An 11-year-old boy who captured the hearts of the nation through his motivational and heart-warming videos during lockdown, has been named Limerick Person of the Year.
11-year-old Pádraig O’Callaghan from Knockainey, who has Down’s syndrome, won widespread praise and popularity as host of his own show, ‘Paudcast’ which he used to provide tips and advice on how to stay positive during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He began working on his weekly videos with his dad Brian, who says the ‘paudcasts’ were a way to help Pádraig with his communication skills and confidence.
‘Paudcast’ star Padraig O’Callaghan is named Limerick Person of the Year.
— Limerick Council – Comhairle Luimnigh (@LimerickCouncil) April 8, 2022
— Limerick Leader (@Limerick_Leader) April 7, 2022
‘Deserving winner’ Padraig was announced as the winner at a ceremony at the Clayton Hotel, Limerick on Thursday afternoon. It was the first time in three years the event has been able to return to its original format, with monthly winners gathering to be formally honoured.
Such a deserving winner! Congratulations to "Paudcaster" Padraig O'Callaghan on becoming #Limerick Person of the Year 2021, announced earlier @ClaytonLimerick . well done to all! @Limerick_Leader @SouthernLimk pic.twitter.com/uY7QrJqvLG
— Lorcan Murray (@LyricLorcan) April 7, 2022
Down Syndrome Limerick congratulated Pádraig on social media, tweeting the hashtag #DisabilityNotInability:
We’re not crying 😭.
Pádraig O’Callaghan has been named Limerick Person of the Year. So very proud of this young man & his wonderful family. Feel utterly blessed to have you as part of the DSL family. #LimerickPersonOfTheYear #DSLFamily #DisabilityNotInability #InclusionMeans https://t.co/SeyjKwS3t3
— Down Syndrome Limerick (@DSLimerick) April 7, 2022
Speaking at the ceremony, mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Daniel Butler said: “The Limerick Person of the Year event once again showcases the amazing people we have across the city and county who do that little bit extra and help their communities and people in need. It is an amazing credit to each and every one of the monthly winners that you continued with your selfless spirit throughout what was a very difficult year.”
“Congratulations to each and every one of you and special congratulations to the overall Limerick Person of the Year, Pádraig O’Callaghan. What you have done has helped so many people, young and old. Through your words, creativity and wit you have allowed us all to look at our lives at a slighted angle that will allow us to focus on the positives and deal with the pressures of life. You fully deserve being called Limerick Person of the Year,” he added.
Padraig’s videos were published every Monday during the Covid lockdown, and were viewed all over the world from people in need of tips and a dose of positivity.
Pádraig was pictured beaming at the event, and he was absolutely delighted to receive the accolade.
“It’s absolutely sensational. I couldn’t believe it at first and I wasn’t expecting it,” he said.
His father, Brian, expressed how proud he was: “I can’t actually put into words how proud I am of him and his achievements and for him to share the same stage as others who are held in such high esteem is phenomenal.”
Pádraig was congratulated widely online for his ‘effort, energy and enthusiasm’ in his quest to help others and provide hope and inspiration.
— Gerard O'Sullivan (@gosullivan) April 7, 2022
Past winners of the award include the Limerick hurling team, Dr Catherine Motherway, rugby player Paul O’Connell and hockey star Roisin Upton.
It is the 21st year of the awards scheme, which was set up by the Limerick Leader Newspaper to honour the achievements of Limerick people, both at home and abroad.
This year’s 12 nominees were: Pádraig O’Callaghan (motivational speaker), the family of John Fitzgerald (Walk to Perth), Thomond Community College TY Enterprise Group, Draw Out (Street Artists), Jack O’Connor (Youth Leader), HSE Home Support Service, Limerick Olympians (Sarah Lavin, Greg O’Shea, Róisín Upton, Carolyn Hayes), Limerick Senior Hurlers (All-Ireland Champions), Róisin Ní Ríain (Paralympian), Treaty United FC, Ballysteen Carnegie Library Committee, Limerick City Centre Traders’ Association.