Pee McHugh and Andy McGovern, Leitrim Guardian People of the Year joint winners last year, pictured with Noel McPartland, the previous year's winner and Blaithin Gallagher, Editor.
Bláithín Gallagher, editor of the Leitrim Guardian 2021 is delighted to oversee the handover of the trophy to Peter McHugh and Andy McGovern, the two home based recipients of the Leitrim Guardian People of the Year award, 2021, by Noel McPartland, recipient of the 2020 award.
She said, “Both these men have many things in common. Each have met with serious adversity in their lives. Many of us, in the face of such adversity may focus on ourselves to try to gain and maintain the momentum necessary to keep functioning in society and that, in itself, occupies our time fully.
“Our society creates many disabling barriers, which impact on not just the quality of life of people with a disability, but also on the ability of people with disability to engage in everyday pursuits, which many take for granted. These two men recognised from their own experience that they could help others if they could find a way to facilitate the provision of the right supports.”
Peter McHugh and Andy McGovern are founding members of Leitrim Association of People with disabilities (LAWPD). In 2018, Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. LAPWD is an organisation that protects and reaffirms these rights in Leitrim.
Andy and Peter are in their 80’s and have maintained a strong friendship down through the years. Both of them are fathers of six children, are widowed and have farmed the land. Both acquired their disabilities.
Andy McGovern was diagnosed with Motor Neuron disease in 1978. He is one of the longest living survivors of the illness and is severely impacted by the disease.
Peter McHugh had a serious farm accident in 1990, in which he lost an arm and the use of one of his legs. The similarities between the two men do not end there, as both men have shown enormous determination, spirit and courage in the face of all these challenging setbacks. Both have been lifelong readers of the Leitrim Guardian and are very interested in all facets of life in their beloved Leitrim.
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