By Conor Brummell
Former President of the Union of Students in Ireland, Síona Cahill, has joined the President’s Award Gaisce team as head of Public Affairs and Communications. With over six years’ experience in advocacy, campaigns, and public affairs, Síona has been described as a perfect addition to the young people’s award. She was shortlisted alongside activist Greta Thunberg in the Women of Europe Awards in 2019 and is a recipient of an NXF GALA for her work on LGBT+ advocacy.
Ms Cahill is also a graduate of BCL Civil Law and Sociology at Maynooth University. She has previously sat on the Department of Education’s expert group on consent at third level, on the Department of Justice and Equality’s steering group on the strategy for Women and Girls, as well as contributing to Ireland’s first LGBTI+ Youth strategy. She spoke to SIN about her appointment to the position, and how her previous advocacy work will help in her new role.
“The power of the youth voice has been at the heart of my career to date across the charity and NGO sector, from access to education to youth advocacy, to reaching marginalised and under-represented groups, said Siona.
“I am so excited to join a dynamic team with Gaisce – The President’s Award led by Yvonne McKenna, CEO. 2020 has been a fiercely challenging year for young people; and strong mentorship, educational programming and support needs to be visible and accessible to them regardless of where they live or their means.
“The Gaisce Award is an opportunity to challenge yourself through personal skills development, physical recreation and community engagement, and thousands of young people are doing incredible stuff at every corner of the country right now – I can’t wait to share their stories with the world,” she finished.
CEO of Gaisce – The President’s Award Yvonne McKenna welcomed Síona’s appointment, remarking that she was ‘delighted’.
“I am delighted that Síona is joining our staff team to lead on Gaisce’s public affairs and communications. She has already set an ambitious agenda to engage with public representatives and those working for and with young people across the country to enhance the experience of Gaisce – The President’s Award and encourage more young people to participate in Ireland’s leading youth self-empowerment programme.”
“Síona will play a leading part in driving our public facing activity and we are delighted to have her on the team.”
The Chair of Gaisce – The President’s Award Council, John Cunningham also stated, “I am so delighted to have Síona join our team – her values, energy and professional expertise has already had an impact, as we trended across the day for ‘Lá Gaisce’ celebrating over 20,000 young people participating this year so far.
“Gaisce – The President’s Award is so important as we all fight Covid-19, and Síona is going to help bring that message to the widest audience using her skill and wealth of experience representing young people,” he finished.