The Dublin City Good Citizen Awards ceremony took place in the Mansion House on the 18th May 2016. The awards acknowledge and celebrate the contribution made to Dublin city by countless hidden heroes of everyday life. We are presenting a profile of the winners who stood out in making a big difference to the lives of others.

Eileen Adams – Community & Neighbourhood

I’m Eileen Adams, and I’ve lived in Ballymun around 40­ odd years. I do a lot of voluntary work in the community, and have done since I came here. I’m involved with the youth, I’ve been on the board of the Poppintree Youth Centre since we set it up 20 years ago. It’s all about prevention, we don’t want the kiddies to get into trouble. We have a lovely centre, our own little space, and we cater for over 100 children. I’m also involved in Work4U, which is for people with disabilities, I’ve been with them a long time and feel ­it’s very important. It’s bad enough when you’re able to fight for yourself for a job, but when you have disabilities you need whatever help you can. I also was involved in the setting up of Ballymun Job Centre. I was on the board there for 16 years, and that was fabulous, because it got jobs for people in the area.

As soon as I retired from my paid job, about six years ago, I got more involved in the voluntary sector. I’ve done a couple of women’s mini­ marathons for cancer now, when I say the marathon, we don’t run, we walk. 25 years ago I got breast cancer, and I got the works, the chemo and radiotherapy, all my hair fell out… But I’m alive today. And here I am. I have two boys, ­men, I should say, eight grandchildren, and one great­-grandson, Mason. He’s two years old, and he’s fantastic.

Eileen Adams with an tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh and Councillor Mary Freehill

Eileen Adams with former Lord Mayor Críona Ní Dhálaigh and Councillor Mary Freehill

I’m also involved in Age Action as a member of the policy group. We fight for our rights, and that’s very important. They think we’re all little old people with zimmer frames, and we’re not, ­the majority of us are able to get out there and be independent. We’re not looking for a handout, we just want what we have worked for all those years. I’m also the chairperson for Active Living, we have five groups. We go bowling and walking, and do tai chi, among other things. I’m also involved in the parish council. There’s lots of things going on around here.

I’m kind of a busy bee, part of a team. We don’t draw attention to ourselves, we just get on with it. Why do I do it? Because I love it (laughs). I just love helping people. Now that sounds very clichéd, but I love the satisfaction of a job well done. The results are amazing. You don’t think anything will come of it, but in the end it all works out.

Eileen won the Dublin City Good Citizen Award in the Community and Neighbourhood Category. This category recognises the high level of dedication to those who provide social outlets to people who have a disabilities that can be sometimes overlooked and left out socially.

Good Citizen #5: JP Swaine

I’m JP Swaine, and I’m the co-founder and director of the First Fortnight mental health charity, we run an annual arts festival and an art psychotherapy service. It all came about from me wanting to create a different approach to provoking conversations about mental health. I’m a mental health professional, but also have a family history of mental health problems, and have lost a sibling to suicide. I felt back in 2009, when we started to think about doing the festival, that mental health communication was still in what I call the ‘leaflet’ phase – you might find a couple of leaflets in a hallway, but it wasn’t something that people were actively engaging in, or being provoked to engage with.

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Good Citizen #6: Pat Hooper

My name is Pat Hooper and I’m a retired insurance manager, I’m also a former Olympic athlete and Irish marathon champion (NB: Pat represented Ireland in the 1980 Moscow Olympics). For my whole life, I’ve been involved in Raheny Shamrock Athletic Club both as an athlete and a coaching official. I’m also the treasurer - they’re in the process of building a new club house. I’m also involved in a few other local charities. I suppose one of my best­known achievements is that I’m the founder and race director of the Axa Raheny 5 Mile Road Race, which is the biggest sporting event held in the Raheny area - last year it attracted over 4,000 competitors.

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Good Citizen #7: Sandra Dillon

I’m Sandra Dillon, from Glasnevin, and I’m a mother of three children. I volunteer in mental health - I’m with the Suicide Support and Prevention Network, I’m a Sea Change ambassador, and I’m involved in helping children with special needs. My own son Nicholas has Asperger's Syndrome. He’s an amazing guy. We put the teenagers forward for nominations first, they don’t get any recognition. One of the parents said ‘We’re going to put you forward as well…’ and I said ‘No, please don’t…’ I can only presume they went forward and did anyway (laughs). They’re very kind. They don’t know how much they support me, as well. We’re all on the same journey. I’m honoured. And very humbled. Nicholas was nominated too - to be honest, I’d love to see him win.

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