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’re presenting a profile of the winners who stood out in making a big difference to the lives of others.

Gerry Fay – Lifetime Volunteer Category

Gerry Fay insists that he has no idea why he’s been nominated for a Good Citizen award, when asked he replies ‘’Your guess is as good as mine’’. A man with strong opinions and passionate beliefs, Gerry is modest to the core when it comes to taking any credit for his achievements. The facts however, tell a different story. For the past three decades, as Chairman of the North Wall Community Association, local shopkeeper Gerry has been working tirelessly on behalf of the locals in one of the inner city’s most historic areas.

Gerry Fay with an tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh* and Councillor Mary Freehill

Gerry Fay with former Lord Mayor Críona Ní Dhálaigh and Councillor Mary Freehill

Gerry first got involved in community activism back in 1986. “The government of the day introduced the Urban Renewal Act, which led to the building of the Financial Services Centre,” he remembers. “What you had at the time over in Sheriff Street, across the road, was 18 blocks of flats, 570 odd housing units’, and then suddenly “you had was the most disadvantaged part of irish society living alongside the most advantaged”. The suits all came down and told us that this was going to be wonderful, that it would revitalize the area, that we were all in this together. We thought that we’d won the Lotto. But things didn’t exactly turn out that way.”

Over the years since, Gerry has been a fierce advocate for the rights of the North Wall’s residents, often in the face of economic hardship, while helping to organize any number of popular community projects and events. “We’re a close integrated community,” he says. “We put up a fight when they tried to move us out to the suburbs thirty years ago, and we’re still here, putting up a fight today.”

Gerry won the Dublin City Good Citizen Award in the Lifetime Volunteer Category. This category recognises individuals whose contributions to their communities is measured not in months or years but in decades of service, dedication.

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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Good Citizen #8: Eileen Adams

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.

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