Super proud to be from Tallaght
By Mary Dennehy
RAISING awareness around individual and collective community power in protecting both the local and global environment is a key focus for the new Tallaght Person of the Year, Gar Tyrrell.
Growing up in Old Bawn, Gar, who now lives in Springfield, was last Friday named Tallaght Person of the Year 2018 in an awards ceremony staged by Tallaght Community Council in the Red Cow Moran Hotel.
Tallaght Person of the Year Gar Tyrrell with actor Emmet Kirwan
On the night, more than 150 nominees were recognised across eight categories for their volunteerism, activism and care-giving at grass roots level – and their responsiveness and DIY-approach to challenges faced.
As always, the awards ceremony was a snapshot of the vibrant, progressive and resilient Tallaght community – which has, since the first families moved here in the late sixties, grown into a community developed and driven by its people.
From sports to special needs, arts to business and social issues to education, all aspects of life, both rural and urban, were represented – a reminder of the diversity that exists in our dynamic and ever-growing hometown.
Speaking with The Echo after the event, Gar Tyrrell, who is a former IT Tallaght student, said: “I’m feeling very humbled and honoured to have been named Tallaght Person of the Year.
“I’m so aware of all of the people who have went before me [as Tallaght Person of the Year] and I’m very inspired by them, and very inspired by all of the people that were at the awards ceremony last Friday.
“I’m super proud to be from Tallaght, and I’ve always tried to fly the flag despite negative perceptions.”
Gar, who is a volunteer ranger with the Dublin Mountain Partnership, works as an education officer with An Taisce’s Climate Ambassador Programme.
He is also known to don a cape as Captain Climate and most recently challenged Carbon Cowboy in an online video to highlight the small, daily changes that can be made to support the environment.
“I hope over the course of my term as Tallaght Person that I can help to empower people to connect, enjoy and protect their environment,” Gar said.
“I’ll also be linking into the work I do [with An Taisce], which has an awareness of all age groups.”
Gar touched on the impact local clean-ups have not only on our environment here in Tallaght, but, for example, on our oceans, as tonnes of plastic on route to the sea via local streams and rivers were litter picked by volunteers and communities.
“Climate change awareness underlies a lot of the stuff that I do,” he said.
“It’s about empowering people to see that while climate change is a global issue, it can be addressed by taking local action.
“The individual can make a difference, and Tallaght Person of the Year last Friday was an example of that.
“There were lots of individuals present that connect the rest of the community together.
“Individual-level awareness and responsibility is so important, and then together we can make change.”
Gar hopes to start connecting with the local community and has invited any groups, schools or individuals who have ideas for local environmental projects, clean-ups etc. to email him at gary.tyrrell [at] ucdconnect [dot] ie