22 November 2013

Minister hails “extraordinary” Clondalkin film festival to promote mental health

Local T.D. Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, said she was “proud and privileged” to launch the “extraordinary” second annual youth-led CAST Film Festival on Mental Health in the Green Isle hotel, Clondalkin this week.

Speaking after the event, the Minister said: “tonight’s ceremony showcased 15 short films - shortlisted from 40 entrants - made by students from across Ireland highlighting issues around mental health.

"Organised by teachers and students from Collinstown Park Community College, Clondalkin, the glitzy awards ceremony was attended by hundreds of students, with prizes being presented by luminaries such as
Rachel Collier (CEO, Young Social Innovators), Orla Barry (CEO, Mental Health Ireland), Natalie Hodges (Director, SOS Ireland), Fair City stars Jim Bartley, Tony Tormey and Clelia Murphy, Love/Hate star Aaron Heffernan and Irish director Paul Cusack, as well as executives from the Vodafone Ireland Foundation.

"In my work as Minister, I am acutely aware that the best and most effective policies to improve the lives of young people are those in which policymakers have actively listened to young people, and taken their opinions and feedback on board. And extraordinary events such as this one demonstrate just how much our young people have to say, and how much they have to contribute.

"A special award was presented by Fionnbar Walsh, the father of Donal Walsh, the extraordinary young man who passed away in May of this year. Donal wrote eloquently and passionately about his struggle against cancer and how important it is to live life to the full. The name of the award presented in his honour, says it all: it is called the LiveLife Award. Tonight’s awards celebrate life, and the importance of good mental health to the busy lives we lead in Ireland today.

"I wish to extend particular congratulations to Noel Kelly, the Collinstown teacher whose energy and enthusiasm made tonight happen, and Collinstown’s principal Pauline Duffy, who supported Noel’s efforts whole-heartedly.

"Above all, I wish to thank the young people for their amazing effort, creativity and ingenuity. You are changing the way we think about mental health," the Minister concluded.