Tiarnan wins competition

Award winner 15 year old Tiarnan Cooney, St Michael's Grammar School, Lurgan with, from left, singer Leona Hoey, Alison McNulty, NIABF, Education Minister John O'Dowd, Lee Kane, NIABF, and Ursula Kelleher, Translink. INLM4812-214
Award winner 15 year old Tiarnan Cooney, St Michael's Grammar School, Lurgan with, from left, singer Leona Hoey, Alison McNulty, NIABF, Education Minister John O'Dowd, Lee Kane, NIABF, and Ursula Kelleher, Translink. INLM4812-214
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A LURGAN schoolboy was among the winners in a competition which was part of Anti-Bullying Week.

A special awards ceremony was held at Titanic Belfast for pupils who recently took part in a creative “Everybody is Somebody” competition.

Fifteen year old Tiarnan Cooney, from St Michael’s Grammar School, Lurgan, was the winner in the senior section for creative writing.

Anti-Bullying Week is co-ordinated by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) and supported by Translink. NIABF is an interagency group hosted by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) NI and funded by the Department of Education.

This year’s competition urged children and young people to submit art or creative writing entries using the theme of “Everybody is Somebody”. This may relate to homophobic, disablist, sectarian or racist bullying.

Lee Kane, NIABF’s Regional Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator, said: “For the last number of years we have held a creative competition based on the Anti-Bullying Week theme. The competition provides a really useful channel for teachers to explore issues associated with bullying whilst encouraging young people to consider the serious implications which such behaviour can have on others.

“This year, we received over 1200 “Everybody is Somebody” entries from schools and youth groups across Northern Ireland. It has been an extremely difficult judging process, especially as it was very clear that young people had given a great deal of thought to the wide reaching effects of bullying and this is very encouraging. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part in the competition and congratulate all of today’s competition winners.”

The winners, and a selection of other outstanding entries, are available to view on the NIABF website- www.endbullying.org.uk.

Congratulating the pupils who were awarded prizes for their entries at the launch, Education Minister John O’Dowd said: “The volume of entries to this competition shows that our young people feel strongly that bullying is an important issue. Bullying is damaging to individuals and to their education and I encourage schools and pupils to work together to eradicate bullying. I want children and young people to tell us how to help them. Partnerships like the Anti-Bullying Forum enable children to do this and ensure we find the best solutions to this problem.”

This year’s Anti-Bullying Week was once again supported by Translink. Anti-bullying messages will be disseminated to the public through poster displays at train and bus stations across Northern Ireland.