Family Time: Me with my wife, daughter & son at my President's Dinner last Friday night Our sold out annual President’s Dinner and the inaugural Limerick Region Business Awards took place last Friday night at the Strand Hotel. And oh what a night! A true celebration of all that is good and positive about Limerick!

Our guest speaker Finance Minister Michael Noonan was unable to attend. I read out his letter explaining his disppointment in not being able to join us as he had to be in Brussels.  Everyone applauded him as we all know where Michael’s heart is and we all knew that affairs of state had to come first. However Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Richard Bruton attended in his place and delivered a very positive and uplifting message of the policy measures he and the government are taking to ensure that a pro-business environment is created and that enterprise growth and job creation are at the centre of all decision making.

With over 400 people in attendance this was by far the largest gathering and celebration of business in the Mid-West Region. This year we incorporated the inaugural Limerick Region Business Awards into the President’s Dinner – a decision which under-pinned our celebratory message!! Because the night really showcased the best that business has to offer in Limerick and highlighted to the packed room the fantastic, innovative and successful businesses that are operating in the region. From almost 100 nominee companies, 21 shortlisted companies were profiled on the night and the winners of the seven award categories were announced.

I said it on the night and I’ll probably be saying it for a long time to come, but the standard of applicants for the awards this year was overwhelming. The judging panel were blown away by the vision and leadership of entrepreneurs and managers in the region. The awards are a true testament to the business acumen that exists in Limerick and the Mid-west region and Limerick Chamber were delighted at the opportunity to honour those who have battled against difficult economic times to thrive, grow and succeed!

The winners from the night are listed on the Chamber website as is a link to my speech.

As Pat O’Connor of Cafe Noir, one of our nominee companies said afterwards ““Congratulations on a fantastically well run Presidents Dinner incorporating the Regional Business Awards. It was a thoroughly informative & entertaining evening with superb food and service. It takes a lot to please everyone but I didn’t hear a single negative comment. Well done to all concerned.”

A special thanks to our dinner sponsors, Specsavers & associate sponsors Tadhg Kearney Jewellers & O’Brien’s Wines for their continued support for the Chamber and business community in Limerick. A huge thanks to our main business award sponsors LIT, who the Chamber have partnered with very successfully this year, underpinning their enterprise ladder. Thanks also of course to our individual award sponsors and all who helped to make the night such a success.

And I was particularly delighted that the winner of the inaugural Limerick Chamber President’s award for outstanding service to Limerick and the region went to Denis Brosnan – an extremely popular choice reflected in the standing ovation that greeted Denis.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s!