Volunteer Noelle crowned Ireland’s community hero

NOELLE Fitzsimons, who has spent over three decades supporting victims of crime in Tallaght District Court, was recently crowned Ireland’s Community Hero 2020 at the annual Charity Impact Awards.

Ms Fitzsimons’s path to volunteering to support victims of crime began in the 1990s, when her local parish priest asked her to help a victim of crime by chatting to them and then accompanying them to court.

Noelle Fitzsimons 1

Noelle Fitzsimons

She then volunteered with Volunteer Support Ireland and continued supporting victims of all types of crime in the unfamiliar, and sometimes intimidating, setting of a courtroom, before becoming a founding member of Victim Support at Court (V-SAC) in 2005.

Ms Fitzsimons is a familiar and friendly face to many in Tallaght District Court, and she is respected by the judges presiding over proceedings, An Garda Síochána, legal professionals and other support agencies.

In 2019, Ms Fitzsimons volunteered 163 days in court supporting victims of serious crimes like domestic violence, assault, burglary and sexual assault.

In recognition of her longstanding commitment to her local community and to supporting victims of crime, Ms Fitzsimmons was crowned Ireland’s Community Hero 2020, with the award being presented by the national association of charities, The Wheel.

Accepting the award, Ms Fitzsimons said: “Over the years, I’ve met so many people in difficult circumstances, but at the end of the day we are all human beings. I’ve learned so much from all of them.”

Deirdre Garvey, CEO of The Wheel, said: “Noelle exemplifies what it means to be an active citizen.

She reminds us of the positive difference one person can make in the lives of many.”

The award was presented during the online Charity Impact Awards ceremony in early December, which over 150 people were nominated for this year.

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