National Volunteer Awards

Local South Dublin Volunteers to Be Honoured At National Awards Ceremony

South County Dublin Volunteer Centre is delighted to announce the shortlist for the twelfth annual Volunteer Ireland Awards. Over 1 million people in Ireland volunteer and these awards aim to celebrate the hard work and dedication of volunteers across the country.

Aged 10 to 80 from sixteen counties, this year’s shortlist is a showcase of the breadth and depth of volunteering in Ireland. From mental health to sport to homelessness, volunteers have an invaluable impact on communities across Ireland every day. South Dublin County locals Johnny Fox, Liz Collins and Paddy Mills have all made the final shortlist.

Johnny Fox

Johnny Fox sadly lost his son to suicide a number of years ago. Johnny was determined to make a difference in the lives of others in need. Along with his wife Gertie, he formed part of the committee that organised the first ever Darkness into Light walk with Pieta House. Although Johnny is almost 80, he is still there every year from the night before setting up and until the very last person crosses the line, clapping them on and giving them encouragement. Johnny has also raised thousands of euro for Pieta House over the years.

Liz Collins

Liz Collins’ daughter Claudia was born 15 years ago with a rare genetic skin disease called Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). EB is an incurable skin blistering condition that affects all of the body, inside and out. It is often described as ‘butterfly skin’ because skin blisters at the slightest touch requiring Claudia to be bandaged from head to toe as a protection from everyday life. For 15 years Liz has had to subject Claudia to an excruciating routine of dressings changes.

While dealing with all of this, Liz has been a dedicated volunteer with DEBRA Ireland. DEBRA’s fundraising has more than doubled in the past 5 years and that is in no small part due to Liz attending media interviews and even corporate presentations with the charity.

Paddy Mills

Paddy Mills paved a way for Solas Project to be granted acceptance into Wheatfield prison where Solas Project work with young men from 17 – 24 years, due to his wealth of experience in this area. He is always ready and waiting at the prison for Solas Project staff, he shows up week after week and can be called on in times of emergencies. He finds the time to make each young person feel listened to and respected. He is always a great support for Solas Project staff who are working in the prison which can be a hostile environment.

Paddy goes above and beyond for the young people. He has set up interviews for courses and jobs for the young people upon release. He attends court with them. He listens to them when nobody else is willing to. And with his great sense of humour he can make the dullest day seem bright.

According to South County Dublin Volunteer Centre Manager Tricia Nolan “I’d like to congratulate all three nominees for being shortlisted in this year’s Volunteer Ireland Awards. Each year I am blown away by the breadth and diversity of volunteering across Ireland. So many people go above and beyond because they care and they want to make a difference. These awards are a chance not just to say thank you to these extraordinary people but also to share their stories and shine a light on the extraordinary work that goes on in communities across Ireland every day.”

This year the Volunteer Ireland Awards have partnered with the Department of Rural and Community Development and Healthy Ireland, who both share an ethos of volunteering contributing to healthy, vibrant communities.

Minister Seán Canney, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development said “I am delighted that, through my Department, the Government actively encourages and supports the valuable contribution volunteers make to our society. Without their selfless contribution of time and energy, much of what we take for granted in terms of our society would not happen. Volunteers make a significant impact across many areas of society, including raising awareness of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Without active volunteers, communities cannot flourish.”

According to Kate O’Flaherty, Head of Health and Wellbeing, Department of Health, “Volunteering has a critical part to play in supporting healthy, sustainable communities. Not only for the positive impact on the health and wellbeing of volunteers themselves but for the impact their collective contribution has on our communities. We are delighted to partner with the Volunteer Ireland Awards again this year and are particularly pleased to see so many nominees in the health and wellbeing space.”

The twelfth Volunteer Ireland Awards take place on Friday 6th December in the Carlton Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15. Shortlisted nominess along with their family and friends will be treated to a night of celebration where announce the winners in each category will be announced and Ireland’s Volunteer of the Year for 2019 will be named.


For more information contact

Amy Woods, Communications and Advocacy Manager – / 01 636 9446 / 085 717 9261.

Or Tricia Nolan, manager South Dublin County Volunteer Centre 01 4628558, 087 2658472