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'They reflect all that is good about our society': These are Ireland's People of the Year

Last night’s ceremony celebrated the country’s everyday heroes.

THE PEOPLE OF the Year Awards celebrate heroic individuals and groups from across all walks of Irish life.

The ceremony took place last night in Dublin’s Radisson Blu St Helen’s Hotel and was broadcast live on RTÉ.

The awards are organised by Rehab Ireland and are now in their 41st year, with the public nominating who they feel is deserving of recognition.

Speaking about the awards, Mo Flynn, chief executive of Rehab said:

With nominations for each winner coming from the people of Ireland, these truly are the ‘People’s Awards’ and reflect all that is good about our society.

Who were the winners?

Ade Stack and Martin Curley

This pair received their award for establishing Hugh’s House.

It is a facility that offers a place to stay for people travelling to Dublin to attend Temple Street Children’s Hospital and the Rotunda Hospital. The pair donated their six-bedroom house following the death of their son Hugh at the age of 6 months.

Families are able to stay at the house free of charge while their children are in hospital.

POTY Ade Stack & Marty Curley Ade Stack and Marty Curley Source: Robbie Reynolds

Paul O’Connell

Stepping out of the international rugby limelight this year, Paul O’Connell was awarded the Sports Person of the Year prize for his achievements. Unable to attend on the night, the award was collected by his father Mick.

POTY Awards Live shots 16 Mick O'Connell collecting an award on behalf of his son Paul Source: Robbie Reynolds

John Evoy

John received his prize for his work with the Men’s Sheds movement.

Founder of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association, he has worked to create spaces where men are able to come together and work on projects at their own pace and in their own time – with a focus on advancing the health and well-being of the men involved.

POTY John Evoy 1 John Evoy Source: Robbie Reynolds

Aoibheann Mangan and Padraic Godwin

These two were the joint winners of the Young Person of the Year Award.

Together they created a farm safety website for children: FarmSafety4Kids.net. 

The pair created the website as part of an English project, feeling that children needed farm safety messages that were aimed directly at them and not adults.

POTY Award winner 2 Aoibheann Mangan and Padraic Godwin, winners of the Young Person of the Year Award Source: ROBBIE REYNOLDS PHOTOGRAPHY

Fadhila Hajji

This teenager from Tallaght was awarded this year for establishing Diverse City FC, a football team for Muslim girls that allows them to wear their hijab if they wish.

Hajji, who has always been interested in football, started the team after coming up against opposition to her hijab after a ban was put on them by FIFA in 2007. This ban was lifted last year.

POTY Award winner 4 Fadhila Hajji receiving her award from footballer Stephanie Roche Source: ROBBIE REYNOLDS PHOTOGRAPHY

YES Equality

Named as the Community Group of the Year, it has been recognised for its contribution to the global advancement for the recognition of the rights of gay and lesbian couples.

POTY YES Equality Community Group 1 Grainne Healy, Brian Sheehan and Deirdre Duffy from Yes Equality Source: Robbie Reynolds

Óglaigh na hÉireann 

The group has been recognised with a People of the Year award for the work of the Irish Naval Service.

This year the service has saved thousands of lives in the Mediterranean, rescuing those attempting to make their way into Europe on unsafe crafts.

POTY Irish Naval Service 2 Cpl Conor Kilbride, Able Comm Op Shauna Fero, Chief ERA Rory De Barra and Lt Elaine Maloney Source: Robbie Reynolds

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