Warzone doctor wins Hugh O’Flaherty award

The recipient of the 2014 Hugh O’Flaherty International Humanitarian award is to be the surgeon, Dr John Beavis, the founder of an organisation dedicated to the relief of suffering and poverty in conflict zones.

Dr Beavis, 74, is currently attached to a hospital in Gaza and has dedicated his life to working in conflict zones from Sarajevo to Sri Lanka.

He was one of seven nominees for the annual award, now in its seventh year. Previous recipients have included the late Donal Walsh, Sr Agnes Hunt of the Irish Council for prisoners overseas, and Trocaire’s Sally O’Neill.

An annual memorial week takes place in Killarney, Co Kerry, the home place of the late Monsignor O’Flaherty, a Vatican priest, who is credited with helping thousands of Jewish people escape the Nazis during the Second World War.

A large statue and peace park have been unveiled in his honour in the town.

Dr Beavis is expected to attend the award ceremony in person in November. The keynote speech will be given by Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental.

Dr Beavis, speaking from Gaza, said he was “greatly humbled” and overwhelmed by the announcement.

The chairperson of the memorial committee, Jerry O’Grady said the humanitarian work by Dr Beavis around the globe was exactly in line with the principles followed by the late Msgr O’Flaherty and his ethos “that God has no country.”

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