Swords Sisters win Allergy NI Young Person of the Year award

Tuesday, 12 January 2010. Swords sisters Louise (17) and Edel (8) Connolly were named winners of the Allergy NI Young Person of the Year Award at a recent awards ceremony, in Belfast, sponsored by safefood.

The two sisters, who attend Loreto College and Holy Family Senior National School in Swords, Co. Dublin, designed an innovative campaign raising awareness around the seriousness of food allergies. Edel, who is allergic to nuts and several fruits, has experienced the potential dangers associated with allergies. Food allergy is an emerging hazard and it is estimated that up to 3% of the population may be living with a food allergy (1).

Their project consisted of giving talks to pupils and teachers in their schools, designing educational leaflets on allergies for children and teenagers, and setting up a website, www.beallergyaware.com, which provides user friendly information, to help create a better understanding of serious allergies and anaphylaxis. In addition, the sisters created cartoon characters of a little girl called Ana who has a nut allergy and her brother Phyl who is very supportive of her. Their surname is Axis, so we have Ana, Phyl Axis.

Winners of the Allergy NI Young Person of the Year award



Pictured right: Sisters Edel (8) and Louise (17) Connolly from Swords, with their parents Cathy and Aidan were named winners of the Allergy NI Young Person of the Year Award at the recent awards ceremony.







Speaking at the Awards Dr. James McIntosh, Chief Toxicologist safefood, commented “Increasing the general level of awareness of food allergies is very important for the protection of those who suffer from them. In this regard, it is very encouraging to see young people like Louise and Edel being proactive in telling people about the dangers. safefood is delighted to be associated with the Allergy NI Young Person of the Year Award which acknowledges the individual efforts made by people to increase the awareness in their communities of food allergies and their effects”.

Maureen Paul, Allergy NI Co-ordinator, commented “Allergy NI would like to thank safefood for supporting the award. It is a very positive and practical way of raising awareness and we praise safefood for their courage and commitment to allergic consumers throughout Ireland. Without their help our young members would not have been able to experience the joy of eating out safely and participate in such a memorable occasion today.”

Louise and Edel Connolly received a silver trophy known as the Jane Mc Veigh Memorial Cup and HMV vouchers. Jane’s younger sister Grace presented the awards accompanied by Cool FM DJ Pete Snodden.


For further information please contact:

Cliodhna Lamont / Susie Cunningham, WHPR 01 669 0030 and

087 925 0874 (Cliodhna) / 087 850 5055 (Susie)

cliodhna.lamont@ogilvy.com / susie.cunningham@ogilvy.com

Notes to Editors:


The difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance is that the immune system is involved in a food allergic, but not a food intolerant, reaction. Coeliac condition is sometimes classified as a food intolerance although the immune system is also implicated in the symptoms (not in the same way as in a food allergy).


1) The prevalence of food allergy on the island of Ireland is estimated at between 2% and 3% based on UK figures quoted in the Food Standards Agency document, ‘Provision of allergen information on non pre-packed foods’ (January 2008), and based on the 2002 population census of the Republic and Northern Ireland. A direct determination of the prevalence of food allergies on the island of Ireland has yet to be carried out.

About Allergy NI

Allergy NI is a local registered charity formed in 2005, to support individuals and families with serious and potentially life threatening allergies by providing education, information, support and campaigning on their behalf. The Allergy NI Young Person of the Year award was created in memory of Jane Mc Veigh, a seventeen year old nut-allergic Belfast girl, who died in December 2006 from anaphylaxis, after eating food that she thought was safe while at a party. The Award is open to all children and young people under 21 years, in an attempt to encourage them to raise awareness of the seriousness of food allergies which may be increasing.