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Big awards event marks the 30th anniversary of the Cork Person of the Year awards scheme

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On January 27th next (2023) the Cork Person(s) of the Year for 2022 will be announced at the 30th Gala Awards Lunch at the Rochestown Park Hotel. 

In addition to the announcement of the overall Cork Person(s) of the Year, from a strong lineup of monthly winners, the awards organisers revealed that several others will receive awards and be celebrated for their contribution to Cork. Other awards may be announced in the coming weeks too.

Mary Crilly of the Cork Sexual Violence Centre will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Mary founded the Cork Sexual Violence Centre 40 years ago. She has done enormous work in the areas of sexual violence, domestic violence, sex trafficking and stalking. Past Hall of Fame inductees are Ted Crosbie (2018), Fergal Keane OBE (2019), Tom Cavanagh (2020), Caitriona Twomey (2021). 

“Mary has also, of course, received the Freedom of Cork City and she has done amazing work over the last four decades in eliminating sexual violence and also changing attitudes and victim blaming in society”, said awards organiser Manus O’Callaghan.

Broadcaster Mike Murphy will be made an Honorary Corkman to mark his long broadcasting career. Mike Murphy is indeed a man of many parts and has led many lives – an actor, a broadcaster, businessman and an expert in the arts. He not only appreciates the arts but is very much an expert in most. Of course, he is best known as a Broadcaster and Entertainer, with award winning shows like the “Live Mike” and his Candid Camera series. Along with Gay Byrne and Terry Wogan he is acknowledged as one of Ireland’s greatest ever Broadcasters and a particular favourite with Cork audiences. 

Tenor Finbar Wright will receive a Cork Supreme Award to mark his glittering career. A classically trained singer Finbar Wright has performed for American Presidents in Washington and in many concert halls around the world from the Carnegie Hall in New York, to the Sydney Opera House, the Hollywood Bowl and throughout Europe. 

Speaking about Finbar Wright, Cork Person of the Year awards founder and organiser Manus O’Callaghan said, “Finbar Wright has been one of Cork’s greatest ever singers and he has represented Cork in a distinguished way around the world. This award is Cork’s way of honouring the man and his achievements and wishing him continued success in the years ahead.”

The Lord Mayor of Cork City, Cllr Deirdre Forde and the Mayor of Cork County, Cllr Danny Collins, will present the recipients with their awards to mark their glittering achievements  to date. They will receive their awards in front of an invited audience of 250 people representing all sectors of Cork society.  

The Masters of Ceremonies at the lunch will be RTÉ presenters Anne Cassin and Marty Morrissey. 

Awards will also be presented to Barry Woods, retired Director of the Irish Examiner, to mark his role as a founding member of the award scheme.  Appreciation Awards will also go to retiring members of RTE, who are long standing award partners of the Cork Awards Scheme, RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes and RTE Commercial Director Geraldine O’Leary. There will be many high profile guest speakers present too, including M.D., of the Irish Examiner & CFO of The Irish Times, Mikey Sheehan. 

The nominees for the Cork Person or Persons of the Year are the following:

JANUARY:  Evelyn Grant for her contribution to music – Cork Pops Orchestra, Lyric FM, music education and music outreach programmes in the community for over forty years.

FEBRUARY:  Sanctuary Runners Graham Clifford and the late Tony Power for fostering solidarity, friendship and respect between Irish residents, refugees and asylum seekers through athletics. 

MARCH:  Broadcast Journalist Brian O’Donovan for his lively and authoritative style as RTE’s Washington Correspondent and book “Four Years in the Cauldron” about modern America.

APRIL:  Deirdre Mortell for her work with Rethink Ireland and contribution to social entrepreneurship and facilitating cash grants and mentoring to Cork charities and non-profit organisations.

MAY:  Keeping Small Traditional Cork Businesses alive and successful –  Shandon Sweet Factory and Angela’s Shop – honours  for owners Tony Linehan and Angela Cantwell, both serving generations of Corkonians.

JUNE:  Charleville Legend, Tenor Kevin Owens, spent decades entertaining through concerts, records, radio, t.v. church choirs and in Croke Park before All-Irelands with the Artane Boys Band.

JULY:  James Leonard and Timmy Long, The Two Norries. Their podcasts and shows help others to break the cycle of addiction and social problems, just like they have.

AUGUST:  Mezzo-Soprano Niamh Caitriona O’Sullivan is a rising star of the opera world in Europe and America. Recent roles included singing with the great Placido Domingo. 

SEPTEMBER:  Founder Kate Jarvey and volunteer Terry O’Neill of Crann Centre for their work in providing solutions for people with neuro-physical disabilities and providing unique outdoor leisure facilities.

OCTOBER:  Dermot Collins of the Béal na Bláth Commemoration Committee for keeping the legacy of Michael Collins alive for future generations, especially in the centenary year. 

NOVEMBER:  Pearse Flynn has run some of the world’s biggest companies – now back in Cork setting up  Green Energy Companies together with many enterprises in his home town of Ballycotton. 

DECEMBER:  Charlie McCarthy was one of the greatest Cork hurlers of his era. After 40 years this gentleman of sport continues to be fondly remembered by Club and County.

Award judges are Tim Lucey, Chief Executive of Cork County Council and Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council.  Award partners are the Irish Examiner, RTÉ, Southern, AM O’Sullivan PR, Lexus Cork, Tony O’Connell Photography, Cork Crystal, CAVS, Cork City Council, Cork County Council and Manus O’Callaghan.  Award organisers are Manus O’Callaghan, Pat Lemasney and Ann-Marie O’Sullivan. 

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