Mr. Nedal Izdden accepting the International Tipperary Peace Prize on behalf of the Syrian Civil Defence from chairperson of the Peace Convention committee Martin Quinn.
The International Tipperary Peace Prize was accepted this afternoon by Mr. Nedal Izdden on behalf of the Syrian Civil Defence, known as the White Helmets, at an awards ceremony at Ballykisteen Hotel outside Tipperary Town.
A small protest took place outside the venue as the award ceremony was conducted.One protestor,dressed in a green suit and carrying two baby dolls smeared in blood, was ejected from the hotel.No arrests were made.
Accepting the award Mr.Izdden said was humbled and honoured to accept the award on behalf of the White Helmets and his colleagues two hundred of whom had lost their lives trying to save others during the Syrian Civil War.
He said their mission was for all people, was for peace,life and humanity.
"I don't know why anybody would hate us" said Mr.Izdden who issued a plea to politicians all over the world to work to stop the killing and bring peace to Syria.
"We have o ver 3,000 volunteers working every day to save people from the rubble.We hope there is peace and then we can all get back to being doctors,engineers,teachers, students and our normal jobs" he said.
The recipient said the peace award would help east the impact of the psychological wounds felt by members of the White Helmets who had to remove the bodies of men,women and children from under the rubble every day had managed to save over 100,000 people amid the destruction.
"There is nothing good in the war except its ending" said Mr.Izdden,pictured below accepting the prize from Martin Quinn,Peace Convention Chairman.
Chairperson of the Peace Convention committee Martin Quinn said he was very surprised and upset at the level of opposition expressed to awarding the peace prize to the White Helmets.
“The award is a testament to the enormous bravery and courage shown by the White Helmets who have saved more than 100,000 people, while upwards on 200 of the unarmed volunteers have lost their lives while saving others,” said Mr Quinn.
Mr.Quinn said the White Helmets had unfairly become the victims of a smear campaign as a result of a disinformation campaign.M.Quinn said there was no verifiable links between the White Helmets and any Islamic fundamentalist organisation.
Mr.Quinn said the Tipperary Peace Covention would not be presenting a peace prize to groups that would have any links or association with terriorism.
In recent weeks, numerous groups and individuals including former MEP Patricia McKenna have voiced their concern about awarding the prize to the White Helmets.
The ‘Irish Socialist Republicans’ were among the groups involved in the protest at the Ballykisteen Golf Hotel on Wednesday.
Dathai Riain, of the Anti Imperialist Action Group, said the White Helmets were funded by British military intelligence and only operated in some areas of Syria that were controlled by Al Qaeda.
Representatives of the Government, Diplomatic Corps, Gardaí, Defence Forces, Irish Air Corp were in attendance along with representatives of the Syrian Community in Ireland and the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement.
UNHCR Ireland, Irish Refugee Council, UNICEF, Front Line Defenders were represented at the ceremony. First responders from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Irish Coastguard, Dublin Fire Brigade, Irish Army and Civil Defence also attended.
Picture Credit - The SmallBusiness Fairy Ltd