Talents honoured in Leixlip awards

A top soccer player and a leading personality in Ireland’s fashion world were amongst sixteen people or groups honoured at the 2013 Leixlip Town Council Civic Awards ceremony.

A top soccer player and a leading personality in Ireland’s fashion world were amongst sixteen people or groups honoured at the 2013 Leixlip Town Council Civic Awards ceremony.

Arsenal soccer player, Emma Byrne, and Assets model agency owner, Derek Daniels were among those honoured.

The unassuming Ms. Byrne, who was late making it back from London to receive her prize, has captained the Republic of Ireland soccer team and won numerous honours with Arsenal.

Town Council chairman, Colm Purcell, presented the award winners with their prizes on a night which looks like it will be the second last Town Council awards ceremony, due to the abolition of the Council next year.

Tom Malone, one of most famous and best known citizens, received a much deserved award and paid special tribute to his late father, Ned, who was associated with some much in Leixlip life. “We couldn’t keep up with him.

“He did a lot more than I did,” said Tom, who said it was “a great honour” to get the award.

Lorraine O’Sullivan, who runs the Youthreach project in Leixlip, was recognised for her managerial role on the scheme. She said many who did the programme are now running their own business. Of the many participants she said: “They have taught me so much. I hope I have helped them.”

Sports mad nine year old Art McLaughlin, from North Kildare Educate Together school, who was a quarter finalist in the National Junior table tennis championship and winner of the Player’s Player of the Year Award with Leixlip Utd in 2012 was presented with the Finbarr Kelly Memorial medal by Mary Kelly in the Young Person category. “I don’t know when he eats,” said Cllr. Purcell after reading out his training scheduled, including stints with Leixlip Table Tennis Club, Club Donic, Lucan, Confey GAA and school athletics.

Leixlip Amenities Centre’s manager, Paul Condron was delighted to acccept the award in the Business Category. The publicly supported sports facility is to rename itself as the North Kildare Sports Campus and retains an ambition to host the north Kildare regional swimming pool.

The 26 person Leixlip Special Olympics club, which has gone from strength to strength since being formed in 20003 with great help from 8 coaches and 11 volunteers got the joint Sporting Award with Emma Byrne.

Leixlip’s capacity for neighbours to help each other out in good times and bad was captured in the naming of eight people well known for their aid to others: Rita Larkin, Barbara Keogh, Rachel Cahill, and sisters, Mary McHugh, Theresa Ellis, Carmel O’Leary and Valerie Malone. Poignantly, the late Tom O’Reilly, who died recently, was also honoured in this category for his work with Confey GAA and River Forest Residents Association.

Dr. Declan Dooge received a Town Council crest for his expert work on the highlighting and maintenance of the Leixlip Spa area, which has some of the most unique plant life in Europe

- Henry Bauress