THE Tullamore Show and the FBD National Livestock Show were presented with the 2018 Offaly Association (Dublin) Person of the Year award and James Feighery and Shinrone Heritage group were presented with the inaugural Unsung Hero of Offaly/ Community award in the Bridge House Hotel in Tullamore last Saturday.

The gala evening commenced with a drinks reception in the foyer of the hotel followed by a superb meal.

Selection committee secretary, Ger Scully, who was Master of Ceremonies for the occasion, extended a warm welcome to all present and asked Canon Ruth Gill to say Grace before Meal.

Committee chairperson Ann Carey welcomed all, the clergy, Ms. Anne Marie Delaney, CEO Offaly County Council, Deputy Barry Cowen, Cllr. Danny Owens Cathaoirleach Offaly County Council, Cllr Declan Harvey, Cathaoirleach, Tullamore Municipal District and the other public representatives that were present.

She extended a special welcome to the President and Vice-President of the Offaly Association (Dublin), Liam Leogue and Bill Dolan.

She congraulated the winners on the night and had a word of welcome for the previous winners who were present.

Ms Carey concluded by thanking Mr. Noel Tynan of Le Bon Crubeen Restaurant and bar, Talbot Street, Dublin for his ongoing generous sponsorship of the award.

Tommy Byrne, chairman of Offaly GAA County Board, spoke of the bond that existed between the county board and John Flanagan of the Flanagan Group, the 2017 award winner who was also present with his daughter Rosaleen.

“I want to congratulate James Feighery and Shinrone Heritage group on winning the Unsung Hero of Offaly Award and the Tullamore Show and and the FBD National Livestock Show on winning the Person of the Year Award.

“I have attended this award night on numerous occasions and I want to thank the Association for inviting myself and my wife, Jacinta to be present tonight.

“I want to extend best wishes to committee member, Pat Teehan who will take on the role of Chairman of the Leinster Council very soon and wish him continued success,” said Mr. Byrne.

Chairperson of Offaly County Council Cllr. Danny Owens welcomed everyone present and thanked the committee for inviting him along on the night.

“This is the 31st presentation of the Offaly Person of the Year award and I want to say well done to all the previous winners.

“The award winners tonight are Shinrone Heritage Group (Unsung Hero of Offaly) who organised an Ecumenical Service of Remembrance on Sunday, 11 November, 2018 to remember all those from Shinrone and district who served in World War 1

“Tullamore Show is to be congratulated on getting the Person of the Year award. Offaly County Council has a good association with the show and will continue to be associated with it.

“I want to congratulate all those who had the foresight in 1991 to relaunch the show. It is a massive programme organised by a committee of around thirty people who are supported by a huge number of volunteers. The show is an established landmark event in Tullamore and I want to congratulate all involved in winning the award,” said Cllr. Owens.

James Feighery of Shinrone Heritage group spoke about how small number of people decided to hold an Ecumenical Service of Remembrance in Shinrone to pay tribte to the men from the area who had served in the Great War.

“We did not Know what we were doing. We had no sponsorship and no funding and decided to set up a sub-committee.

“I want to thank Canon Ruth Gill for her support and event four months on we are still getting letters of congratulations.

“I want to thank Grant Engineering, Liffey Mills and Offaly County Council and everyone who gave us support and I want to thank Offaly Co. council Heritage Officer, Amanda Pedlow for her wonderful assistance.

I want to thank the media for their coverage and support.

“I want to thank the committee for selecting us and congratulate Tullamore Show on winning the Person of the Year award,” said Mr. Feighery who also gave a very interesting history of the Shinrone area.

Peter Carter selection committee PR then read the citation for the Person of the Year award [See page 12].

Accepting the award, the Chairperson of the Tullamore Show Brenda Kiernan said, “we are very honoured to have heard so many lovely things said about the show. We are privileged to have been selected as the 2018 Offaly Person of the Year.

“We are honoured to have joined the list of so many wonderful recipients of the award. I want to acknowledge everyone who was nominated for the award.

“The Tullamore Show is the biggest one day show in the country. I want to thank Freda Kinnarney (Operations Manager) and Chelsey Cox, the Office manager for all their wonderful work.

“Tonight we cannot forget those people who in 1991 decided to relaunch the show and I am delighted that one of those people, Christy Maye is here with us tonight.

“AIB were main sponsors for fifteen years and that mantle has now been taken over by FBD and I am delighted to see so many of their representatives here tonight. I want to thank everyone who places a trade stall in the show, all the exhibitors, the site owners, the local people. the Gardaí, Offaly County Council, Civil Defence, the hundreds of volunteers and all others who play a vital role in making the show the success it is.

“The Tullamore Show continues to grow and grow and no matter where you are in Ireland and when you say you are from Tullamore, the reaction of the people is the Tullamore Show.

“The show contributes enormously to the local economy, not only on the day of it, but also for weeks leading up to it. Te show is not only about agriculture, it is about all walks of life.

“This is a great award and wonderful recognition of the show and I want to thank Ann Carey and her committee for selecting the Tullamore Show as the 2018 Offaly Person of the Year.

Mr. Scully then extended best wishes for a speedy recovery to the 2016 Offaly Person of the Year, Mr. Pat Smullen.

John Flanagan, in toasting the 2018 award winner said, “it is an honour for me to be here tonight as the 2017 Offaly Person of the Year and I want to thank the committee for selecting me.

“There is a lot of people here tonight who have won the award and continue to come every year to support the presentation night and that is wonderful to see.

“I want to thank Noel Tynan for his ongoing sponsorship of the award and I would encourage you when you are in Dublin to call to his business and give him support.

“I want to acknowledge the Shinrone Heritage Group on winning the Unsung Hero award.”

Mr. Scully brought the formal proceedings of the evening to an end by wishing former recipient, Dr. Philip Brady, who was present on the night, a speedy recovery from his recent surgery.

Other past recipients of the award present at the function included Maura Allen, Matt Connor and John Cleary.

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