Fermoy's Dr Tom to join Hall of Fame

Dr Tom Cavanagh

Bill Browne

The well-known Fermoy businessman, philanthropist, educationalist and environmentalist is to be inducted into the ‘Hall of Fame’ at the Cork Person of the Year gala lunch.

Dr Cavanagh will join Ted Crosbie and Fergal Keane OBE as the only native Corkonians to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the 27-year-long history of the awards scheme.

A successful businessman who once oversaw the largest Ford dealership in the country earning Fermoy the tag ‘the town of 1,000 cars’, Tom Cavanagh also has an extensive business portfolio under his belt and in recent years has become well known for his social entrepreneurship.

Something that awards founder and organiser, Mallow native Manus O’Callaghan said marked Dr Cavanagh as thoroughly deserving of a place in the Cork Person of the Year ‘Hall of Fame’.

“In addition to Tom Cavanagh’s incredible success in business, he has spent much of his life working for social responsibility and equality. Over the years he has worked in a quiet, humble way – never looking for recognition, but has effected great change for his communities,” said Manus.

Over the years Tom Cavanagh’s pursuits have straddled many sectors – from directorships at Warner Lambert, Hudson Chemicals and Fóir Teoranta to the board of AIB, national trustee of the MS Society and patron of the Cheshire Home in Cork.

In his formative years as a commerce student at UCC, Tom Cavanagh was an accomplished athlete, hurler, footballer and basketballer- winning the ‘Best Sports All-Rounder’ award on no less than three occasions.

He has retained a lifelong interest in promoting sports and education and in recognition of this UCC thanked him for his many contributions over the decades by naming a bridge in the grounds of the University in honour of his family.

It stands in tribute to Tom Cavanagh’s relentless pursuit of educational excellence, forward-thinking policies and drive to create a fairer society for all.

The latter was underscored in the 1980s when he and his late wife Marie established the Tomar Trust. The Trust, which has at its core ethos a strong and unwavering commitment to the strengthening of Irish Society, is a major contributor to Irish charities as well as providing support and badly needed resources to a wide variety of community and voluntary groups.

Tom Cavanagh is also the founder and driving force behind Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL), which has helped galvanise the business community into cleaning up towns, villages, waterways and beaches across the country.

Speaking to The Corkman Dr Cavanagh said he was both “thrilled and honoured” to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“It is a privilege indeed to be honoured in such a manner by your own home county and I am very much looking forward to being at the awards ceremony in January,” he said.

Dr Cavanagh went onto praise Manus O’Callaghan for establishing the Cork Person of the Year awards, which he said were a great force for good: “I think that what he has done is a wonderful thing. It encourages people to be their best, which is good for them and for society as a whole. These awards help to increase standards, encourage people to be the best they can be and be more ambitious. That can only be good for society as a whole.”