Galway honours its finest at People of the Year Awards
Attending the Galway People of the Year Awards night in the Galway Bay Hotel on Friday (seated l-r) Mayor of Galway Thomas Welby, Mayor of Galway City Terry O'Flaherty, Betty O' Flaherty, Liam Cullinane, Della Dolan and Michael Kearney. (Standing l-r) Kevin Clancy of Rehab, Gerald and Billy Lawless, Fr Sean Kilcoyne, Anthony Killarney, Marie Cahill, John Concannon, Marie Arrigan Langan, Charles Lynch and Olga Farrell. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy
More than 400 people gathered in the Galway Bay Hotel last weekend for the presentation of the annual Rehab Galway People of the Year Awards. The attendance included Mayor of Galway Cllr Terry O’Flaherty and County Mayor Tom Welby, as well as Minister of State Ciaran Cannon and other public representatives.
Those who were honoured with awards included Liam Cullinane who as a young man joined the French Foreign Legion where he was a trained diver and skydiver.
Dr Ken Kaar and Olga Farrell, who received a joint award have both done Trojan work for The Children of Russia charity, both in fundraising for the restoration of orphanages in Russia and Siberia and the facilitation of the adoption of over 100 children for Irish couples.
Another winner was 90-year-old Fr Sean Kilcoyne who prior to being ordained, served in the army and worked in Telecom Eireann for 40 years. After thirty years of marriage and the death of his wife, he was ordained as a priest at 66 and is now the chaplain in the Bons Secour Hospital, Galway.
Tuam business man John Concannon was honoured for his innovation and business success as well as for his great work for charity, in particular with the Pieta House campaign.
Retired CEO Galway County and City Enterprise Board CEO,Charles Lynch also received an award for his professional and voluntary contribution helping others.
Claregalway native and former salesman and now chairman of the Carlton Hotel Group Michael Kearney, was also a recipient for his charitable work.
Another winner was Anthony Killarney, a native of Ryehill, Monivea, who worked in various engineering roles before setting up a company in a backroom in his home in Maynooth Today he employs over 500 people and one of his companies is the largest contractors for the mobile telecom industry in Ireland. He also continues to support many worthy causes and has never forgotten his Galway roots.
Marie Cahill is the chairperson of the Galway Parkinsons Society and was acknowledged for her contribution and great service to the association.
Della Dolan’s name is now synonymous with the Tuam Tea Dances which have raised raised over €500,000 for many causes over the years and are still going strong.
Mervue-native Betty O’Flaherty from Forster Court in Galway who is well known throughout Galway City for her collections and fundraising also received an award.
The International Award was presented jointly by the city and county Mayors to city natives Billy and Gerard Lawless. Billy is based in Chicago where he has a thriving pub and restaurant business and works tirelessly and voluntarily for the Irish in his adopted city. His brother Gerald who is based in Dubai and is executive chairman of the luxury Jumeriah hotel group has also maintained his links with Ireland serving many different causes
The group award went to the Octopus swimming club, a team of volunteers who specialise in helping people with disabilities.
Following the presentations Ollie Robinson of Rehab paid tribute to all the winners, saying they had done themselves, their county, and their community proud both at home and abroad. These were people who had brought joy and light to the lives of others People who have shown strength and courage in the face of adversity and he hoped those awards would give further recognition to their many fine achievements.