A well-known former Ardoyne priest has been honoured with community relations award.
Father Gary Donegan was a priest at Ardoyne Holy Cross Church for over 15 years and has been presented with the Annual Community Relations Exceptional Achievement Award.
The Community Relations Council Award recognises exceptional achievement of an individual in promoting intercultural work, community relations, or peace building in Northern Ireland.
Father Gary Donegan said: “For me, the last 15 years in North Belfast have been challenging but also deeply enriching. Hope is so much part of faith and I’m thankful that North Belfast has been a place of great change and hope in recent years. I’m honoured to receive this award from the Community Relations Council.
It is so important that community leaders work in the nooks and crannies of the streets to help people who are dealing with so many difficult issues related to legacy, economic, social and generational challenges.”
The award was presented at the David Stevens Memorial event.
Very Rev Dr Norman Hamilton OBE delivered the David Stevens Memorial lecture on the topic of ‘Reframing Reconciliation’.
Father Gary is now based at the Tobar Mhuire in Crossgar, speaking about his time in Ardoyne, he said: “My soul is in this place, I mean, there will always be a part of me here.”