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The latest winner of the Cork International Hotel Community Spirit Awards has been described as an unsung hero due to her ongoing efforts to help the local community. Mary Foley has been the driving force behind the Passage West Children’s Choir, the Harbour Amateur Dramatic Group, the Sunshine and Smiles Club for children with disabilities and the Passage West and Monkstown Cardiac First Responder group.

Mary has been an active volunteer with St Mary’s Church where she formed and led the Sunday morning choir. During Covid, she videoed all the masses to share with those who couldn’t attend in person and she organised a series of concerts in Fr. O’Flynn Park when restrictions were lifted.

She also founded the local children’s choir who produced a CD in memory of Fr. Con Cronin. All proceeds from the sale of the CD were sent to the diocese of Minna in Nigeria, where Fr. Cronin worked for many years, to help make education more accessible for children.

Mary Foley, Passage West: Winner of the Community Spirit Award for September 2023, sponsored by Cork International Hotel, in association with The Carrigdhoun Newspaper. Pictured are Cllr. Marcia D'Alton, Vincent O'Donovan: Director of The Carrigdhoun Newspaper, next to Mary Foley & her son Jack & daughter Ciara Foley, 15th December 2023. Photo Siobhán Russell

Earlier this year, Mary helped set-up the Harbour Amateur Dramatic Group as well as two new clubs for those with special needs - the Sunshine and Smiles Club is for children aged 8 to 18 and the Friday Night Club is for adults.

As a health and safety specialist, Mary founded the Passage West and Monkstown Cardiac First Responder group, one of the first in the country. She regularly offers first aid training to certification standards and she introduced the Scouts and Guides to basic first aid training as well as supporting the Passage West Pharmacy in delivering a special first aid training night.

General Manager of the Cork International Hotel, Eoghan Murphy said; “Mary’s voluntary work and dedication to her local community is undeniable and her efforts have been recognised by the number of nominations she received. This is what the Community Spirit Awards is all about, honouring people who very generously give their time and commitment to helping others in their local community. Mary’s ability to uplift the community in Passage West and bring people together, while working a full time job and being a mother of two children, is highly commendable. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mary for her relentless spirit and to thank those who nominated her for the award.”

The Cork International Hotel Community Spirit Awards are sponsored by The Carrigdhoun Newspaper and Gerald McCarthy Giftware.

The judging panel for the Community Spirit Awards are made up of a mixture of representatives from the public and private sector within the community.

The judging panel for this award was:

• Carmel Lonergan, Group Director of Operations, Trigon Hotels

• Nicola Radley, Senior Executive Officer, Municipal District Operations & Rural Development at Cork County Council

• Vincent O'Donovan, Publisher of The Carrigdhoun Newspaper

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