Twelve Irish-Australian women were honored in Sydney last Friday for their achievements in politics and the trade union movement in the first ever Brigid Awards.
Winners of this year’s awards include Susan Ryan, former Australian senator and the country’s first age discrimination commissioner; Ursula Stephens, Wicklow-born former Australian senator and president of the New South Wales Labor Party; and Karen McKeown, mayor of Penrith, the Irish Times reports.
This is the first year the awards ceremony has been held. The event is named after St Brigid, whose feast day falls on Feb. 1 and who represents strong, independent women.
The Irish Friends of Labor, the group organizing the event, said that next year the award will be broadened out to include Irish-Australian women active in sports, business and the arts.
“Women of Irish heritage have contributed enormously to making Australia what it is today. These awards are about recognizing that work but it is also about encouraging a new generation of women to participate and contribute,” said Senator Deborah O’Neill, patron of the Irish Friends of Labor.
The Irish Times reports that money raised from the event will go towards supporting women candidates running for the Australian Labor Party during the upcoming general election, which must be held in or before January 2017.
Here are this year’s winners:
The Hon Susan Ryan, Age Discrimination Commissioner and former Australian Labor Party senator
Dr Tricia Marie Kavanagh, former deputy president of the Industrial Relations Commission
Ursula Stephens, former member of the Australian Senate, former president of the NSW Australian Labor Party
Kayee Griffin, former member of NSW parliament upper house
Siobhan Armson-Graham, Young Labor activist
Jude Cooke, Blue Mountains trade union activist
Anne Faraday, Goulburn Australian Labor Party activist
Dee Madigan, Creative Director of the 2013 Federal Australian Labor Party and 2015 Queensland campaigns
Karen McKeown, Mayor of Penrith
Tara Moriarty, secretary of the Liquor & Hospitality Division of United Voice NSW and senior vice president of the NSW Australian Labor Party
Patricia Okon, Order of Australia recipient; longstanding community and Australian Labor Party activist
Noreen Solomon, longstanding Australian Labor Party activist and candidate.