TRIBUTES have been paid to an innovative businesswoman who has been honoured by the Order of Innisfallen for the contribution she and her family have made to the economy of Killarney and the greater Kerry area for over half a century.
Dr Isolde Liebherr, whose company is one of the leading employers in the country, has been formally recognised for her ongoing contribution to Killarney which has reaped enormous commercial and social benefits through her innovation, dedication and generosity.
Dr Liebherr, the joint managing director of Liebherr Container Cranes Ltd, has been inducted into the prestigious Cairde Chill Airne Order of Innisfallen which is the highest honour the town of Killarney can bestow.
Dr Liebherr was honoured at a ceremony hosted by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and Killarney Town Council in the 19th Century Muckross House on Thursday and later she was guest of honour at a gala black tie ball hosted by the Chamber and the Kerry branch of Irish Hotels' Federation.
The Liebherr plant in Killarney, a global leader in container crane production since 1958 and the longest established multi-national in the country, employs 630 people with another 275 jobs created through its three sister hotels in Kerry.
It is estimated that the Kerry plant is worth in excess of €30 million to the local economy, in wages and supplier benefits, every year.
The group also recently purchased an 18-hole championship golf course from Killarney Golf and Fishing Club for an estimated €6 million.
Dr Liebherr, whose late father, Hans, founded the company in his native Germany in 1949, before setting up in Killarney nine years later, now runs the group's global operations with her brother Willi.
Dr Liebherr said the company had a long-term commitment to Killarney and to investing in its interests locally with planning permission already secured for a €30 million expansion project.
She said her late father fell in love with Killarney when he first visited in 1958 and he always retained a great affection for the town and its people.