Fine Gael MEPs Seán Kelly, Mairead McGuinness, Brian Hayes and Deirdre Clune have congratulated Ireland's leading youth organisation, Foróige – which officially received the 2017 European Citizen's prize today (Wednesday), following a successful joint nomination by the MEPs. Sandra McIntyre, Foróige National Chairperson, and Seán Campbell, CEO of Foróige, accepted the award at the European Parliament in Brussels this afternoon.
Leader of the Fine Gael Delegation, Seán Kelly congratulated Foróige on its "tremendous work supporting and encouraging young people across Ireland".
In nominating the organisation, the Fine Gael MEPs highlighted Foróige's efforts in working with over 50,000 young people aged 10-18 through volunteer-led clubs and youth projects all across Ireland. In particular, the MEPs highlighted the Youth Citizenship Programme, which has been a core part of Foróige’s work for almost 50 years: “Over 10,000 young people have participated in the Programme in the last three years, empowering them to make a positive impact in their community and strengthening their connection to their local area.
“Participants research their community’s needs and organise practical action in response. They engage with a wide network to achieve their goals: local businesses, churches, local councils, charities and schools. Their projects cover equality, the arts, mental health, and inclusion. Past projects have included promoting physical fitness in the local community, highlighting positive mental health among young people, improving access for wheelchair users to local buildings and helping those impacted by flooding through clean-up operations and delivering much-needed supplies.
“Foróige is an organisation that works tirelessly in communities with young people for the benefit of all. It deserves to be recognised,” they added, in officially proposing Foróige for the accolade.
The Fine Gael MEPs further congratulated Border Communities Against Brexit which also received a medal alongside Foróige at the prize ceremony today. The European Citizen's Prize recognises individuals or organisations that promote cross-border cooperation, mutual understanding and EU values.