Daingean GAA club a national finalist in Good Causes Awards

Daingean GAA club has been named among the 36 community groups, sports clubs and organisations from all over Ireland announced as finalists in the National Lottery Good Causes Awards.

The Offaly club set up a community response group during the Covid-19 pandemic last year. One of their innovative ideas was a ‘Turfathon’ to ensure that the older and more vulnerable members of the community would have enough turf for heating.

Daingean GAA will contest in the Community category in the Good Causes Awards final.

When the Covid pandemic forced Daingean GAA to suspend some of their plans for their sports hall, they decided to focus on keeping community spirits up by running tables quizzes, bingo nights, providing meals on wheels and assisting with shopping and medical runs for those unable to leave their homes.

The community sports hall, which National Lottery funding assisted with, has motivated the GAA club to become more engaged with the wider community. The club plans to extend the use of the hall to a wide variety of activities making it an integral part of the community.

The Good Causes Awards honour the inspiring work and achievements of thousands of projects, clubs and individuals in Ireland who, with the help of National Lottery funding, have had an extraordinary impact on their local communities.

The 36 winning groups will now proceed to the grand final in six categories: Sport, Health & Wellbeing, Heritage, Arts & Culture, Community and Youth. A seventh category, Irish Language, will have a special award to be announced at the awards final, in recognition of outstanding work done in the promotion of the Irish language.

Speaking at the announcement, the CEO of the National Lottery, Andrew Algeo, congratulated the 36 finalists who have reached this final stage of the awards process.

He said: “The Good Causes Awards allow us to shine a light on the outstanding work being done in our communities by extraordinary groups. Our aim is to recognise the exceptional contributions of our finalists and show the people of Ireland exactly what their participation and support in the National Lottery is achieving within their communities. We are all aware of how difficult the past year has been and how important sports clubs, organisations and groups are to our wellbeing.”

The judging of the National Finals of the Good Causes Awards will take place virtually today (Tuesday, February 16) and tomorrow ( February 17). At this stage, representatives from each of the 36 finalist groups will be asked to do a short presentation remotely to the judging panel and respond to any questions that may arise.

Each national category winner will receive €10,000 while the overall Good Cause of the Year will get an additional €25,000 on top of this.

The winners will be announced on Saturday, May 29 at the Mansion House in Dublin (subject to public health measures in place at the time). The event will alternatively take place virtually depending on the guidelines in effect.

The judging panel will be chaired by Lotto and weather presenter, Nuala Carey.

Fergus Finlay, columnist and author, will join the panel as an independent judge at this stage. Mr Finlay spoke about his involvement with the Good Causes Awards.

“It is such an honour to be involved in the Good Causes Awards as the event really is a unique opportunity to highlight the array of remarkable groups and organisations doing great things in communities all over the country,” he said.

“I am looking forward to meeting the 36 finalists and hearing about the inspirational work that they have continued to do – even during Covid times. It feels even more heartening to be involved considering the difficulties that have been faced by so many during the past year.”

More information on the finalists and the National Lottery Good Causes Awards can be found at www.lottery.ie/good-causes-awards/finalists

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