On Friday, April 26th, the Ireland Young Leaders gathered for their Spring Party, at the upstairs lounge of the Odeon Bar. Despite the lack of spring weather, a crowd of over 150 guests enjoyed an evening of music and good fun all while raising money to support the Promising Ireland Campaign to assist Irish charities.
The night was a chance to honour our Young Leader of the Year, Dessie Farrell, for his outstanding dedication to The Ireland Funds, the GPA and his philanthropic work both home and abroad.
As a former Dublin senior football captain, All-Ireland medal winner, All-Ireland winning manager and international hockey player, Dessie Farrell’s credentials as a successful leader on the field of play are beyond question. Equally impressive are his demonstrable leadership qualities since becoming CEO of the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) in 2002- the only players’ association in world dedicated solely to amateur athletes.
Central to the GPA’s Social Responsibility Programme is their partnership with Headstrong, the national centre for youth mental health in Ireland. The partnership between the two organisations is a relationship that was initiated by The Ireland Funds. Over 20 GPA county players now act as ambassadors for Headstrong and are helping support and promote the work of this organisation and its Jigsaw projects. The involvement of the GPA ambassadors is assisting in the de-stigmatising of discussions around mental health among young people in Ireland.
The efforts of Dessie and the GPA stretched beyond the shored of Ireland when they spearheaded a charitable mission to New York’s Breezy Point. A work party made up of players and tradesmen, supported by Aer Lingus, travelled to help the Irish-American community rebuild their local sport and youth facilities in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The initiative was recognised by President Obama himself, when he publicly acknowledged the work of the Gaelic Players who had assisted the community. Several members of The Ireland Funds Young Leaders Society joined the “Irish Days of Action” to rebuild these affected communities in complement to the financial support provided by The Ireland Funds to assist relief efforts.
Not only has Dessie been a great supporter and advocate of The Ireland Funds and the Young Leaders Programme but he has also introduced some other high profile Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) players to the organisation. We have no doubt that there are a few future ‘Young Leader of the Year’ awardees in that group!
We were delighted that John Hennessey – Niland, Chargé d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy was also able to join us and say a few words about the importance of the strong ties between the US and Ireland. We are always grateful for the support the US Embassy has shown toward The Ireland Funds.
After the award was presented and the speeches wrapped up, the guests were treated to a performance by We Banjo 3. We Banjo 3 is a Galway-based quartet that combines Irish music with old-time American and Bluegrass influences to produce an exciting and fun sound. They certainly had no problem getting our guests on their feet!
Special thanks to Jameson who provided a Jameson, ginger & lime Reception for all of our guests, Heineken who provided pints throughout the evening, and the GPA for all of their support throughout the planning of the event.
We would like to thank all of our guests for attending the event and their continual support of the Young Leaders and The Ireland Funds. We are so grateful.
Credit: Photography: Sean Moore photography seanmoorephotography.com