Former Manager of NUS-USI, Peter O’Neill, has been awarded a National Union of Students Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the student movement in Northern Ireland. Peter O’Neill is also a former President of Queen’s University Students’ Union and originally came from the Dungannon area. NUS-USI President Adrianne Peltz congratulated Mr O’Neill on the award and praised him on his work for students in Northern Ireland down the years.
Peter O’Neill said: “To be acknowledged in this way is rather a humbling experience I must admit, as I know there are so many worthy candidates for this prestigious award. In a sense we are all standing on the shoulders of former student activists who’ve helped build the student movement.
“I see this award very much as a recognition not for myself, but on a much wider level as acknowledgement really of the role that Irish student officers and Irish student unions have played in the development of NUS.
“One of the areas that perhaps I was perhaps most proud of was the development of student community relation programmes in Northern Ireland, where we proactively tried to challenge sectarianism on campus and equip student leaders with the skills to talk perhaps for the very first time about the real divisions that students had here, and to allow students to have a role and a say in building a new political framework for Northern Ireland based on equality and respect.”
President of NUS-USI, Adrianne Peltz said: “I am so pleased that Peter has been given this award and it is brilliant that his outstanding contribution to the student movement in Northern Ireland has been recognised in this way.
“Peter’s leadership and vision has helped make NUS-USI one of the most visionary and successful campaigning groups in Northern Ireland. Students here owe Peter a massive debt of gratitude for his tireless efforts to get the best possible deal for all students. He has also made a tremendous contribution to building a shared future in Northern Ireland and he was a shining light in civic society during the horrific days of the troubles.”