The Person of the Year Awards push the positive side of local life

By Mary Dennehy

AS HE prepares to hand over the Tallaght Person of the Year chains, Gar Tyrrell looks back on what was a “phenomenal” year.

Growing up in Old Bawn, Gar, who now lives in Springfield, told The Echo last year that he hoped to “empower people to connect, enjoy and protect” their environment during his Tallaght Person term.

2018 TPOY 71 compressor

Tallaght Person of the Year 2018 Gar Tyrrell

Some 12 months down the line and Gar has achieved this goal, mainly through the creation of Tallaght Tidy Towns, with support from Tallaght Community Council, Litter Mugs, Dodder Action, Dodder Valley Litter Mugs and Green Campus TU Dublin–Tallaght.

“Tidy Towns is primarily a vehicle for engaging with the community”, Gar said.

“People can engage with clean-ups but it will also provide an avenue for working with businesses in the area.

“Tidy Towns is much more than just clean-ups and we will be working with businesses on the elimination of single-use plastic locally, for example.

“Also, we are doing talks on climate change locally and looking at pollinator plans and bio-diversity.”

Education and engagement is key for Gar, who witnessed over the course of the year how interested local people are in learning about their environment – and how to protect it on both a local and global scale.

“The year has been phenomenal”, Gar said.

“It was amazing to see how aware the public are of climate change and how much people want to engage in initiatives and projects [that support their local environment].

“It’s all about dropping the seeds and people connecting the dots themselves.

“It’s been brilliant, even seeing people sharing information on their own Facebook pages, watching the ripple effect . . . the culture shift.”

It’s been a busy year for Gar who works as an education officer with An Taisce’s Climate Ambassador Programme – and is also known to don a cape as Captain Climate.

“I’m really excited about Saturday night and can’t wait to see who the next Tallaght Person of the Year will be,” Gar said.

“The awards are excellent in recognising all of the good stuff that happens in Tallaght.

“Tallaght can at times be used as a punching bag . . . but these awards push the positive side of local life.

 “Hearing all of the personal stories [on the night] of those nominated is so powerful.

“People are not doing community work for an award, they are doing it for the greater good . . . but it’s nice to get a nomination.

“The networking that goes on between local people and groups on the night is also amazing, locals meeting and sharing, supporting and inspiring.”

He added: “Tallaght Person of the Year and Tallafest [both organised by Tallaght Community Council] are important cornerstones of the community.

“It has to be said that Tallaght Community Council are absolute stalwarts and are quite humble about everything that they do.”

The Tallaght Person of the Year awards will take place in the Red Cow Moran Hotel this Saturday, November 16.

For further details email www.tallaghtpersonawards.ie.

Visit Tallaght Tidy Towns on Facebook if interested in being part of the local movement.

Follow the TPOY online

Don’t forget to follow The Echo on Twitter (@The EchoOnline) for live coverage of the Tallaght Person of the Year Awards 2019!

We’ll be keeping you up-to-date from 7.30pm.

Check out next Thursday’s paper for full coverage

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