Local Faces: Daire Hennessy

By Hayden Moore

TALLAGHT has had a strong community for decades, and the passion for community is something that is still coming through in the younger generations.

Tallaght native Daire Hennessy continues to inspire young people to be the best versions of themselves through his work with Citywise Education.

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Daire Hennessy

Whether it be through their clubs and leadership, STEM or fast -track academy programmes, Citywise Education creates a clear pathway for young people - and Daire is a living example of it in action.

Making education more accessible and easier to engage with is the focal point for Citywise, but with the temptations of anti-social behaviour for youths, the Jobstown centre puts massive emphasis on character building too.

“I suppose Citywise has a couple different roles in the community,” explains Daire, who joined Citywise when he was just eight-years-old.

“Firstly, it encourages and supports people to take responsibility for their education.

“It works because people from all over Tallaght come in to play a bit of football or to do robotics say.

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Daire Hennessy inspires young people to be the best versions of themselves

“I always say that Citywise tricked me into learning because that’s what I did, I was just coming here to play some football and there was always a role model in every room.

“They would take an interest in you and your education, so it would get you thinking more about school over time.

“And then, it makes people feel responsible for Tallaght, and their own communities.

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Daire Hennessy

“You always felt like the people in Citywise are doing it for you, you’d be walking by Citywise on a Friday night with your friends and you’d see the light still on in John Keogh’s office - still working away.

“It helps you learn yourself and you see other people go on and figure things out, Citywise supports you along the way whether it be with your CAO or just general information.

“In Citywise they build people’s aspirations, to help you believe that you can do it, so that you can go and turn those aspirations into something.”

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Daire Hennessy

Daire joined Citywise when he was a young boy and progressed through their different programmes - becoming a leader, chair of the youth steering committee, and teacher of extra classes.

All throughout his teenage years, Daire volunteered at Citywise and in January 2019 was offered a job with the educational charity as the Education and Fundraising Officer.

“I was delighted because I would have been here volunteering in anyways,” he tells The Echo.

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Daire Hennessy

“I absolutely love Citywise and I was volunteering here, I would be still volunteering here if I didn’t start working here because I just love the place.

“It is a massive privilege to work here.”

Role models and the importance of role models is something that Daire brings up a lot, with Citywise CEO Jonathon Doyle and CFO John Keogh serving as big inspirations for him.

Daire’s passion for his community does not only come from Citywise however, with his parents and grandmother all involved in community activism in some form through the years.

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Daire Hennessy

Aside from dedicating much of his time to Citywise, he has given back to his community in other ways as an ambassador for GOAL and the Trinity Access Programme (TAP).

Daire recently embarked on a two-year master’s degree, which he does part-time to accommodate his work in Citywise, after graduating from Trinity College with a joint honour’s undergraduate degree in economics and politics.

“I went [to college] through the HEAR scheme and as an ambassador with TAP, we would go out to schools and talk to them about the college experience, then a school would send a group of students into the college and we’d give a campus tour,” explains Daire.

“If you see somebody going to college from a similar background to you, you’re more willing to follow that path.

“That’s the big thing that I felt with the leadership programmes in Citywise, you’re doing the Leaving Cert and you’re always looking up to somebody who is only one or two steps ahead of you - and you can talk to them.

“There is somebody always there encouraging you, so when I ended up going to Trinity, I never really felt like I didn’t fit in.

“I’m really proud to be from Tallaght, I think we have a really strong community and we look out for one another which in turn makes the community even stronger.

“If the community can grow stronger then I think we’ll be all the better for it.

“I’d love to see Citywise growing into different communities and have more people know about Citywise because from people coming here, you can see the impact that it has had.

“From going to Citywise, it can help people and communities reach their full potential through their support and programmes.”

Daire has evolved into a role model for young people in his community, and his drive to see young people reaching their potential is evident in just one conversation.

At 22, the young man has given back to his community in spades already and, with his passion for community mentoring and the non-profit sector, he insists that he will be doing his part for his community for years to come.

With the Tallaght Person of the Year 2020 Awards ceremony cancelled, members of the community can still recognise their unsung heroes through a Certificate of Appreciation.

Amy Keatinge, who picked up the Youth Award in 2019, recently presented Daire with a Certificate of Appreciation for his ongoing efforts to better his community.

Daire has community in his heart, and always puts the praise on collective efforts saying that he was “surprised at first because there are hundreds of young people doing loads of deadly things in Tallaght” before saying he was “delighted to get that sort recognition, especially from somebody like Amy”.

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