Pictured at the Limerick Person of the Year Award 2016 were Claire Culhane, Richard Lynch, Grace Culhane, Luke Culhane, winner of the Limerick Person of the year Award 2016, Olive Foley and Dermot Culhane. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick


The 14-year-old Limerick boy, Luke Culhane, whose viral video warning against cyberbullying and the late Anthony Foley – posthumously receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award – were today the top recipients at the Limerick Person of the Year 2016 awards.

The creation of a powerful video – ‘Create No Hate’ – saw Luke Culhane, from Castletroy View, selected as the January award recipient and made enough of an impact to have him selected all of 12 months later for the Limerick Person of the Year 2016.

Limerick person of the year 2016

Luke Culhane, whose viral video warning against cyberbullying went viral was named Limerick person of the year 2016. Photo: Sean Curtin True Media.

A budding filmmaker and blogger, Luke was motivated to create the video after being a victim of cyberbullying himself and, with over 500,000 views, its success was such that the story was picked up by Sky News, BBC, MTV, Fox, RTE and UTV, among others.

The international admiration for his efforts stretched all the way to December when he was named Young Person of the Year by prominent French newspaper Mon Quotidien.

Accepting the award, Luke Culhane said: “Thank you so much to everyone that supported the video, the main thing is that helped loads of other children after I Skyped a school in South Africa it inspired them to make their own video. It’s not just me that won, it’s the whole of Limerick.”

Today’s event, held at the Clayton Hotel, Limerick, also saw Olive Foley, wife of the late Anthony Foley, receive a Lifetime Achievement award on behalf of her husband, whose death on October 16th last led to one of the single greatest outpourings of sadness ever experienced across Limerick.

The legendary Shannon, Munster and Ireland No. 8 Anthony moved with his family from Murroe to Killaloe when he was 3 years old but had an indelible connection with Limerick over the years.  He was schooled at St. Munchin’s, where he first gained prominence as a schools rugby star, before going on to become the most coloured captain in the history of Shannon and Munster rugby.

Speaking at today’s event, Limerick Leader Editor Eugene Phelan said:  “It’s fair to say that the two recipients today were utterly inspirational in very different ways but we are here with mixed emotions in relation to them today.

“We all marvelled at Luke’s courage and, indeed, technical ability in putting this video together. It relates to an area that all of society is exercised and very concerned about but when it is a 13-year-old member of that society, as he was then, we are all humbled by what he did.  Luke is clearly a leader and I suspect that this is the start of what will be a hugely successful career in film and one that, will no doubt, leave its mark in a very positive way on society.”

Speaking of the award to Anthony Foley, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon said: “With regard to Anthony Foley, all of us who love rugby and sport generally were totally shocked by news of his death. I don’t think I have ever seen anything like the collective sense of loss that greeted this.   He was an incredible man both on and off the field.

Limerick Person of the Year 2016

The 14 year-old Limerick boy, Luke Culhane, whose viral video warning against cyberbullying and the late Anthony Foley Ð posthumously receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award – were today the top recipients at the Limerick Person of the Year 2016 awards. Photo: Sean Curtin True Media.

“We all celebrated his rugby achievements and got so much joy here in Limerick from that.  But the other side of Anthony was what he did off the field, his charity work and just how he held himself as a person. He was arguably the most modest sports star and this is an acknowledgement that he totally deserves.”

Speaking at the event, Olive Foley said:  “I’m pretty sure Anthony would be recoiling with the attention here today.  He was very proud of his association with Limerick and from a sporting perspective will always be associated with Munster and Shannon, with many of his greatest rugby moments here in Limerick.

“We know that everyone here misses him and it goes without saying that we do. But we really appreciate the fact that he is thought of and remembered so fondly, including with this Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Now in its 16th year and sponsored by The Limerick Leader, Southern Marketing Design & Media and the Clayton Hotel, the Limerick Person of the Year Award was set up to honour the achievements and success of local people.

Pat Reddan, General Manager, Clayton Limerick Hotel said: “We are delighted to sponsor such an event that showcases the very best of Limerick and the people who call it home, they truly are all inspirational.”

Congratulating all nominees, Dave O’Hora of Southern Marketing Design & Media said: “each of the nominees have in their own way made an outstanding contribution to the cultural, sporting, business and community scene in Limerick, today Limerick celebrates and it should.”

Past winners of the title include philanthropist JP McManus, world champion boxer Andy Lee, rugby stars Paul O’Connell and Tony Ward, author Donal Ryan, transatlantic rower Paul Gleeson and Thomond Park developer Pat Whelan.

The Limerick Person of the Year 2016 judging panel consisted of Eugene Phelan, Editor of The Limerick Leader; Conn Murray, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council; and Cllr. Kieran O’Hanlon, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick.

For more information on Create No Hate click here

To read past stories on Limerick Person of the Year click here

Garda Divisional Youth Awards 2016

(Back row) Grace, Culhan, Claire Culhane, Richard Lynch, Dermot, Culhane and Luke Culhane, Create No Hate and winner of Garda Divisional Youth Award. (Front row) Super Intendant Dave Sheahan and Super Intendant Derek Smart. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Youths throughout a number of Limerick communities were praised this week at the third annual Garda Divisional Youth Awards 2016.

Limerick Gardaí, in association with Garvey’s Supervalu and Centra, presented the awards at the Woodlands Hotel in Adare, celebrating young people for the positive contributions they have made to their families, schools and communities.

Chief Superintendent David Sheahan commended the Garda Divisional Youth Awards 2016 winners, praised the work and effort made by the families of winners and called on recipients to “continue to innovate and make a difference” in their communities.

Limerick City and County Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon attended the Garda Divisional Youth Awards 2016 in a show of support, praising the “tireless work to help their communities and helping others.”

Among the winners was Luke Culhane, a second year student at Castletroy college. In February 2016, having been cyber bullied he made a video called Create No Hate to show how it feels to have been cyber bullied and to explain to people that there are many things you can do to stop and prevent it. Thinking that if he could help one person he would achieve something, little did he know that the video would go viral and it now has over 5 million views worldwide. As a result, Luke has appeared on many international TV stations and radio channels and most recently has offered his advice via skype to students in a school in Cape Town, South Africa. By his actions, Luke has shown how to deal with cyber bullies, not to let them dominate your life but to stand up, speak out and challenge them. Speaking to I Love Limerick after he received his award, Luke Culhane said: “I got loads of recognition all over the world, but it is especially nice to receive recognition from my home county Limerick.”

Another recipient included the Express Yourself Mental Health group from Limerick Youth Service, which played a big part in Limerick’s Mental Health Week. The group is based in the Northside Youthspace in Ballynanty and consists of young people between the ages of 17 and 19. Led by Siobhan Wilmott, they are raising awareness about youth mental health and promoting positive mental health attitudes among young people. The group has made presentations at an EU summit in Amsterdam and have engaged in debates with local politicians to ensure that this very important subject is raised at the highest levels in the Dail. They have organised events for young people during mental health week and were successful in securing funding for Limerick Youth Service to provide staff for a mental health team. They continue to volunteer their time to many community events around mental health and are making a valuable contribution highlighting awareness and educating people on how to deal with it in a positive manner.

Among the other recipients of the Garda Divisional Youth Awards 2016 were the Crescent Comprehensive TY Students 2016, Sarah Duggan, Coláiste Chiárain Ambassadors of Strength in Adversity Group, Áine O’Connor, Luke, Phillip and Jake Kinsella, Cian O’Grady and Lee Quinn.

Crescent Comprehensive TY Students

Hugh Conlon, Adam Earlie, Kevin Le Gear, James Mullins and Luke Reilly completed transition year in May of this year. During that time, they had done some volunteering work in Milford Hospice and St. Camillus Hospital. However, during the summer, on their own initiative, they decided to embark on an epic journey by cycling all the way from Malin Head to Mizen Head to raise funds for Milford Hospice. They trained diligently every week, cycling from Limerick to Nenagh and back to prepare themselves for the 800km trip. It took the boys eleven days to complete the trip from Donegal to Cork raising over €1,700 for Milford Hospice. Rather than taking it easy during the summer these young men took on and succeeded in a challenge that resulted in a major contribution to a charity that hugely supports the local community.

Sarah Duggan

Sarah from Mungret, Co. Limerick is a student in Colaiste Mhuire in Askeaton. For the past five year’s she has been a central figure in the raising of funds for her local GAA club, Mungret St Pauls. Every week without fail she has sold lottery tickets in her area and to date has individually raised over €12,000 which helps to support the juvenile section of the club. When not involved with her club, she has found the time to volunteer in a local charity shop in Limerick, raised funds for MS and also helped out the Limerick Panto Society. A recipient of a Bronze Gaisce award, whenever Sarah is involved in a task she will always be enthusiastic, energetic and committed.

Coláiste Chiárain Ambassadors of Strength in Adversity Group

On arriving in Ireland, Hassatou Diallo from Guinea, Merveille Mangidi Ntoya and Moise Kahu-su from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Isaac Wairimu from Kenya, were each faced with common challenges such as learning a new language and adapting and integrating into a new culture. These student ambassadors despite personal sacrifices continue to overcome adversity through their resilience, strength of character, positivity and determination. Showing a true dedication to their academic attainment they also excel in the fields of sport, music and the arts. Through education they aim to realize their full potential and embrace the many opportunities which await them in their very bright futures. They are all ambassadors of ‘Strength in Adversity’. Each of these students, fully reflect the spirit, ethos and vision that is encapsulated in the Coláiste Chiaráin school motto, “Ad agusta per angusta” (Achievement through effort).

Áine O’Connor

Áine from Lisnagry, Co. Limerick is a student in Castletroy College. This year Áine began a fundraising campaign in aid of the Irish Cancer Society, a cause very dear to Áines heart. As part of this campaign she raised €400 in sponsorship and cut off 10 inches of her hair so that wigs could be made for people suffering from cancer. She is currently an active member of the St John’s 3/14 Scouts in Limerick, holding numerous badges in many different disciplines and is a leader with the cubs and beavers. A young person with a great sense of community spirit and willingness to help others, Áine is also in the process of completeing a short film called ‘Don’t Tell Mom’ which she hopes to enter in next year’s Fresh Film Festival.

Luke, Phillip and Jake Kinsella

In December 2015, the Springfield, Clonlara area of County Clare was devastated by flooding. The Kinsella’s home was amoung the houses in danger. As Mike Kinsella, had passed away in 202 it fell to his sons Luke, Phillip and Jake to help their mother Bridget engage in a course of action to save their home. For the next eight weeks, the boys worked day and night manning pumps and monitoring sandbags to ensure that the water did not break through. They faced many obstacles during the ordeal, taking it in turns to stay up all night manning their station. Despite Phillip suffering an asthma attack which resulted in a visit to the hospital, he was back helping the family the following day. Eventually in late January 16, the flooding subsided without breaking through the barriers. The boys then had to return to their studies they all obtained excellent results. The family wish to acknowledge the support of Mike’s parents, Mike and Mona and the help of their neighbours and friends, members of the civil defence, army and fire brigade, Clare County Council and the Gardai during their ordeal. Luke, Phillip and Jake Kinsella faced many challenges during that time. They overcame them with a display of immense dedication, strength and perseverance and their actions are an inspiration to everyone.

Cian O’Grady

Cian is from Herbertstown in Co. Limerick and is currently a student in Waterford IT. His commitment to community work knows no bounds. He has volunteered with St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen in Limerick City, raised funds for Mid West Simon community, helps in the local nursing home and assists his local soccer club raising funds and coaching the younger players. Whenever an event takes place in his community Cian is involved. He has organised family fun days in Herbertstown and is a volunteer waiter at the local monthly parochial dinners for the elderly. Cian has already been recognised for his community work as he was the Irish winner of the Pramerica Spirit of Community Award in March 2016.

Lee Quinn

Lee from Moyross, Limerick City is a man on a mission. Having faced several personal challenges in his earlier years, Lee accepted support from a number of key agencies in the area. Two years ago, having finished his education he applied for the Trainee Jockey programme with RACE (Racing Academy and Centre of Education) in Kildare but was not successful. Such was his determination to get a place on this world renowned programme that Lee put in a year of effort working on his fitness, personal development and gaining work experience in Jim Bolger’s yard and in Leopardstown Racecourse. He reapplied for the course in 2016 and was successful in securing a place and is now three months into this very challenging but rewarding programme. He is a young man that is clear about his goals and has shown that hard work, perseverance and determination can bring its rewards.

Read more about the Garda Divisional Youth Awards 2016 here.

To read more about previous years of the Garda Divisional Youth Awards from I love Limerick click here.

[nggallery id = 18]

Garda Divisional Youth Awards 2016. Photos: Cian Reinhardt / ilovelimerick