17 September 2020
Inspirational Local Peacemaker Receives Good Relations Award 2020
Highlighting exceptional peacebuilding achievement throughout Northern Ireland
An inspirational local peacemaker received the Good Relations Award 2020 at an online ceremony on Wednesday 16 September. For his tireless work with Youth Link since 1991, the overall winner was Paddy White.
The ceremony, held by the NI Community Relations Council (CRC), recognised 16 good relations champions, the largest number nominated in a single year since the Award’s inception in 2006.
The Good Relations Award highlights exceptional achievement throughout Northern Ireland in promoting community relations, intercultural work, and peacebuilding.
Michael McGinley of The Executive Office highlighted Paddy’s significant work to date:
As the Director of Youth Link, Paddy has devoted a significant part of his life to community relations and intercultural work across Northern Ireland and the border regions.
“I am delighted and honoured to receive this Award. I see it very much as a recognition of all that Youth Link: NI has accomplished over almost three decades,” Paddy said. “Peace building, reconciliation and good relations have always been at the heart of Youth Link’s strategy and programme. As an inter-church agency we have been in the frontline of such activity not only as Churches working together but with a range of organisations across the sector who improve relationships and work for the well-being of young people.”
The Good Relations Award ceremony was hosted by Nisha Tandon OBE, director of ArtsEkta and board member of the Community Relations Council.
Nisha said: “The Community Relations Council held its first ever online Good Relations Award today. It’s clear from the large number of nominees that peacebuilding, community and good relations is thriving within local communities throughout Northern Ireland. Their work promotes trust and interdependence, challenges sectarianism, racism and violence, and supports inter-cultural relations within our increasingly diverse society.”
Also speaking at the event, Jacqueline Irwin, CEO of the Community Relations Council, said:
“With our annual Good Relations Award the Community Relations Council is committed to highlighting excellence and outstanding commitment to peacebuilding in Northern Ireland.
“CRC is proud to acknowledge and celebrate the huge effort undertaken to create a more peaceful and reconciled society. In particular, we celebrate the determination of people working within and across our community for peace and good relations.
“It’s important to recognise the efforts of those amazing people who are working at grassroots, the tireless often unsung champions who make a real difference in the local community every single day, even during the Covid-19 crisis.”
Three Highly Commendable Awards were also presented during the ceremony:
- Adrian Bird, Resurgam Trust
- Jahswill Emmanuel, Multi-Ethnic Sports & Cultures NI (MSCNI)
- Veronica McEneaney, Belfast Health Trust (recently retired).
Adrian has been involved peacebuilding for over 25 years, a founding member of Lisburn People’s Support Project, and won the Lisburn Castlereagh mayor’s award for Bringing Communities Together.
Jahswill created the charity MSCNI in 2016 and uses the medium of sports and multicultural activities to showcase the vibrancy of cultural diversity while promoting inclusion.
While promoting good relations within the Belfast Trust, Veronica worked on notable projects such as the River of Hope at the Acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit at Belfast City Hospital which promoted both good relations and mental health.
- The Community Relations Council was established in 1990 to lead and support change towards reconciliation, tolerance and mutual trust. CRC is an Arm’s Length Body of The Executive Office, a Department of the Northern Ireland Executive, and a catalyst for good inter-community and inter-cultural community relations work in the region.
- Previous winners: Marion Jamison and Charmain Jones (joint winners 2019); Eamonn Deane; Derrick Wilson; Anne Carr; Renee Crawford and Jean Brown; Dr David Stevens; Mary Kelly; Rab McCallum and Michael Acheson; Chris O’Halloran; Maureen Hetherington; Paul McCrory; Fr Gary Donegan; and Eileen Weir.
- Nominees were required to outline their contribution to peacebuilding and community relations work by reference to the following criteria:
- Evidence of the exceptional, sustained and long-term commitment of the nominee/s to community relations work.
- Evidence of the commitment of the nominee/s to community relations/intercultural work beyond single community across Northern Ireland and/or across the Border.
- Influence on thinking on peace-building and community relations issues.
- Embodiment of Community Relations Council values – fairness and justice (Equity), the peaceful celebration of variety and difference (Diversity) and the importance of sharing, trust and inclusion (Interdependence).
Attendees at the CRC Good Relations Award 2020.
Paddy White, Director of Youth Link: NI, winner of the CRC Good Relations Award 2020.