A total of 21 awards were presented by Kilkenny Chamber to the high achieving businessess and individuals who have made their mark in 2012. The slick ceremony at Lyrath Hotel saw over 350 guests gather to mark a challenging year for business locally yet a year with many success stories which were celebrated and applauded.
President of the Chamber Donie Butler welcomed all to the ceremony and remarked on the many success stories that Kilkenny business has enjoyed over the years. He paid particular attention to ‘Brand Kilkenny’, referring to the early beginnings of Kilkenny Design Centre on to the present day where our hurlers keep Kilkenny very much to the forefront of national news.
He also referred to the challenging year that Chamber has overcome and thanked businesses for their support.
MC for the evening was John Murray of RTE. There were over twenty awards, and three nominees for each category. Yet the awards ceremony was a smooth operation with the final award, Business of the Year being presented by 11pm.
Guests arrived for the black tie event at Lyrath Hotel for a champagne reception before sitting down to a meal which was broken up by three seperate sections for awards.
The Chamber President, later in the evening presented his own President’s Award to Ned Quinn, who has served as Chairman and Secretary of Kilkenny GAA for over ten years now - a period of outstanding success for Kilkenny. Mr Quinn, in accepting the award on behalf of Kilkenny GAA, said that the present people involved, players, management and officials are just carrying a torch from previous generations, embellishing Kilkenny’s proud tradition and hoped that future generations would continue their work.
There was also the Lifetime Achievement award, which went to George Sherwood for his remarkable performance in retail in Kilkenny for decades. Mr Sherwood senior was unable to attend but his award was accepted by his nephew, George Sherwood.
And there was also the Diaspora Award - a new award this year highlihting the achievement of a Kilkenny person who emigrated and enjoyed success on foreign shores. The significance of thisa ward was heightened, as President Donie Butler referred to The Gethering 2013 and the importance of Kilkenny people inviting home family members from abroad and the boast that would give to the local economy.
Mr O’Donovan, who was honounred by the US government earlier this year for his outstanding achivement in ensuring that his business recovered from the devestating effects of Hurricane Irene, sent a video message to the attendance, graciously accepting the award and pledging to present the award in person to the 2013 winner.
Mr O’Donovan is the owner of the Kilkenny House in Cranford New Jersey - and in his own style issued an open invitation to the gathering to come to the States and call in to a raise a glass. His award was accepted on the night on his behalf by Dr Anne O’Donovan, his sister who is based in Dun Laoghaire.
Guests attending the function were Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, Mayor of Kilkenny Sean o hArgain, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and local TD John McGuinness and County Manager Joe Crockett.
Guest of honour on the night, Minister for Health Dr James O’Reilly was unable to attend and sent his apologies.