Cindy Collins, aged 13, a student at St. Mary’s secondary school Ballina was today presented with the Youth Award (12-18) at the Traveller Pride Awards Ceremony.


Cindy was described as a strong advocate for Traveller culture by Aideen Howard, Director of the Ark Children’s Theatre, who made the presentation, and as someone who never misses an opportunity to teach other people about the pride and love she has for her community.

A recent recipient of a Certificate of Commendation by the This is ART! competition, Cindy is a talented artist and uses her art to inform and teach people about Travellers and their culture. 

Cindy says: "I’m very proud of being a Traveller. I love telling other people about all the different things connected to my culture. Winning the award and getting it here in Dublin makes me very proud."

The Awards – whose theme this year is Hidden Voices: a celebration of those less heard – took place this morning in the Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield, Dublin at which, RTÉ ‘s Maia Dunphy was the MC. 

The Awards Ceremony marks the beginning of Traveller Pride Week, and has become an important event to celebrate the achievements of the Traveller Community and to promote deeper understanding and respect between the settled and Traveller communities.

Guest presenters included Shamrock Rovers footballer, Savannah McCarthy, Senator Eileen Flynn, civil rights campaigner, Bernadette McAlliskey, Mauren Kennelly Director of the Arts Council, singer Sharyn Ward, and long time Travellers’ rights activist, Dr. Thomas McCann. 

There were a number of county Galway award winners today in various categories.

They include -

  • Enterprise and Innovation Award : Aaron O’Loughlin (21, Galway) 

Aaron, left school at 15, now employs four people as part of his florist business.

  • Sport: Nadine Cawley, 15 (Ballinasloe, Galway) An outstanding young footballer who is the only Traveller in her team, Ballinalsoe FC.
  • Culture: Misleór (Galway) Innovative and creative theatre celebrating nomadic cultures across the world.
  • Music: Francis Ward, 15, and Peter Mongan, 22 (Galway)

Two gifted singers and guitarists celebrating the richness of Traveller culture and music.

  • Youth (18-25) John Cawley (Galway)Youth worker in Ballinasloe. Recognised for his skills in breaking down community barriers.

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