Margaret Brown, a Dún Laoghaire Native, is well known for her work with the ‘Forgotten Irish’ in the UK, helping the now elderly generation of Irish migrants who went to work there in the 1950s some of whom have fallen on hard time. She is always warmly regarded for her Christmas Day lunch at Blackrock Rugby Club, which she has been running with a cadre of dedicated volunteers for over 30 years. The service provides for the those people who are not fortunate enough to have a place to call home on Christmas Day. Margaret and her team ensure that up to 300 people are provided with the best of Christmas lunch every year.
Fr. Shay Cullen, born a Glasthule man, is a Columban missionary priest and the founder of the PREDA Foundation who has been working with who the poorest and most destitute people in urban areas of the Philippines. This small non-profit organisation has a number of purposes which include the promotion and protection of the dignity and the Human Rights of the Filipino people, especially of women and children. Nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize, Fr.Cullen has worked protecting women and children from sex slavery and promoting human rights, peace and non-violence in the Philippines since 1969.
Presenting the awards An Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Cllr Cormac Devlin said “It is a great honour for me as Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to acknowledge and show the appreciation of the County to two of our own citizens for the work that they have done.
Margaret Brown has worked tirelessly over the years on a wide range of issues. She is responsible for the enormously successful Christmas Day lunch which she has run for the past 30 years as well as the St Patrick's Day Coffee Morning for the "Forgotten Irish" living in the U.K. as well as Bethany House which is an organisation that looks after women and children who've suffered domestic abuse. Margaret is a shining example of how people can give of their time and efforts for the good of others. Locally as well she has been the driving force of the Sandycove Tidy Towns. She's been a real asset to her local community.
Fr Shay Cullen hails from Glasthule and internationally he has gone on to highlight human trafficking, long before it came to such public prominence. Working in the Philippines, Shay has tackled the child sex industry and resuming street children from jail and from sex tourism. Again, as Cathaoirleach, it is fitting that his home County of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council would recognise his international humanitarian work and I am delighted that he was home to receive this award.”