14 March 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Roos Demol and Breda Keane Shortt have been honoured with the March Cork Person of the Month Award for their efforts to support migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and those in direct provision in Cork. Both play a crucial role in creating equal opportunities for the people of Cork city and county.
Flemish woman, Roos Demol, has lived in the South West Cork region for over 23 years and is known for her voluntary work, helping migrants, refugees and asylum seekers since 2013. Roos is co-founder of ‘Community Dynamics,’ a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, and founder of ‘Recruit Refugees Ireland’, a recruitment social enterprise assisting refugees and asylum seekers seeking employment. Roos is also an active member of the Cork City Sanctuary Movement steering committee, whose work is centred on making Cork a place of welcome, support and safety for refugees. More recently, Roos has been raising funds to buy laptops for residents in Direct Provision across Ireland as part of the Windows4Opportunity campaign.
“Roos Demol is a powerful human rights activist and an advocate for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Roos has spent over twenty-three years working hard on a voluntary basis to improve the lives of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers across Cork and Ireland. We are delighted to honour her with the Cork Person of the Month Award to celebrate her dedication to making Cork a better, safer and more inclusive place for all,” said awards organiser, Manus O’Callaghan.
Also honoured with the Cork Person of the Month award is Breda Keane Shortt, Manager of the Direct Provision Centre, Cork.
Speaking about Breda’s work at the direct provision centre, volunteer and former teacher Seán O’Flynn said, “Since 2017 I have witnessed the dedication, commitment and sheer hard work of Breda managing some 250 residents. It is emotionally exhausting work. Breda is caring for residents that have often experienced extreme trauma and suffering in their native countries. Managing a Direct Provision Centre can sometimes be a thankless job, yet despite all this, Breda and her team provide an exemplary level of care to all residents.”
Speaking about Breda’s work, Manus O’Callaghan said, “Breda’s commitment to improving the lives of those in direct provision is truly inspiring. The present direct provision system is set to end by 2024 according to a white paper issued recently by the government. Breda’s contribution to life in Direct Provision has eased the transition of many to life in Ireland.”
Speaking about the joint Cork Persons of the Month Announcement, Manus added “At this time of year when we celebrate International Women’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day, it’s fantastic to see our Persons of the Month Roos Demol and Breda Keane Shortt working for the New Irish too.”
Roos and Breda’s names now go forward for possible selection as Cork Persons of the Year at the annual Gala Awards Lunch on January 21st, 2022.