Ian O’Connell among those honoured at the Lee Strand/Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Awards

L/R : Garda Aidan O'Mahony and Garda Leann Haussmann from Tralee Garda Station with Saoirse Casey , Dale O'Carroll ( Dale was the 2017 overall winner ) and Miriam Hanlon who were some of last years Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Award winners .

Ian O’Connell from Killarney was one of those honoured last evening at the Lee Strand/Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Awards 2018.

Over 250 people from across the county attended the event, to acknowledge the volunteering endeavours and achievements of young people from Kerry, aged between 13 and 21.

Twenty Merit Awards, a Group Award, a Special Achievement Award, a Community Safety Award and the Overall Winner Award were presented last night.

The Group Award was presented to the Sporting Chance Programme – National Learning Network, while the Special Achievement Award was presented to Ciarán Sears from Tralee.

The Community Safety Award went to Kevin Lenihan, Eamon Nolan and James McDonnell from Castleisland Community College.

The Lee Strand/Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Awards Overall Winner was 17-year-old Ian O’Connell from Killarney, who was described as an outstanding individual, an inspiration to all and a true real-life hero.

When Ian was 16 years old, he became paralysed from the neck down after falling off his bike in the Killarney National Park; his motto “If I can’t stand up, I will stand out” has made him a national hero for his positive attitude to life.

Finally, 20 Merit Award Certificates were presented to individuals who have made a positive contribution to their community and make it a better place to live.

Lee Strand Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Awards 2018

Overall Winner

Ian O’Connell, Killarney


Group Award

Sporting Chance Programme – National Learning Network


Special Achievement Award

Ciarán Sears, Tralee


Community Safety Award

Kevin Lenihan, Eamon Nolan & James McDonnell, Castleisland Community College.


Merit Award Winners 2018

Alannah Blennerhassett, Tralee

Oisín Bolt, Killorglin

Ian Coleman Horgan, Killorglin

Zara Daly, Kilcummin

Nathan Egan, Castleisland

Con Enright, Currow Village

Ava Fitzmaurice, Castleisland

Edmond Healy, Duagh

Ellen Hickey, Killarney

Alexandra Kelly, Tralee

Caoimhe Lynch, Beaufort

Ciarán MacGearailt, Baile ‘n Fheirtéaraigh

Cathal McLoughlin, Tralee

Ruth O’Connell, Tralee

Michaela O’Donoghue, Ballymacelligott

Jude Pierse, Ballyduff

Weronika Slomiany, Killarney

Melanie Smith, Blennerville

Rebecca Thompson, Caherciveen

Donald Walsh, Tralee