St Patrick’s Missionary Fr Gabriel Dolan was honoured yesterday for his Human Rights work and received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad. The award was presented to Gabriel by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. The ceremony took place in in Áras an Uachtaráin, and was followed by a dinner hosted by the Tánaiste, with the Minister of State for International Development and Diaspora, in Dublin Castle.
Fr Gabriel is dedicated to upholding the rights of the vulnerable in Kenya. Originally from Co Fermanagh, he was ordained in 1982 and was appointed to Kenya. He worked in the remote arid northern region of Turkana (during the severe famine years of 1979-1981), and later worked in the West Pokot region before moving to Mombasa where he has ministered since 2008.
In Mombasa, Fr Gabriel set up the human rights organisation Haki Yetu (“Our Rights” in Swahili), which advocates for the rights of marginalised communities living in informal settlements in the city. Haki Yetu defends vulnerable, landless people and victims of forced evictions and historical land injustices. The organisation also advocates for gender inequality and works on behalf of the rights of survivors of gender-based violence, as well as older persons accused of witchcraft.
Congratulations to Gabriel for this well-deserved recognition of his work for human rights, justice, peace and reconciliation over many years.