17 January 2020
By Mary Bermingham
Later today the ‘Cork Person of the Year’, and the ‘Honorary Corkman Award’ will be announced at a gala awards lunch in Rochestown Park Hotel. Also to be announced will be the newest inductee to Cork’s ‘Hall of Fame’, and a Special Award shall be given to Nationwide’s retiring TV star.
This is the 27th year of the awards and Master of Ceremonies will be top broadcasters Marty Morrissey and Áine Lawlor.
The Cork Person, or Persons’, of the Year will be chosen from the twelve winners of the 2019 Cork Person of Month award winners, who were chosen over the last year.
January – John Dolan
The man behind the Holly Bough newspaper, published every Christmas over the last 122 years. John is head of the team behind this famous Cork institution.
February – Máire Ní Chéileachair
The 2018 TG4 Singer of the Year winner was honoured for her teaching and singing of Sean-Nós, a traditional form of unaccompanied Irish singing.
March – Frankie Sheahan and Norma Murphy
The couple behind the Pendulum Summit, former Rugby International star Frankie and his wife Norma established this International Business and Self-Empowerment summit.
April – Caitriona Twomey
The power behind Cork Penny Dinners. Caitriona serves over 2,000 freshly made meals every week to Cork’s hungry and homeless.
May – Carmel O’Keeffe
Carmel found the Cork branch of ‘Dress for Success’, which provides interview coaching and professional attire for women, helping them to achieve economic independence.
June – Tim Sheehan and Gerard Sheehan
Tim (of Mallow Development Partnership) and Gerard (of the Doneraile, Buttevant, Mallow Community First Responders Scheme) were honoured for the voluntary services which they provide to their communities in North Cork.
July – Dinny Kiely
Dinny is the longest serving member of Cork City Missing Persons’ Search and Recovery team, which conducts searches on land and water.
August – William Hammond and Jim Walsh
William and Jim are the men who run the Cork Folk Festival. They have been running the festival for 40 years, preserving Cork’s rich cultural heritage.
September – Stephen Teap
Having lost his wife to cervical cancer, Stephen became one of leading campaigners on behalf of all those impacted by the CervicalCheck screening failures.
October – James Sugrue
James is the golfing sensation who won the 2019 Amateur Championship. He is the first Irishman to win it on Irish soil.
November – Peter Coppinger and Daniel Mackey
The duo established Cork’s top software company Teamwork, won the EY Irish Entrepreneurs of the Year Award, and won customers around the world.
December – Patrick Horgan
Patrick is a Cork and Glen Rovers stand-out star hurler, who recently won another All-Star award and was nominated for the 2019 Hurler of the Year award.
Hall of Fame – Dr Tom Cavanagh
This year’s Hall of Fame inductee is well known Fermoy Businessman, Philanthropist, Educationalist, Environmentalist, Tom Cavanagh. In the 27 years of the award scheme Tom is only the third Corkman to enter the Hall of Fame. The other past inductees were Ted Crosbie and Fergal Keane OBE. Despite Tom Cavanagh’s great success in Business, he has spent much of his life working for social responsibility and equality. Over the years he has worked in a quiet humble way, never looking for recognition, but has effected great change for his communities. In his youth, as a commerce student at UCC, he was named best sports all-rounder on three occasions, successful in hurling, football, basketball and especially athletics. He has promoted the importance of education and UCC thanked him for his many decades of contribution by naming a bridge in his family name on the grounds of the university. He also established Irish Business Against Litter which literally cleaned up Ireland by establishing a winning formula in anti-litter programmes in towns and cities all over Ireland. In the 1980’s he also established The Tomar Trust, which earned him the Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy award in recognition of his contribution to communities in Munster and the rest of Ireland. This Trust provides support and resources to community groups.
Honorary Corkman – John Bowman
Historian and Broadcaster Dr John Bowman is to be made an Honorary Corkman at the awards lunch, following in the footsteps of previous Honorary Cork Persons Joe Schmidt, Michael Flatley, Jeremy Irons and David and Patsy Puttnam. John Bowman is a very respected political and current affairs broadcaster, with a career spanning many decades, anchoring such TV and radio programmes as ‘Day by Day’, ‘Today Tonight’, and ‘Questions & Answers’. He currently broadcasts every week on RTE Radio 1 ‘Bowman:Sunday’ bringing his selected recordings from the RTE archives. He is also first choice to handle the big Outside Broadcasts covering state events and he also did the TV commentary at the recent Gay Byrne funeral. Indeed Gay Byrne himself, in an interview some years ago, when asked who his favourite TV personality was, said “I have great regard for John Bowman – he has set a very high standard down through the years”. As an acclaimed historian he has written many books including the history of RTE itself ‘Window and Mirror’. Along with his award, John will receive the Republic of Cork Passport and some Cork Crystal.
“Over the years, our awards team have found that Cork people admire John Bowman for his authoritative style and analysis in his coverage of elections and current affairs in general. They like what he says, and they like the way he says it. He is someone that Ireland can be proud of and we in Cork are honouring that with this award”, said awards organiser Manus O’Callaghan.
Special award for Mary Kennedy who has retired from RTE Cork TV programme Nationwide.
A Special Award will be presented to Mary Kennedy at the lunch to mark her retirement from RTE’s Nationwide. Present on the day will be her colleagues Anne Cassin and Nationwide producer Eoin Ryan to talk about Mary’s career. Mary Kennedy is one of Ireland’s best known and best loved broadcasters. Her work covers news, talk shows, open house, the Eurovision song contest, and handling the commentaries on many important state occasions. As well as a 41 year career in radio and TV, she also found time to write many award winning books.
Guest Speakers and participants at this year’s awards lunch will also include Tánaiste Simon Coveney TD; Micheál Martin TD; Lord Mayor of Cork City; Mayor of Cork County; Bishop Paul Colton; Bishop Fintan Gavin; Tom Fitzpatrick, newly appointed editor of the Irish Examiner; Dee Forbes, D.G. RTE; Liam Kavanagh, M.D. Irish Times; Anne Cassin and Eoin Ryan, Nationwide.
The Cork Person of the Year winner will be announced on the day of the Gala Awards Lunch on Jan 17th by the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr John Sheehan and Mayor of Cork County Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan. The award judges will again be the Cork City Chief Executive Ann Doherty and the Chief Executive of Cork County Tim Lucey.
The Cork Person of the Year award organisers are Manus O’Callaghan, Pat Lemasney and Ann-Marie O’Sullivan. Sponsors of the award scheme are the Irish Examiner/The Echo; RTE; Southern; AM O’Sullivan PR; Lexus Cork; Cork Crystal; Tony O’Connell Photography; CAVS; Musgrave MarketPlace.