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Who will be cork person of the year

Thursday, 10th January, 2013 12:00am

On Friday week a star-studded audience will gather to honour Cork's person of the year. The Cork Person of the Year Awards lunch take place on Friday 18 January at the Rochestown Park Hotel.This is the twentieth year of the prestigious awards and organiser Manus O'Callaghan thinks that the awards are more important in hard times. The awards were founded in 1993 in a similar economic environment to honour achievement and celebrate success so that others may be inspired to follow, he said. “Back in the early '90s, like today, the media was full of doom and gloom due to the economic situation, so I decided to establish a vehicle to deliver the good news stories, and the people behind them. Our award scheme continues to celebrate Cork's greatest asset, our people,” said Manus O'Callaghan.   President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina, Lord and Lady David and Patsy Puttnam, will attend the event, which will be emceed by RTÉ's Maura Derrane and MEP Brian Crowley.The Lord Mayor and County Mayors, the City and County Managers and Bishops John Buckley and Paul Colton will also be among the 250 invited guests.“The awards has survived 20 years, which we are proud of and we are delighted that we are still here. We will try and make the twenty first year a special one too,” said awards organiser Manus O'Callaghan.

Among the nominees for the overall title are March winner Mary O'Donovan of Scoil Mhuire for her long contribution to education in Cork, April winner Fr Pierce Cormac and Bill Deasy for their work on the 28 day search for five fishermen off Union Hall.

May's winner Ann Doyle Spillane was nominated for providing support for women affected by cancer while July's nominee was Paul Brierley for leading the restoration work at Camden Fort Meaghar, Crosshaven.

August belonged to Joanne O'Riordan, who has made a huge impact at home and abroad.

Steve Redmond has done the same in swimming and he took the September gong.

Pio Fenton of the Samaritans was the October winner while author Alice Taylor, whose new book helps people deal with bereavement, was November winner.December winner was Jason Sullivan who created the internet sensation Sminky cartoons.

This year, a new separate award will also be presented, of Honoury Corkman and Corkwoman. It will be presented to Lord David Puttnam and his wife Lady Patsy Puttnam for their contribution to Cork. Manus says: “They have lived in West Cork for over 20 years and always promoted the region around the world, to local tourism's benefit. They have also been community activists, helping many artistic and charitable causes.” National awards scheme

Manus O'Callaghan says Ireland should also have a national awards scheme. “I do appreciate that people fear cronyism in any national awards scheme, and no Government can proceed without all-party support, but we should at least start the debate now, about establishing a state honours system,” said Manus O'Callaghan.

“We are missing out on an important marketing opportunity for Ireland, when we leave it to other countries to honour our national achievers. People like Seamus Heaney, John Hume, Terry Wogan, Bob Geldof and others have been honoured by other countries, so the goodwill and recognition for Ireland that these icons bring, is lost,” he added.

To nominate someone for a Person of the Month award in 2013, contact Manus O'Callaghan, c/o Southern, 9 Eastgate Avenue, Eastgate Business Park, Little Island, Cork or email manus@southernad.ie.

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