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Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Weekend from 4th – 6th November 2016

August 26, 2016 · 

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Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Weekend from 4th – 6th November 2016
Hugh O’Flaherty International Humanitarian Award 2016 Recipient Announced
FR. SHAY CULLEN

It was announced today that the 2016 Hugh O’Flaherty International Humanitarian Award will be awarded to Fr Shay Cullen, Dublin born Columban Missionary in the Philippines. The Award will be presented to Fr Shay by Cllr Brendan Cronin, Mayor of Killarney Municipal Authority on Saturday evening November 5th at an Award Ceremony in the Killarney Avenue Hotel.

This year marks the ninth year of the Memorial Commemoration of the Monsignor, organised to raise awareness of the Humanitarian work carried out by the Monsignor, when during WW2, together with his colleagues in the Rome Escape Line, he saved over 6,500 people from the clutches of the Nazis who had occupied Rome at the time. On October 30th 2013, on the 50th anniversary of the Monsignor’s death a permanent memorial to the Monsignor was unveiled in Killarney town centre. The memorial is a life-size sculpture of the Monsignor by Valentia based artist Alan Ryan Hall. On May 8th this year, a Plaque commemorating the Monsignor was unveiled at the German College, Vatican City, Rome where he lived from 1938 until 1960 and from where he organised the WW2 Rome Escape Line.

Over the past few months nominations have been invited for people or organisations, which have displayed the same humanitarian ideals and principals of the Monsignor and would be deserving of this Award. A shortlist of 11 Nominees was considered by the independent Award Panel, at which it was agreed that Fr Shay Cullen would receive the Award for 2016. Fr Cullen was nominated by Matt Moran from Cork.

Born in Dublin, 27 March 1943, educated at Presentation College, Glasthule, Co. Dublin Fr Shay completed his college education at St. Columban’s, Dalgan Park, Navan, and was ordained in April 1969. He was subsequently assigned to parishes in Zambales and Olongapo City, Subic Bay, on the main Philippines island of Luzon.

Father Shay Cullen established the (*) PREDA Foundation in Olongapo City, in the Philippines in 1974 to promote human rights, justice and peace. Believing that poverty, violence and child abuse are barriers to peace and give rise to extremism, he strives to eliminate child abuse and promote respect for children’s rights. He works for peace by working to change the unjust economic political and social structures and attitudes that allow such abuse. His mission for justice and peace is ecumenical; open to people of all faiths. It is based on taking a stand for human rights and protecting the dignity of every person, in particular exploited women and children.

Chairperson of the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Committee Jerry O’Grady said “Fr Shay has given his life to protecting the human rights of oppressed and exploited children and has fearlessly challenged those who were not prepared to shoulder their responsibilities, including local vested interests, local and national government in the Philippines and the USA Government”

Upon hearing the news of the Award, Fr Shay said, “On behalf of those children we have rescued and those human rights workers who like Monsignor Hugh, continue to work for the unjustly imprisoned ,the refugees trying to escape from Isis and war and those risking their lives to help them escape, I gladly accept the award”.

Admission to the Humanitarian Award Ceremony in the Killarney Avenue Hotel on Saturday evening November 5th is free of charge but places are limited and can be reserved in advance through the Killarney Chamber Office on Beech Road (064) 6637928 / e-mail chamber@killarney.ie More details on the 2016 Memorial Weekend Programme (to be published late September) as well as detailed information on the Monsignor’s life and work can be found on www.hughoflaherty.com or obtained from the Memorial Society at hofmemorialsociety@gmail.com

Photo Fr Shay Cullen: Courtesy of Columban Missionaries

Photo Fr Shay Cullen: Courtesy of Columban Missionaries

(*)PREDA FoundationPeople’s Recovery, Empowerment and Development Assistance
Saving children from abuse, prison and exploitation.

END

HUGH O’FLAHERTY INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN AWARD
AWARDED ANNUALLY AT THE HUGH O’FLAHERTY MEMORIAL WEEKEND

In 2008, the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society was formed in his home town of Killarney. It was decided we should honour his memory by acknowledging his humanitarian works during the 1930’s in Haiti & San Domingo and the early 1940’s during WW2 in Rome. He was posthumously awarded the inaugural Killarney International Humanitarian Award. It was presented to members of his extended family at a special ceremony in Killarney on November 15th 2008. At this Ceremony it was announced that from then on, the Award would be known as the Hugh O’Flaherty International Humanitarian Award and would be presented annually to worthy recipients.

PREVIOUS HUMANITARIAN AWARD RECIPIENTS

2009

The 2009 Humanitarian Award recipients were Sharon Commins (35) and Hilda Kawuki (45). They were both GOAL Aid Workers in Darfur in Africa. On July 3rd 2009, they were abducted by rebels and were not released from captivity until October 18th – after 108 days in captivity.

2010

The 2010 Humanitarian Award recipient was Fr Michael Sinnott (79). He was a Columban Missionary in the Philippines. On October 11th 2009, he was abducted by rebels and was not released from captivity until November 11th. Despite his age and his traumatic ordeal, after a period of recovery in Ireland, he returned to his missionary duties in the Philippines.

2011

The 2011 Humanitarian Award recipient was Newry born Sally O’Neill. She was Director of Operations for Trocaire in South & Central America. While most of her 40 years with Trocaire were spent in Central America, she also worked at the frontline of other troubled areas throughout the world including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Ethiopia.

2012

The 2012 Humanitarian Award recipient was Sr Agnes Hunt (80). Having spent some years as a missionary in Zambia, Sr Agnes spent 16 years as the RC Chaplin at the high security Wormwood Scrubs Prison in the UK and since 2001 has worked as a volunteer for the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO).

2013

The 2013 Humanitarian Award recipient was Tralee native Donal Walsh RIP (16). Donal became an inspirational international role model for youth when after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, he spent the remaining time of his short life speaking tirelessly to his peers on recognising the priceless value of human life and appealing to them to step back from thoughts and deeds self-harm.

2014

The 2014 Humanitarian Award recipient was Dr John Beavis (74). A renowned orthopaedic surgeon in the British health system, he was forced to retire from his role following serious cardiac problems at the relatively young age of 54. Following recuperation, he decided to dedicate his life to helping those in medical need at natural and man-made disaster events around the world. He founded the overseas medical charity IDEALS and has spent the last few years at the frontline of conflict in Gaza.

2015

The 2015 Humanitarian Award recipient was Fr Sean Myers (85). In 1960, the young Killarney born Redemptorist Missionary went to Northeast Brazil to establish a mission for the oppressed and deprived people of that area. Some 55 years later he continues to serve the needs of his c. 27,000 parishioners in a parish almost half the size of Ireland. He has confronted and overcome institutional oppression of the poor and dispossessed despite experiencing arrest and imprisonment.

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