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Awards Ceremony 2011

Author : Kieran Carberry MEHOA

                            “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly”

Heraghty House in Bray was certainly seasonally decorated for the initial EHOA Awards ceremony on Friday 2nd December. In previous years the John Shelley Bursary kicked off the Christmas season in early December. This year however the format changed with the EHOA announcing all it’s awards on the one evening. This included the launch of two new awards.

The first award was the John Shelley Bursary which was presented to Pemba Support by Lorcan Shelley on behalf of John’s family. The award is presented annually in memory of Mr John Shelley who was a former Chairman of the Association. The bursary nominations are normally accepted from the EHOA branches for registered charities and/or non-profit organisations. The ethos, work or aims of such groups or projects should preferably be in an area directly relevant to Environmental Health. Pemba Support was nominated by the Western Branch. The charity works in the areas of housing, childcare, sanitation, treatment and prevention of disease in Pemba, a small remote island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania. In accepting the award Volunteers from Pemba Support outlined some of their work activities in relation to improvements in the standards of living, education, sustainable living and provision of an adequate and potable supply of water to an impoverished community.

The next award was the EHOA Environmental Health Student Award. This award is presented on an annual basis to the Environmental Health Student who has received the highest overall result within their graduation class from Dublin Institute of Technology. The purpose of the award is to recognise achievements and excellence of Environmental Health Students and to motivate them to perform well. Chairman Shane Keane presented the 2011 award to Elaine Lawlor from Co. Kildare. Shane noted Elaine’s thesis was on environmental health aspects of stud farms which showed the broad scope of our profession. In presenting flowers to Elaine, Shane said it felt a bit like giving out the Oscars. He wished Elaine every success in her future career path.

Shane then introduced the new Excellence in Environmental Health Awards. The first of these is now called the EHOA Excellence Award and is given for an outstanding contribution to the field of environmental health. The recipient was Professor Luke Clancy, the noted respiratory physician and anti tobacco lobbyist. Professor Clancy has been very involved in various research projects associated with air quality and respiratory illness. In thanking the Association Professor Clancy said it was an honour to be recognised by another profession. He spoke about his early days in medicine and the Dublin smogs and the evolution of the legislation resulting in the introduction of the ban on the sale, marketing and distribution of smoky fuels in the Dublin region in the early 1990’s. Professor Clancy stated that the successes in the improvement in indoor and outdoor air quality were certainly mainly as a result of the dedication and professionalism of Environmental Health Officers.

The ceremonies then concluded with the presentation of the Con Healy Medal. This is a new award given to an individual for the demonstration of excellence in the practice of environmental health. The award was made in the presence of members of Con Healy’s family including his wife Sarah and daughter Siobhan. The Medal commemorates the late Con Healy who was formerly Chief EHO in Dublin City, Chairman of the EHOA and the first elected Chairman of the International Federation of Environmental Health. Shane Keane said that although he did not personally meet Con he certainly knew him by his extraordinary reputation. Donal Cooney, our esteemed retired colleague and Fellow of the EHOA, recounted his personal memories of Con from their early days in UCD to Con’s passing in 2007. In writing Con’s obituary Donal suggested that in recognition of Con’s major contribution to the environmental health profession the EHOA should consider bestowing some suitable recognition in honour of Con’s memory. He was glad to see this transpire in today’s event. Shane then presented the inaugural Con Healy Medal to Martin Devine, former Assistant National Director for Environmental Health in the Health Service Executive. Martin is a Fellow of the Association and a former Honorary Secretary and Deputy Chairman. Martin thanked the Association for the award and was grateful to be associated with Con Healy whom he worked with in his early career. Martin also thanked those who had supported him throughout his career and especially his wife Ita and family.

The proceedings then came to a close with refreshments and a very sociable evening. This awards ceremony was a novel event in the history of the Association. It was interesting to gather an audience so diverse and yet with so much in common. Those present included Association officers, staff, current members, retired members, honorary members, student members, and fellows, those from outside the profession, the young and the not so young, family and friends. It certainly augurs well for the future of the Association and is something to look forward to over the coming years .



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