GALAS Awards makes triumphant return honouring LGBTQ+ activists and everyday heroes

The GALAS Awards made their highly-anticipated return, with an array of incredible organisations, activists and allies recognised throughout the night.

Winners of The GALAS 2023 Ireland LGBTQ+ Awards posing together in a group shot
Image: Steven Peice

The GALAS Awards made their triumphant return on Saturday, October 7, taking over Dublin’s Mansion House for an evening honouring LGBTQ+ activists and everyday heroes. It was the ceremony’s first edition since pre-covid times in February 2020, with the event sorely missed over the previous two years.

Organised by the National LGBT Federation (NXF) and GCN, the awards were presented in style by dream duo Queen of Ireland Panti Bliss and Mother co-founder Lisa Connell.


The announcement of every nominee and award recipient was met by thunderous applause from the sold-out room of attendees, as the rainbow army showed up in stiletto boots and power suits to celebrate their queer comrades and allies.

If that weren’t enough, the crowd was also treated to entertainment throughout the ceremony from the likes of comedian Shane Daniel Byrne, LGBTQ+ choir Glória and DJ Glamo.

Gloria LGBT Choir performing at the GALAS Awards 2023

There were 13 categories in total, recognising organisations, activities, allies and events. Each award recipient responded with compelling speeches and heartfelt thanks, in what was a truly uplifting occasion.

Perhaps the biggest honour of the night, Person of the Year, was awarded to Beryl Ohas, a Kenyan-born LGBTQ+ activist who works as a cultural mediator with refugees who have newly arrived in Ireland. Having gone through the process of seeking international protection herself as a queer person, she has also spoken out against invasive interview questions and Irish Direct Provision centres.


Beryl was nominated alongside three other incredible individuals, Senator Annie Hoey, El Reid Buckley and Ranae Von Meding.

The full list of nominees and award recipients of the GALAS LGBTQ+ Awards 2023 were as follows:

Community Organisation of the Year (Volunteer Staff)
Equality For Children
Na Gaeil Aeracha
Kingdom Pride in Kerry (Award Recipient)
Small Trans Library

Community Organisation of the Year (Paid Staff)
LGBT Ireland (Award Recipient)
Midlands LGBT+ Project
LGBTQ Development Project (Cumann na Daoine)
Dundalk Outcomers

Volunteer of the Year Award
Lisa Daly (Award Recipient)
Elysha Folan
Daniel Boyne
Morgan Queeney

Event of the Year Award
Bród na Gaeltachta (Donegal Pride Festival) (Award Recipient)
Queer Visibility in Football – Bohemian FC
Sick Pride Picnic – Chronic Collective
Dyke Nite Limerick

Young Trailblazer Award
Christine O’Mahony (Award Recipient)
Morgan Queeney
Ruairi Holohan
Gearoid Folan

Sports Award
Giulia Valentino (Award Recipient)
Pink Ladies Hockey Team
Sarsfield Rugby Team
Sporting Pride

Noel Walsh HIV Activism Award
Plus Friends
Will Kennedy
Karl Hayden
Poz Vibe Podcast (Award Recipient)

Ally Award
Bohemians Football Club
Cork City Libraries Staff (Award Recipient)
Jeanne McDonagh
Trans Family Support Helpline

Outstanding Company Award
Bank of Ireland
SSE Airtricity (Award Recipient)

Employee Resource Group Award
Bank of Ireland – WithPride Network
Boston Scientific Clonmel Pride ERG (Award Recipient)
Dept. of Justice LGBT+ Staff Network

International Activist
Remy Bonny – Forbidden Colours
Yildiz Tar – Kaos GL Association
John Mathenge Mukaburu – HOYMAS (Award Recipient)

Arts & Entertainment Award
Aerach Aiteach Gaelach (Award Recipient)
Dame Stuffy
Leonardo Guerrero – Lollipop Apparel
Pride Poets 

Person of the Year Award
Beryl Ohas (Award Recipient)
Senator Annie Hoey
El Reid Buckley
Ranae Von Meding

We would like to congratulate all the awardees, nominees and everyone involved.


Speaking after the fact, Anna Nolan, NXF Chair, said, “Last night’s event demonstrated that the GALAS is an invaluable gathering for our community, to acknowledge the vital work that happens around the country in promoting equality. I would like to thank all the nominees and award recipients for their unwavering passion and hard work, and congratulate them on their achievement.”

Alongside the awards, the NXF also launched its new strategy for 2023-2026. It sets out the organisation’s mission to connect, celebrate and empower the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland, with key focus areas including creating a new Rainbow Summit to bring together leaders of queer organisations throughout the country, creating new opportunities to foster leadership and develop a new generation of activists, and continuing to celebrate and promote the impact and achievements of LGBTQ+ people and groups through events such as the GALAS.

I am delighted to launch the new NXF Strategy 2023 – 2026,” Nolan commented.

“In 2022, the NXF continued its practice of identifying the key focus for its work, starting with developing a strategy for GCN, and in 2023 developing a strategy framework for all the work of the organisation. With this Strategy Framework, the NXF is now perfectly placed to move into an exciting, refreshed and focused direction.

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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