THE FIFTEENTH ANNUAL Rehab people of the year awards in association with the Kilkenny People were launched on Thursday night in the Smithwicks Cellar bar. The Chairman of the organising committee Declan McCann launched the awards ceremony. Mr McCann said that the awards help us to recognise the unsung local heroes. “The purpose of these awards is to people who contribute to our local society,” he said.
Mr McCann thanked the sponsors of the People of the Year Awards with out whom the awards couldn’t go ahead. In particular he thanked, The Mayor and the Chairman of the County Council, the Kilkenny People, Glanbia, Highway safety, State Street, O’Neill Foley, Ulsterbank and Boland and company solicitors.
The Mayor of Kilkenny David Fitzgerald paid tribute to declan McCann for the huge effort he put in each year in organising the awards. He said “Declan has been a guiding light at the end of one ceremony he has started planning for the next ceremony, yourself and brian cody have a lot in common.” Mayor Fitzgerald said that every year he is amazed at the calibre od people who are celebrated by the people of the year awards. He said that each year he scratches his head to think of suitable people but once they are nominated it is obvious that these people should be honoured.
The Chairman of the County Counicl, Paul Cuddihy said that a friend of his Ian Coulter had researched the levels of volunteering in Kilkenny. The research had found that Kilkenny far outstripped national norms. Mr Cuddihy said this shouldn’t be taken for granted and that the people of the year awards was a great way to reward those who gave back to the community such as Mary Cody from Graignamanagh and the great hurler Pat Henderson.
The Regional Manager of Rehabcare, Pat McPhilips said that the money that was raised was vital to continue the work that Rehab do. Mr McPhilips said that in the past the money raised by the people of the year awards used to go to providing extra elements of the care but since the cut backs it is increasingly just used to keep Rehabcare open.