Wednesday 12 December 2018

'These awards celebrate Cork's greatest asset - its people'

Cork’s ‘Mr Soccer’, John Caulfield scooped the November award
Cork’s ‘Mr Soccer’, John Caulfield scooped the November award
Sr Philomena O’Sullivan from Lombardstown won the June award

Bill Browne

Now in its 25th year, The Cork Person of the Year Awards scheme was founded by  Manus O'Callaghan, who sought to find a way to recognise the outstanding achievements of people from across the city and county.

 The spirit of the awards was perhaps best summed in an eloquent speech delivered by Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D Higgins at the 2013 Cork Person of the Year gala lunch. 

"These awards were established by Manus O'Callaghan in a spirit of optimism and out of a genuine belief in the resilience of the citizens of Cork; a belief in their determination, their persistence and their refusal to give in to the gloom and doom that pervaded the mood of Cork at the time," said President Higgins. 

"For more than two decades, and in an ever changing Ireland, the people of Cork have been proving Manus right time and time again," he added. 

Even a cursory look at the award winners over the years tells you that it is not just the internationally famous like Roy Keane, Adi Roche and Sonia O'Sullivan who have been honoured for their life's work. 

What has shone through is the fact that the ordinary people of Cork who do extraordinary things for their community, often with little or no formal recognition, can also be winners.   

Something that Manus said has been a key driver behind the whole initiative. 

"The writer Alex Haley lived his life by the phrase: 'Find the good and praise it'. I had those very words in mind when we established this scheme way back in 1993," said Manus. 

"These awards celebrate Cork's greatest asset - its people," he added.