People of the Year awards honour Yes Equality campaign

The awards seek to acknowledge the inspirational work done by Irish individuals

Yes equality, Ireland, people of the year awards

Image: Peter Morrison / AP/Press Association Images

The team behind the Yes Equality campaign have been named as the Community Group of the year at this year's People of the Year Awards.

Although the award is normally given to a smaller, local community group, the decision was taken to acknowledged that a grassroots campaign that had brought several groups together to initiate a process of change to the country as a whole.

Yes Equality put in months of campaigning to back a Yes vote in this year's same-sex marriage referendum. Through events, social media, phone calls, door-to-door visits and more, they proved instrumental in building support for the 34th Amendment.

The amendment was approved by referendum on May 22 by a margin of 62% to 38%, making it the first time any country had voted to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote.

Crowds thronged the courtyard of Dublin Castle during the day, and after the result was announced thousands poured into the streets of Dublin to celebrate the momentous occasion.

Other winners tonight included International Persons of the Year Fr. Brendan McBride and consul general in San Francisco Philip Grant, who provided support to the families of students involved in July's tragedy in Berkeley, California, when an apartment balcony collapsed, killing six and seriously injuring several others.

Former President Mary McAleese presented the award, and read a joint statement from some of the families of the victims. 

Stephanie Roche also presented Fadhila Haji with an award for her involvement with sport against racism in Ireland, while Daniel and Majella O'Donnell presented an award to the couple behind charity Hugh's House, Ade Stack and Marty Curley.

The Young Person of the Year was presented to Aoibheann Mangan and Padraic Godwin, who set up the website to inform children about the importance of farm safety. 

The People of the Year Awards, organised by Rehab, have been running for 41 years, and have recognised those who enrich the lives of others through their bravery, perseverance, talent and generosity.