Learning and Innovation category added to awards

By Aideen O'Flaherty

EXCITEMENT is building for this year’s annual Tallaght Person of the Year Awards, with the inclusion of a new award category, Learning and Innovation, ensuring that all aspects of Tallaght life will be recognised at the glittering awards ceremony in the Red Cow Moran Hotel on Saturday, November 16.

Over 180 people have been nominated across the awards’ nine categories, which include Arts and Culture, Business, the Sgt Andrew Callinan Community Award, the Michael Dooley Environment Award, Heart of Gold, Special Needs and Carers, the Philip Preston Sport Award, and the Maurice McConnell Youth Award.

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(from left) Helena Doody (Head of Humanities TU Dublin – Tallaght Campus), Liz Kennedy (chairperson of TCC, holding the new award), and artist Mervyn Ennis

On the night of the ceremony, which is run by Tallaght Community Council (TCC) and will feature Youth Olympic double gold medallist Rhasidat Adeleke as special guest, the winner of each award category will be announced. One of the nine award winners will then be crowned Tallaght Person of the Year 2019.

The Learning and Innovation category is a new addition this year, and was established to recognise the important role that education and learning plays in Tallaght life.

Helena Doody, the Head of Humanities of TU Dublin-Tallaght Campus, who came up with the idea for a new category after last year’s awards, told The Echo: “I am delighted with the new category, it is vital that excellence in learning and innovation is acknowledged and recognised.

“Learning and innovation is fundamental to development and growth. It is also directly related to reducing income inequality.

 “Mervin has created an amazing trophy to mark this new award category. It is a beautiful piece of work. Mervin has incorporated many Irish and local symbols into the trophy ” 

While the Learning and Innovation Award is keenly focused on the future, the award itself harks back to Tallaght’s rich historical past – with the eventual winner being awarded a unique woodcarving created by artist Mevyn Ennis, who grew up in Tallaght and now lives in Saggart.

The ornate woodcarving came about after Liz Kennedy, voluntary chairperson of TCC and The Echo’s production manager, asked Mervyn if he’d be interested in creating a woodcarving for the award, and the talented and experienced artist jumped at the chance.

Mervyn, who has pieces on display in St Mary’s National School, Saggart, and the Cedar Room at Arbour Hill Church, told The Echo: “The woodcarving is on a piece of bog oak – when an oak tree falls, it self-lubricates and protects itself and become jet black and as hard as coal.

“That piece of wood could be 3,000 or 4,000 years old, and it reaches into the past.

“I carved images from the history of Tallaght into it. I wanted to do a piece that encompassed the history of Tallaght.”

The piece features carvings that recognise the Dominicans’ longstanding presence in the area, a Celtic cross, and a symbol in reference to the Partholonians – who are considered the earliest invaders of Ireland, and who were wiped out by the plague and buried in Tallaght.

Mervyn added: “There’s also an eagle and some birds, and that’s meant to represent ideas taking flight and soaring.

“What I’ve tried to build into it is embracing the diversity of Tallaght, but also being grounded in our roots.”

For further details about Tallaght Person of the Year, visit www.tallaghtpersonawards.ie.

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