Limerick’s volunteer of the year dedicates award to late brother

Anthony O'Donnell from St Mary's Park was awarded Community Volunteer of the Year.

A ST Mary’s Park man has been honoured as the Community Volunteer of the Year at a national awards ceremony.

Anthony O’Donnell was awarded the title at the LAMA All Ireland Community and Council Awards 2024.

Mr O’Donnell was nominated for the award by Limerick City and County Council in recognition of his “enthusiasm and dedication to improve his community”.

He is actively involved in formal structures like the Regeneration Committee and Community Development Working Group. He also oversees a number of activities at King’s Island Community Centre including dance classes and bingo.

A number of council projects also took home awards on the night, including for Best Enterprise and Start Up Hub and Best CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Project in the Community.

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The St Mary’s Park man dedicated the win to his late brother, Patrick ‘Pa’ O’Donnell, well known himself for his local voluntary work, who was buried the same day that Anthony was presented with his award.

“Patrick was a volunteer in St Mary’s Park for 20 years. He worked with Saint Mary’s Aid, he was a volunteer there the same as myself,” Anthony said.

“Winning this on the day he was buried is a bittersweet moment. I wasn’t going to come to the awards but my family all told me I should go, so I came here to honour Patrick’s memory.”

Mr O’Donnell said that he will continue giving back to his community as there is still “more work to be done”.

“About eight years ago I joined the bingo committee that we run in St Mary’s Park. I ended up going on the Regeneration committee, the residents committee, the community forum. You name the committee I ended up joining it,” he quipped.

“We could see that St Mary’s Park was getting run down and we set out to improve it. Working with Regeneration we are taking steps in the right direction but there is a lot more work to be done.”

Congratulating Anthony, Mayor Gerald Mitchell said that he must “be singled out for his volunteer work is a great achievement”.

“I commend him for his dedication to his community. He leads through his actions and is making a real difference for everyone in King’s Island.”