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Limerick Prison head teacher recognised for President's Award Leader work Limerick Prison head teacher recognised for President's Award Leader work

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Limerick Prison head teacher recognised for President’s Award Leader work

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Limerick Prison head teacher recognised for President’s Award Leader work. Gaisce Acting Chief Executive Avril Ryan, Anita Dooley of the Limerick Prison Education Service, and Chairman John Cunningham. Photo: Maxwell’s

Limerick Prison’s head teacher has received special recognition from Gaisce for her work as a President’s Award Leader (PAL) with young people.

Limerick Prison head teacher Anita Dooley was one of 34 PALs to receive a Civic Merit Award for her support and leadership of young people through Gaisce.

The Limerick Prison head teacher said the Gaisce programme has helped people “move away from that stereotype that they’re in jail and they’ll never do anything else”.

“This is our part and parcel of that move. Gaisce is, it’s like it’s intrinsic in that change in Attitude both from the prisoners staff the prison as a whole, it becomes an achievable goal,” she said.


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Ms Dooley said the programme gives prisoners a “talking point” that when people leave prison, “if they go into a job and someone says ‘my kid is doing Gaisce’, they automatically say ‘I did that, I got the medal'”.

The Civic Merit Awards presented to PALs is a recognition for Gaisece leaders who have been mentoring in the programme for more than five years, The Limerick Prison head teacher’s journey began “five or six years” after starting in the prison in the Midlands in 2001.

She noted it was her colleague “Catherine Casey who started the Gaisce in the Midlands and it exploded so I ended up having to step in and help her and it became a huge success”.

Speaking at the event, Avril Ryan, Acting CEO of Gaisce said they were delighted to celebrate their PALs.

She said, “Their dedication to the principles and outcomes of the Gaisce programme ensures the continued value society places upon the personal development and well-being of young people and their achievements, whilst also promoting Gaisce’s vision that young people have every opportunity to dream big and fulfil their potential.”

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