Michael Hanley CEO and Kieran Lonergan, General Manager of Food Ingredients outside the Lakeland Dairies Plant in Bailieborough. Photo: Adrian Donohoe
Lakeland Dairies took top honours at the inaugural Cavan Business and Tourism awards last night in the Hotel Kilmore in front of a crowd of about 400 people.
CEO, Michael Hanley, accepted the award on behalf of the company - which was also a category winner on the night for Most Innovative Business (Food Sector).
"We're surprised but very pleased for the shareholders and stakeholders, the farmers who supply the milk, management and staff. It's good to know that the business is recognised and the management hope to drive the business forward," Mr Hanley said in his acceptance speech.
The awards were a joint initiative of The Anglo-Celt and the Cavan Chamber of Commerce, designed to celebrate and showcase all that is great about business in Cavan and tourism in the county.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was the guest of honour at the event and made a keynote speech in which he praised Cavan and in particular the County Manager, Jack Keyes, for their great achievement in bringing the fleadh to Cavan for three years running and making an incredible success of it.
Mr Kenny said that it was people like the entrepreneurs and business people in County Cavan who would help drive Ireland forward and out of recession.
The other category winners on the night were:
Best New Business - Nutri Snax
Customer Service Gold Award - Argos, Cavan
Best Sales Assistant - Michelle Ellis, Fresh Today
Retailer of the Year - Cara Pharmacy
Small business Tourism (Marketing) Award - Out Doors & Dirty (ODD)
Tourism (customer service) Award - Hotel Kilmore, Cavan
Tourism (Marketing & Services Professional) - Neven Maguire, MacNean House & Bistro
Marketing Campaign of the Year - Liberty Insurance, Cavan
Most Innovative Business (Food Sector) - Lakeland Dairies
Most Innovative Business (Industry) - Ballytherm
The International Cavan Business Person of the Year was named as Gene Murtagh, Kingspan.
The judging panel was chaired by Cavan entrepreneur and former dragon, Sean Gallagher, who gave a rousing speech on the night also in which he spoke of his pride and admiration for all the Cavan entreprenuers and business people who don't shelter in the harbour during the storm but keep paddling away out to sea.
The other judges were Eamon McDwyer, Cavan Chamber; Marcella Rudden, business adviser with the Cavan County Enterprise Board and Johnny O'Hanlon, director of the Regional Newspapers and Printers Association of Ireland (RNPAI).
The main sponsor of the event was Cavan County Council with other sponsors including AIB, Cavan County Enterprise Board and Kelly Rahill & Co.
County Manager, Jack Keyes, also took the opportunity on the night to launch the local authority's 'This is Cavan!' marketing campaign to build on the success of the Cavan Fleadhs 2010-2012 promoting the county and building on its brand in the tourism sector.
An extension report from the night and pictures will feature in next week's Anglo-Celt; as well as an interview with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.