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25 Jan 2022

Offaly teenagers honoured at Laois Offaly Garda Youth Awards

Tullamore Garda District Award winner James Saunders pictured with family, receving his award from John Scanlon, Chief Superintendent Garda Division and Mr. Pat McDonagh, CEO Supermac's.

Tullamore Garda District Award winner James Saunders pictured with family, receving his award from John Scanlon, Chief Superintendent Garda Division and Mr. Pat McDonagh, CEO Supermac's.

Outstanding achievements by young people in Laois and Offaly were celebrated in Portlaoise last weekend at the Laois Offaly Garda Youth Awards.

The Offaly winners were Grainne Malone in the Birr District and James Saunders in the Tullamore District.

The third Laois Offaly Garda Youth Awards ceremony took place on Saturday, November 6 at the Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise. Supermac’s supports the event.

Apart from the award winners and their families, the event was attended by Laois Offaly Garda Superintendent John Scanlon, Supermac’s CEO Pat McDonagh, and Laois GAA player Ross Munnelly. Laois Offaly Garda Inspector Ollie Baker was master of ceremonies at the event.

Grainne Malone is a Birr District Award winner who was nominated by her teacher Kathleen Gleeson of Banagher College.
Grainne’s teacher describes her as hard working, responsible and mature beyond her years. When Grainne was in Transition Year she organised weekly visits to the local nursing home for a group of her peers. Both students and residents thoroughly enjoyed and gained from this experience.

Grainne excelled as Chairperson of the student council. She organised a World Down Syndrome day fundraiser which is now an annual school event.

She is devoted to the planet and was a key member of the Green School committee. She worked with an Athlone firm to create a product to reduce waste in the school. She also represented Offaly in the National Youth Assembly in Climate change. She has also worked with the organisation Afri and was asked to speak at their virtual famine talk about Climate Change.
Grainne, through her work with Comhairle na nOg, helped produce a video on exam stress. She also worked on the National Executive on a Gender Equality and Women’s Rights policy to be adopted by Offaly County Council.

Grainne has done many other things which show her work ethic but her greatest gift is her goodness, caring nature and moral compass. Grainne enriches people’s lives.

Grainne is studying BioMedical Science in college in America. Her sister Aislish Malone was present to receive the award on her behalf. 

Ailis Malone receiving the award on behalf of her sister Grainne presented by John Scanlon, Chief Super-intendant Garda Division and Mr. Pat McDonagh, C.E.O Supermac's. Also pictured are other members of the Malone family with and Laois GAA player Ross Munnelly. Picture Denis Byrne

James Saunders, is the Tullamore Garda District Special Achievement Award winner who was nominated by Ann McNamara, a teacher at Tullamore College. In 2019 James was involved in a terrible traffic accident which resulted in life changing injuries.

From just outside Killeigh, James spent nine months in Temple Street Hospital followed by three months at the National Rehabilitation Centre.

James is a truly inspirational young man, he has taught both staff and students in his school community how a person can triumph over adversity through hard work, sheer determination and a positive attitude. James is a person who is always in good humour, he is well known for his quick wit and loves to make a joke to lighten a conversation. His positivity is infectious.
James is a hard-working and intelligent student, he is always quick to lead class discussions and voice his opinion on any academic topic or subject. He shows leadership skills beyond his years and a spirit which is impossible to defeat or subdue.
James is an exceptional young hero. He has true courage, his fighting spirit has shown us that nothing is impossible when we have the courage and determination to face our challenges head on. James is inspired by Mohammed Ali’s quote: “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it - then I can achieve it.”

His indomitable spirit is an inspiration to his teachers and his fellow students. In school James likes to be known as James (as in Bond) and his assistant is now known as Miss Moneypenny.

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