peace building in Northern Ireland.

The countdown is on to submit nominations for the Community Relations Council’s annual award.

People across Northern Ireland are being urged to nominate civic leaders for the 2017 – 2018 Community Relations Council Award.

Presented annually since 2006, the award recognises the exceptional achievement of an individual in promoting community relations, intercultural work or peace building in Northern Ireland and is intended to highlight the ongoing, courageous work of this nature.

This year’s prize-winner will receive a unique hand-crafted sculpture, specially commissioned by Irish artist Kate Oram.

Las year’s recipient was one of Northern Ireland’s most prominent priests, Fr. Gary Donegan, who was singled out for his contribution to ministry and community life in Ardoyne. Fr Gary, who is originally from County Fermanagh, was appointed in Ardoyne in 2001 and guided parishioners through some of the community’s most turbulent years.

He played a key role in talks, negotiations and parades disputes throughout his time in the North Belfast parish and has shown unwavering dedication to achieving peace and reconciliation. CRC Chair Peter Osborne said this year, the Council hopes to give the award to an equally deserving recipient.

“The Community Relations Council’s annual award is given to someone who embodies the values of the Council. We look for an individual who has gone above and beyond to challenge racism, sectarianism and violence; who has supported inter-cultural relations and has actively promoted conflict transformation.

“Fr. Gary Donegan was a shining example of an exceptional community relations practitioner and it was with great pleasure that we recognised his dedicated, and often courageous contribution, to building a shared society. I am confident that this year’s search will be equally successful and would urge everyone working in this area to submit their nominations before 31st January.”

Upon receiving his award, Fr. Donegan remarked that he was “deeply honoured” to be acknowledged by the Community Relations Council.

“The time I spent ministering in North Belfast remains one of the most challenging yet deeply enriching periods of my vocation to date. I am deeply honoured that the Community Relations Council has formally recognised all that was achieved during this time and am encouraged to help further sustain community relations work in this area.”

Nominations can be made until 12 noon on 31 January 2018. For more information on how to complete your nomination, visit https://www.community-relations.org.uk/

Please note that the Award is given to an individual, or exceptionally two individuals acting in partnership, rather than to a group. 

The nominee must be still living in order to receive the trophy in person.  Previous winners have been Eamonn  Deane, Derrick Wilson, Anne Carr, Renee Crawford and Jean Brown, Dr David Stevens, Mary Kelly, Rab McCallum and Michael Acheson, Chris O’Halloran, Maureen Hetherington, Paul McCrory and Fr Gary Donegan.

Nominations can be made by completing a form online and returning to CRC by 12 noon on 31 January 2018. No self-nominations are permitted.  

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