Three student nurses from Connemara were recognised at an awards ceremony last Tuesday (November 10).
Máirín Ní Churraoin, from Baile na hAbhann, took the first prize of €1,500 in the Gradam Áras Chois Fharraige, an award which aims to encourage Irish speakers to enter the nursing profession.
Neansaí Ní Mhaoláin from Ros a Mhíl and Cathal Gorham from Leitir Mealláin were joint runners up and received €750 each.
All three will also be offered flexible part-time work at An Spidéal’s Irish-speaking care home Áras Chois Fharraige while they complete their Bachelor of Nursing Studies.
The Gradam Áras Chois Fharraige was established by the Áras in 2010, to support young people from the area to pursue careers in nursing. It is an annual award open to fluent Irish speakers who are in their first year of a nursing degree.
To date the Gradam has awarded more than €10,000 in financial awards to student nurses from south Connemara, to assist them in their studies
The awards were presented by Tadhg Ó Conghaile from Údarás na Gaeltachta which co-funded the bursaries. Tadhg said that the Údarás is very happy to be involved in the Gradam and stressed the importance of serving the elderly in the Cois Fharraige community through their native language.
Tadhg also praised the Áras for establishing the award and for employing 45 people from the local community – the majority of whom are native Irish speakers.
Katie Uí Chuláin, activities co-ordinator at Áras Chois Fharraige, congratulated all of the winners. She told the Journal: ‘It is great to see that the number of Irish-speakers from Cois Fharraige studying nursing is continuing to increase.
‘We are very grateful to Údarás na Gaeltachta for co-funding this award in conjunction with the management of Áras Chois Fharraige. It is very important that elderly people can receive care in their native language, so it is great to be able to recognise these three young Irish-speakers as they embark on their careers in nursing.’
Pictured: Bertie Reaney and Katie Uí Chuláin from Aras Chois Fharraige with award winners Cathal Gorham, Neansaí Ní Mhaoláin, Máirín Ní Churraoi and Tadhg Ó Conghaile (Udaras na Gaeltachta)