Local Faces: Shannen Egan

By Hayden Moore

THE Covid-19 pandemic will be remembered for a multitude of challenges and for Shannen Egan, it will be remembered as the time she got the keys for her first home and worked to raise funds for children in crises countries.

Shannen works with UNICEF Ireland, the United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide, as Events Manager for Ireland.

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Raising funds for children in need is at the heart of the job for Shannen Egan, event manager for UNICEF in Ireland

At the heart of what Shannen does is create and manage events as a means to raise funds for children in need around the world, while also operating as Executive Assistant to Director, Peter Power.

The Clondalkin native is at the heart of an urgent appeal for children in Yemen, with some pockets of the country already classified as being in famine.

The appeal comes in light of the intensifying situation in Yemen, which has been drastically affected by war in the past six-years and now the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yemen relies on imports for 80 percent of its food, is in need of lifeline food assistance and malnutrition treatment services for the 325,000 children under five and pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Throughout the pandemic, Shannen has manned the phonelines and door at UNICEF’s head office on Ormond Quay – facilitating those donating funds.

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Even during their own dark times people have been able to look up and around and feel the empathy and this was an inspiration to Shannen Egan

While charitable giving diminished as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Shannen has been moved by the level of generosity people have shown.

“Donors do a lot of the helping and some of what I would do would be facilitating those donors, whose funds would go to helping make a difference around the world.

“So I feel like I’m helping in that way. When I pick up the phone and I’m speaking to one of the donors, it’s always so encouraging and heart-warming.

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“It has been such an inspiration and a motivation to me that even during their own dark times people have been able to look up and around and feel the empathy and show the generosity that Irish people are so well known for. 

“As another year starts, I’m more confident than ever that our spirit has not been diminished, our light has not been dimmed, we are who we always were and that ability to join hands with our sisters and brothers around the world makes us who we are.”

Originally from Clondalkin, Shannen moved to Knocklyon with her family when she was seven-years-old and attended St Colmcille’s before sitting her state examinations in Our Lady’s School in Terenure.

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Shannen Egan

Amidst all of the chaos and uncertainty that came with the health crisis, Shannen found some solidity and a glint of joy when she and her partner Nicky purchased their first home, in Citywest, last year.

“There was quite a bit of uncertainty around it all, we weren’t too sure what was going to happen because of Covid, but it came together thankfully,” she recalls.

“Funnily enough being handed the keys wasn’t the pinnacle moment, it was when we signed the papers in the solicitors and when we signed our lives away to the bank for the next 35 years.

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Shannen Egan

“Seriously though, that was the moment when we really felt that it was happening.

“It’s when you’re sitting in the house on the weekends with a bit of spare time, or in the evenings when we get to properly appreciate it.

“It’s great to have your own space like that.”

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Christmas came with a few firsts for Shannen, while she experienced Christmas in her new home for the first time, she missed spending it with her parents.

“My parents fully moved over to Nerja in Spain in 2016 and usually they’d come home maybe three or four times a year,” she tells The Echo.

“They haven’t been home since last February because of the pandemic, so it’s almost a year since I’ve seen them.

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Shannen Egan

“Since they moved, I’ve spent Christmas over there with them – so it was surreal not sitting on a beach with some tappas on Christmas Day.

“It’s sad we couldn’t be together, but hopefully we can again soon.”

After playing hockey during her school years, Shannen, inspired by the historic silver medal success of Ireland at 2018 Women’s Hockey World Cup, took up the sport again.

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Shannen Egan

Playing as a left back with Our Lady’s Hockey Club, Shannen found some success with the team as they achieved promotion into Division Five of the Leinster Hockey League.

“Seeing what the Irish ladies did at the World Cup has given women across the country something to strive for, showing that you can achieve anything,” Shannen says.

“Absolutely anybody can play it, it’s so accessible and its such a great sport.”

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Shannen Egan

To support UNICEF’s appeal for children in Yemen, you can call Shannen and the team on 01 878 3000 or visit Unicef.

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