Ashling Dunphy

from Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, a fourth year student at Comeragh College, motivation for volunteering first came from the negative profile of young people in her town and to alter stereotypes with which young people are often associated.  

In January 2016, Ashling’s town was devastated by Storm Frank and the footage of local families being evacuated from their homes inspired her to help the clean-up operation, and to assist those who had lost their homes, or whose homes had been damaged to start putting their lives back together. Ashling’s initiative started with a post on Facebook and grew to a fully-fledged operation with her leading a team of 11 young people. She worked closely with Foróige and Carrick-on-Suir River Rescue and liaised with authorities in terms of regulations and permission to carry out the work. A huge part of her clean-up initiative was offering comfort and support to those affected, especially the elderly, who named Ashling and her group ‘the Angels in Wellies.’

“Ashling is a very caring and genuine person who only wants the best for people in her own local town and in Ireland,” said Deputy school principal Kathleen O’Donovan Ryan. “She is a true gem and someone very few teachers will ever have the good fortune to encounter in their teaching career. For me, she has renewed my faith in young people and given me hope for the future.