MONDAY evening saw the launch of the fourth annual Garda Youth Achievment Awards.
The launch was attended by members of an Garda Siochana, Mayor Tom MacSharry, Cllr Seamus Kilgannon and staff of the Sligo branch of the Credit Union which are the main sponsor of the awards.
Chief Superintendent, Michael Clancy spoke of the importance of the awards to young people who too often are brought to gardaí’s attention for the wrong reasons.
“Too often the Gardai meet young people when they get into trouble. Research shows that young people are the highest risk group in the community in terms of being in danger of harm,” he said.
The Superintendent also talked of the need to recognise the achievements of our youth.
“Because of this, there sometimes tends to be a negative focus which highlights young people for the wrong reasons. Sporting, academic and heroic achievements by young people are already and rightly recognised
“We feel that the Youth Achievement Awards provide contribute to an opportunity to reward the positive contribution young people can make to our society,” he said.
Sergeant Philip Maree, who is one of the organisers has encouraged people to put youths (aged between 12-19) forward for an award.
“It can be something very simple. Often people think it has to be something huge which is not the case. It is the simple everyday things as well as the larger things that are all worth doing,” he said.
Mayor Tom MacSharry, himself a solictor, said: “In my other career I know how vital youth work is. [The awards] shows the great work and potential of the youth in Sligo,” he said.
There was also praise for Garda Charlie Jordan who was instrumental in the formation of the awards over it’s four year existence.
The closing date for aplications to the awards is on March 6. Applications can be sent to the Sligo Town Garda Station via post or email. The main awards night is due to take place in the Glasshouse Hotel on March 30.