Friday 6 December 2019

Labour leader, Tanaiste ... and now woman of the year as Joan Burton honoured with Philomena Lee and Joanne O'Riordan

Tanaiste Joan Burton, leader of the Labour Party was awarded the overall Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award. Pic: Paul Sherwood
Tanaiste Joan Burton, leader of the Labour Party was awarded the overall Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award. Pic: Paul Sherwood
Tanaiste Joan Burton, leader of the Labour Party was awarded the overall Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award. Pic: Paul Sherwood
Tanaiste Joan Burton with Joanne O'Riordan Pic: Paul Sherwood
Tanaiste Joan Burton with Philomena Lee Pic: Paul Sherwood
Tanaiste Joan Burton with Philomena Lee Pic: Paul Sherwood
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Tanaiste Joan Burton took a night off from politics to be named Woman of the Year at this year's Irish Tatler awards.

The 65-year-old, who became the first female leader of the Labour party in July, was honoured at a ceremony in the plush Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin.

Others honoured on the night were Philomena Lee and inspiring Cork youngster Joanne O'Riordan.

During Ms Burton's three decades in the Dail, she was the first female finance spokesperson of a major political party and was appointed Social Protection Minister when the Fine Gael-Labour coalition came to power in 2011.

Before entering public life, the mum-of-one was also one of the first women to qualify as a chartered accountant in Ireland.

Ms Burton staved off tough competition with a host of impressive women on hand on the night to collect just 15 prestigious awards.

In a touching moment, Philomena Lee was also celebrated at the ceremony for her bravery in a 50-year search for the son she was forced to give up for adoption .

Ms Lee's life story was depicted by Judy Dench and Steve Coogan in a major film this year.

Ms Burton just last week told the Herald that she kept a copy of The Secret Child of Philomena Lee on her desk in Leinster House.

The Tanaiste, who has spoken openly about her own adoption, was touched when she first learned of Ms Lee's story. At the awards ceremony, Ms Lee was visibly shocked to be given a special achievement award.

Deirdre O'Kane was named woman of the year in the film and TV category. Earlier this year, the actress took on the role of Christina Noble in a film about her life.

RTE's Maia Dunphy nabbed the prize in the entertainment category. Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Emily Logan won out in the Public Life section.

hnews@herald.ie

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News