Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Award for suicide charity backer

John Concannon from Pieta House, Mairead Sorensen from Butlers Choclates and Paul Ryan from Chair Vodafone Ireland with their awards

A businessman who began supporting a suicide prevention charity after appearing on television has been named philanthropist of the year.

Secret Millionaire star John Concannon has worked tirelessly over the last two years to open a Pieta House for people in crisis in the west of Ireland.

The charity is aiming to have a service within 100 kilometres of every person in Ireland.

The Community Foundation for Ireland awarded Mr Concannon for finding a premises in his hometown of Tuam, Co Galway, and raising the 250,000 euro needed to run it for a full year.

"Suicide is rampant in the west and something needs to be done about it," he said.

"If this helps to save one person then it's a job well done. That's all we are trying to do."

The plastic manufacturing tycoon revealed Pieta House West should be up and running in April after planning permission for renovations were approved in recent weeks.

It will serve people at risk of suicide across Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo.

Elsewhere, Mairead Sorensen, chairwoman of Butlers Chocolates, was named international philanthropist of the year for her work with the Hope Foundation in Kolkata.

Vodafone Ireland Foundation was corporate philanthropist of the year for the World of Difference programme.

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