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Posted: 16 September 2008

Young person of the year award for cystic fibrosis campaigner

UCD Arts student, Orla Tinsley has received the Joint Young Person of the Year Award for her passionate, skilful and, ultimately, crucial role in the campaign for better services for people with cystic fibrosis. Orla’s moving testimony and the resulting developments that have taken place will have a significant, positive impact on the life expectancy and quality of life of people with cystic fibrosis in Ireland. Orla, one of 1,200 people with Cystic Fibrosis in Ireland, is currently studying Ancient Greek & Roman Civilization and English at University College Dublin.

"It is incredibly surreal to receive the award," said Orla.  "The fact that cystic fibrosis is now recognised on a national stage is because of the courage of people with cystic fibrosis who fought so publicly in the past few months for their basic human rights. I am honoured to accept the award and feel it is an extremely positive step in the right direction for cystic fibrosis patients and their families, although there is still a long way to go."

Pictured far right: UCD Student Orla Tinsley (left) and singer and actress, Andrea Corr who presented the award

The People of the Year Awards pay tribute to members of the public who have enhanced the quality of life in Ireland, increased civic pride or who, through acts of bravery, have touched the lives of the wider community. The award winners are selected by members of the public through a nominations process and finalised by a panel of adjudicators comprising leading members of the media, business, public service and community sectors.

Other recipients of 2008 People of the Year Awards include:

  • Olympic Irish boxers: Kenny Egan, Darren Sutherland and Paddy Barnes for their character, courage, determination and sheer hard work over many years, culminating in their success at the Beijing Games

  • Boyband star, Keith Duffy for his passionate commitment to the cause of children with autism

  • Fr. Shay Cullen (International Person of the Year) for his relentless courage and commitment to protecting vulnerable children from abuse, cruelty and exploitation, and for giving them the opportunity to rebuild their lives with dignity

  • Seven-year-old, Ronan Hayes (Joint Young Person of the Year Award) for his courage in saving the life of his little sister, Emily, then aged four

  • Rose Uí Shúilleabháin (Teacher of the Year) for her extraordinary courage and coolness in saving the life of one of her pupils, for her ability to inspire her students to maximise their individual talents and for her dedication to giving them the best possible start in life

  • Nuala O’Loan for her personal integrity and courage, her fearless commitment to the highest standards of policing for everyone in Northern Ireland and for her inspiring belief in justice and the rule of law as Northern Ireland’s first police Ombudsman

  • Joe Dolan (posthumously) for his unique contribution to the development of Ireland’s music scene and for all his achievements as one of our greatest-ever performers

  • Robert McLoughlin for his boundless enthusiasm, energy and selfless dedication to providing a light in the lives of so many people through Jomac Productions

  • Scouting Ireland in recognition of 100 years of activity in Ireland and their unique contribution to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual and social potential

“The People of the Year Awards are widely recognised as one of the highest accolades a person can receive in Ireland and they are now firmly established as the Irish people’s national Awards,” said Angela Kerins, Chairperson of the Adjudicating Panel and Chief Executive, Rehab.

“The list of this year’s winners is testament to the winners’ bravery, strength of spirit and outstanding contribution to life in our community. Of course, more than all of that, our People of the Year Award winners also point the way forward to what we can achieve in ourselves and what we can achieve for our country and our world, to which we can all aspire and be inspired.”

"We are proud to be part of these awards that each year pay recognition to members of the public who have enhanced quality of life in Ireland, increased civic pride or who, through acts of bravery have touched the lives of the community," said Sean Quinn, Chairman, QUINN Group.

“Now in their 34th year, these Awards recognise the remarkable achievements of some truly extraordinary people,” said Clare Duignan, Director of Programmes, RTÉ Television. “As Ireland’s public service broadcaster, RTÉ is particularly delighted to bring this national event to a national television audience and play our part in saluting the exemplary people recognised on this evening’s programme.”

The awards are organised by Rehab and sponsored by Quinn-healthcare. They are broadcast live on RTÉ TV.  The 2008 awards were presented by RTÉ Presenter, Gráinne Seoige. An Tánaiste, Mary Coughlan TD was the guest of honour at this year’s awards.

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Young person of the year award for cystic fibrosis campaigner