Following eighteen entries, thirteen finalists, four categories and two rounds of judging, Sweeney Oil, was announced by Seán Kyne TD, Príomh-Aoire an Rialtais agus Aire Stáit don Ghaeilge, don Ghaeltacht agus do na hOileáin as the overall winner of Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh for the year ahead.
Sweeney Oil was named as the winner of the ‘Services Category’ sponsored by Snap Galway and they went on to scoop the overall award on the night. Sweeney Oil first entered the Gradam in 2017 and their consistent use of the Irish language has been reflected in them winning their category last year and going on to win it again this year as well as taking the overall award.
The Irish language is proudly displayed on their signage, website, advertising, marketing material, and they have several members of staff who can proudly provide a ‘Seirbhís trí Ghaeilge’. Over the past few years, the Irish language has become an important part of their identity in cultivating their local brand. They also have plans to extend the use of the Irish language to their other petrol stations and oil depots across Connacht.
Other Gradam award winners on the night were:
KD Autoparts winner of the ‘Retail’ Category, sponsored by Galway Bay FM
The Kings Head winner of the ‘Hospitality & Tourism’ Category, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland
Big O Taxis,winner of the ‘Other Companies’ Category sponsored by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh.
Speaking at the Gradam Award, Seán Kyne TD, Govermment Chief Whip and Minister for State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands said: “Tráthnóna inniu, tréaslaím go speisialta leis na gnólachtaí agus leis na heagraíochtaí fuinniúla a bhain an Gearrliosta amach. It’s great to see the increased visibility of the Irish language within your businesses and organisations as well as the positive impact that it has on you, as a business owner, manager, or member of staff in our bilingual city. Molaim an bhéim atá á leagan agaibhse agus ag Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh araon ar an tábhacht a bhaineann le ‘Seirbhís trí Ghaeilge’ a chur ar fáil do na custaiméirí agus dóibh siúd ar mian leo a ngnó a dhéanamh trí mheán na Gaeilge.”
Declan Varley, Group Editor of the Galway Advertiser also spoke at the event and told the finalists that “every time you change your menu, put up a sign in Irish, or say something quirky on social media, you are creating yet another reason why people want to work, live, and holiday here.
“By doing things the Galway way, you are adding to the attraction of the place. Every business who enters this competition is doing its bit to keep Galway unique,” he said.
Cathaoirleach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge, Bernadette Mullarkey said “Is breá an rud é go bhfuil éagsúlacht chomh mór le sonrú ar na dreamanna ar fad a ainmníodh don Ghradam i mbliana; molaim go mór na hiarrachtaí agus an infheistíocht atá déanta agaibh mar aon leis an rún daingean atá léirithe agaibh cuid dhílis de bhur ngnó a dhéanamh den Ghaeilge. Your work is very important to our status as a Bilingual City and is also a positive acknowledgement of the valuable market of Irish Speakers in Galway City and County.”
A reflection of the high standard of entries this year is Bronnadh Speisialta na Moltóirí, a special award designed to acknowledge a businesses who has entered the Gradam for the first time and has achieved a very high standard which could not go unrecognised. Bronnadh Speisialta na Moltóirí, sponsored by Judy Greene Pottery was presented to The Galmont Hotel & Spa.
The Moltóirí also bestowed a University Scholarship sponsored by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh on a business that is making a special effort to promote and use the Irish language with their customers. Galway Volunteer Centre was presented with a two year scholarship on the language acquisition course, ‘An Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge’, a university qualification from NUI Galway.