Trócaire volunteer Bertie O’hAinmhire from Indreabhán, Co Galway scooped a top prize at the Volunteer Ireland Awards 2022 on December 2.
Bertie, who won ‘Campaigning and Activism Award 2022’ has been a volunteer with Trócaire for the past four years, and is also an activist for the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) and a member of the board of Sadaka.
“Volunteering enables me to do good, to use whatever skill sets I have to connect with and help others,” Bertie said. “It gives me a sense of pride to assist with causes that I’m passionate about. A well-known seanfhocal or old Irish saying comes to mind, ‘Maireann croí éadrom i bhfad’ – a light heart lives long.”
“I worked with the Irish Government for over 40 years and spent time in Geneva and Africa where I came across Trócaire’s work. I promised myself when I retired, I would volunteer with Trócaire because I was so impressed by their work. I have been volunteering with Trócaire now for four years and it has brought me great satisfaction.”
For the past four years, Bertie used his passion for human rights to lobby for change. He contacted local TDs and ministers on Trócaire’s campaigns and on Palestinian issues on behalf of Sadaka. He also campaigned for the Occupied Territories Bill, which was voted in at the Dáil.
Bertie has been involved in Trócaire’s work in schools as well and has introduced Trócaire to the Gaeltacht by translating its materials into Irish. In 2022, Bertie’s biggest project was to translate Trócaire’s ‘Face of Resistance’ exhibition into Irish and get it exhibited in the Gaeltacht. This was a huge task for him and a great success.