Press release: The Search is on for Ireland’s Volunteer of the Year


Thursday 22nd August 2019 – Ladies Gaelic Football Stars Launch National Volunteer Awards

Ladies Gaelic Football Stars Orla Murphy and Kate Byrne have today kicked off the 2019 Volunteer Ireland Awards campaign. From now until 4th October, we are calling on the people of Dublin to nominate a volunteer they feel is deserving of a national Volunteer Ireland Award. One outstanding nominee will be named Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year at a special ceremony in December.

According to Franziska O’Donnell, Acting Manager of Dublin City Volunteer Centre “Volunteers are the lifeblood of Irish society and we are proud to have a strong culture of volunteering in Dublin. Without them, many of the things we take for granted simply wouldn’t exist. It’s hard to think of an area that doesn’t benefit from volunteers – from healthcare to sport, supporting vulnerable people or protecting our environment, volunteers are the biggest heroes we have. But they are unsung heroes, and with these awards we want to shine a light on the amazing people who give so much to Dublin without any expectation of thanks or glory.” 

One particularly special aspect of the awards is that every person nominated – whether they are shortlisted or not – will receive a special ‘thank you’ card from Volunteer Ireland to show our appreciation for their dedication and commitment. Aside from Ireland’s Volunteer of the Year, volunteers will be recognised in ten other categories across areas such as children and youth, culture and emergency services.

“About half of volunteering in Ireland takes place in sport with so many grassroots clubs and events reliant on the support of volunteers in their communities. We are delighted that Orla and Kate were on hand to launch this year’s awards. Now we need the public’s help to nominate the ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their communities.”

LGFA President Marie Hickey commented: “As an Association, we are acutely aware of the importance of volunteers in sport. Volunteers devote time and energy, and show exceptional dedication to their role, for the betterment of Ladies Gaelic Football, and in various sports.

“The Volunteer Ireland Awards are a magnificent way to acknowledge the unsung heroes in sport, the volunteers who give so selflessly of their time. We have acknowledged our own volunteers in recent times across a wide range of categories, and I’m sure that there will be a huge amount of applications flooding in for the National Volunteer awards. I would like to wish all of the nominees well across the ten categories.” 

Last year, Dave O’Hara from Dublin won the Children and Youth award at the national Volunteer Ireland Awards. He was commended for his dedication and commitment as volunteer mentor in Solas Project’s After School’s club, The Bridge, for children aged 11 – 13.

The nominations will be whittled down to a shortlist of 30 outstanding volunteers who will be invited with their family and friends to an awards ceremony in Dublin in December where they will be honoured and celebrated.

Nominations can be made online. 

Nominate a volunteer


Notes to Editor


Franziska O’Donnell, Acting Manager, Dublin City Volunteer Centre

Email: franziska@volunteerdublincity.ie


Gaelic football stars Orla Murphy, left, from Galway and Kate Byrne from Meath kick off the 2019 Volunteer Ireland Awards campaign with the help of volunteers Petra Bihary, 2nd from right, and Petra Mahlatini. One outstanding volunteer will be named Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year. Nominate a volunteer at www.volunteer.ie. PHOTO: Mark Stedman. 

About Dublin City Volunteer Centre

Dublin City Volunteer Centre is the one stop shop for volunteering, providing services for organisations and individuals in the Dublin City Council area. Our vision is to have a vibrant Irish society where every person feels connected to their community, through active participation in voluntary activities. We aim to promote the value of volunteering and increase the range and quality of volunteering in Dublin. For further information, visit:  www.volunteerdublincity.ie

About Volunteer Ireland

Volunteer Ireland is the national volunteer development organisation and a support body for all local Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services in Ireland. Volunteer Ireland works to increase awareness of, access to and quality in volunteering in Ireland. For further information, visit: http://www.volunteer.ie/

About the Volunteer Ireland Awards

Anyone can nominate a volunteer, and the ten categories are:

  • Animals and Environment
  • Arts, Culture and Media
  • Campaigning and Awareness Raising
  • Children and Youth
  • Community
  • Safety and Emergency Services
  • Health and Disability
  • Social Work and Social Inclusion
  • Sports and Recreation
  • Outstanding Group

There is also a special commendation for Volunteer Manager of the Year which can be a paid or voluntary position. All shortlisted applicants are automatically eligible for the overall Volunteer of the Year Award. Nominations close at midnight on Friday 4th October and can be made online at www.volunteer.ie.  The Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year Award along with the ten category winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony on Friday 6th December in the Carlton Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin. All shortlisted nominees along with their guests will be invited to the ceremony to enjoy a much-deserved night of celebration. Read more about the awards here.