Colm Murray, the RTÉ sports broadcaster, was honoured on Saturday (September 15 ) at the 2012 Rehab People of the Year Awards “for his courageous, inspiring and moving response to a devastating diagnosis of motor neurone disease, and for his inspirational efforts in speaking out about the condition, the difficulties faced by those affected by it, and the need for a cure”, according to Angela Kerins, chief executive, Rehab, and chairperson of the adjudication committee.
Colm’s daughters Kate and Patricia accepted the award on his behalf at the prestigious honours event from their father’s former colleague RTÉ newsreader Anne Doyle, and 2000 People of the Year Award winner, and champion jockey Ruby Walsh at the Citywest hotel in Dublin.
For over 20 years, Colm Murray has been the face and voice of Irish racing, giving audiences the inside track on the form, the odds, the going, and the gossip.
Colm has always loved horses and the industry that surrounds them – the trainers, the jockeys, the meetings, and the tracks.
He has also had a deep affection for the Paralympic movement, and was the first news reporter from RTÉ to cover the Paralympic Games, when he travelled to Sydney in 2000.
In March 2010, Colm’s life was to enter a new chapter when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, and for those who knew him, it was probably not surprising he wanted to return to work, often reading reports from behind a desk while sitting in his wheelchair.
In January of this year, in a deeply moving documentary entitled “MND - the Inside Track”, Colm brought the nation on his journey of living with motor neurone disease with great honesty and openness, seeking to inform and educate, and to help those in a similar position.
For Colm, it is his most “fervent wish that the coming years will see giant steps forward in the battle to find a cure. It gives me something to hope for”.
Guest of honour at the awards, now in their 38th year, was An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and they were hosted for a sixth year by Gráinne Seoige.
The awards provide a unique opportunity for the Irish public to honour heroic, inspiring, and selfless acts by individuals and communities alike, and are Ireland’s answer to an honours system. The winners are nominated by members of the public through a nominations process and finalised by a panel of adjudicators.
Other recipients at the ceremony included Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor; Garda Ciarán Jones, who drowned in Wicklow trying to protect others; Dr Tony Scott, co-founder of the Young Scientist competition; and Maeve Flaherty of Ballinteer, Co Dublin, as Neighbour of the Year.