Mary And George Win National Volunteer Ireland Award

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Mary and George Sugrue with their Volunteer Ireland award in the ‘Social Work & Social Inclusion’ category.

A COUPLE from just outside Tralee won a Volunteer Ireland Award at a ceremony held  to celebrate the country’s unsung heroes at a special ceremony in Sligo, the 2017 European Volunteering Capital on Friday night.

From 27 exceptional volunteers, nine winners were selected for this year’s Volunteer Ireland Awards including George and Mary Sugrue from Ballyseedy who won the ‘Social Work & Social Inclusion’ category.

George and Mary have been volunteering with Chernobyl Children International for over 20 years. Through their advocacy and hard work they founded and single-handedly run the Chernobyl Children International Dental Programme.

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Each year they drive over 3,000kms to provide high standard dental care to children who have been abandoned to Children’s Mental Asylums.

This year, they have expanded their programme with a mobile dental unit which is used to treat terminally ill children on CCI’s Hospice and Palliative Care Programme reaching almost 200 children with life-limiting illnesses. 2017 marked their 21st and 19th convoy respectively that they have been involved with for CCI.

Commenting on the shortlist for the Volunteer Ireland Awards, the Kerry Volunteer Centre Manager, Geraldine O’Sullivan, said “Volunteers are the backbone of communities across Kerry and Ireland. George and Mary are fantastic examples of the strong culture of volunteering we have in Kerry. Volunteers are often unseen but the contribution they make locally and to Irish society is immense. These awards enable the public to say thank you and celebrate the difference volunteers make every day.”

Ms O’Sulivan explained that ‘the awards aim to celebrate the extraordinary dedication that nominees have shown to help others, often taking time away from family and friends to give back. They give Ireland a chance to say thank you and celebrate and value Volunteers achievements’.

This year marked an extremely special year for the Volunteer Ireland Awards. Not only were they celebrating their tenth year, they also formed part of the prestigious closing ceremony of Sligo’s designation as European Volunteering Capital.


  1. Super well done!