Goan awarded 'People of Year' award in Ireland

* Milla Hancock has been recognised for her dedicated work towards the Irish Goan community in Ireland * Irish PM praises Milla, Irish Goan community

THE GOAN | MAY 04, 2024, 01:12 AM IST
Goan awarded 'People of Year' award in Ireland

[From F to R] Louise Fenelon, Milla Hancock, Health Minister Steven Donally, Nora Hayden and Ernest Coutinho.


A Goan businesswoman based in Kilcoole-Wicklow has become the first Indian to be awarded the ‘People of the Year Cultural Award’ for the Greystones District outside of Dublin, in recognition of her dedicated work for the Irish Goan community in Ireland.

Milla Hancock, who traces her roots to Arambol, received the award at a function hosted by the Wicklow Times for about 300 guests in the Golf Club, Greystones County Wicklow, on April 25.

Among the dignitaries present included Health Minister Steven Donally, four Teachta Dálas (members of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament) and six councillors of Wicklow County Council. 

When contacted, Hancock said the awards have been presented for the past 30 years to those active in the community.

“There were a total of six different awards and I received the cultural award, the first Goan ever to receive it in Ireland. The award was presented by Councillor Tom Fortune,” said Milla. 

“It was an amazing feeling when I received an official letter by post intimating me about the award. I don’t look for appreciation but it’s nice when people do appreciate you what you do.”

“I received a lot of wishes from Goans in Ireland and also from the Irish people. I’m very happy to receive this award.”

Asked if the award would motivate and inspire other Goans to dedicate themselves towards the betterment of the community, Milla replied: “I really hope other Goans will come forward because what I have noticed in Ireland that Goans usually do not come in the limelight.” 

Describing Milla as a model of successful integration,” Fortune said her boundless energy, ability to organise and her positive “Can do attitude” are among her many talents.

Milla, who has been in Ireland since the last 28 years, has been focussed on Indian Goan community in Ireland through various activities and initiatives.

Praised for successfully integrating in Ireland, the Irish Goan community have been involved in a number of welfare projects, which include raising funds, donating food and clothing, offering services to nursing homes and the homeless.

The local media has stated that Milla’s “diverse contributions highlight her multifaceted role as both a community leader and an entrepreneur, making her a distinguished figure in both the Goan and Irish communities.”

[From L to R] Councillor Tom Fortune, Oscar Hancock, Milla Hancock and Angus Hancock.

Milla has played a prominent role in several events involving the Irish Goan community, especially the Irish Goa Day celebrations, which she has coordinated alongside Nora Hayden.

“Following the success of the inaugural Irish Goa Day in 2023, which drew in about 3,000 people, we are gearing up to elevate the event to new heights this year on June 1. With a focus on celebrating the fusion of our two cultures through food, dance, and music, we aim to make this event even more memorable and impactful,” Milla added.

The Irish Goan community has also been raise funds to establish a unique and affordable community nursing home for the Irish and Goans. 

Milla has also been instrumental in getting the Irish Goan community to organise a number of activities to promote Goan culture.

Irish PM praises Milla, Irish Goan community 

Congratulating Milla Hancock on winning the People of the Year Cultural Award, Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris has also praised the contributions of the Irish Goan community in Greystones District.

In a letter to Milla, Harris, who is also represents Wicklow constituency in the Irish parliament, said: “I am writing to congratulate you on your fantastic achievement in winning the Greystones People of the Year Cultural Award.”

“The contributions that the Irish Goan community has made to Greystones is invaluable, and I have been truly inspired by your dedication to this.”

“Furthermore, I am delighted to hear of your ambitions to establish an affordable nursing home for the Irish Goan community and wish you all the best with this admirable goal moving forward, as well as the continued success of your restaurant,” the prime minister added.

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