FS Awards

Catherine Day to be honoured at upcoming Business & Finance FS Awards

By Business & Finance
17 August 2023
Pictured: Catherine Day, Former Secretary General of the European Commission.

Catherine Day to receive Pádraig Ó hUiginn Award at the 2023 Business & Finance FS Awards, in association with KPMG

The FS Awards will take place on Thursday, 26th October at The Mansion House, Dublin, and will celebrate thirty six years since the establishment of the IFSC. Seventeen diverse categories will recognise excellence across the Financial Services sector. The Padraig Ó hUiginnaward recognises an individual’s outstanding contribution to Financial Services named after the late former Secretary General at the Department of the Taoiseach who was a driving force in the creation of the IFSC. 

Catherine Day

Former Secretary General of the European Commission, Catherine Day, will be recognised with the Pádraig Ó hUiginn Outstanding Award at this year’s Business & Finance FS Awards in October hosted in association with KPMG. Catherine held the post from 2005 to 2015 and was the first Woman in the role. Prior to her appointment as Secretary General  she was Director General for Environment. She worked on the future enlargement of the EU in the 1990s and was one of the architects of the pre-accession process for the countries of central and eastern Europe.  Catherine worked in the Cabinets of Commissioners Richard Burke, Peter Sutherland and Leon Brittan and joined the European Commission in 1979.

She holds a B.A in economics and politics and an M.A. in international trade from UCD and holds honorary doctorates from UCD and University of Limerick. Catherine Day now chairs the Governing Body of University College Cork and the Board of Trustees of the Chester Beatty.  She is on the board of the European Movement Ireland, the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin and the Irish Times. She was elected to membership of the Royal Irish Academy in 2016.  Catherine chaired an advisory group on improving support to people in direct provision in Ireland which reported to the Irish Government in September 2020.  She chaired the Citizens Assembly on gender equality 2019-2021. 

Ian Hyland, Publisher Business & Finance, said: ‘It is a great honour to be the custodian of this very special award named after Pádraig Ó’hUiginn who was one of Ireland’s most outstanding civil servants. It is only fitting that this year’s honouree is Catherine Day who was one of the architects of the pre-accession process for a number of EC member countries. Her contribution to Ireland and the EU is immeasurable.’ 

Pádraig Ó hUiginn

Senior Civil servant, Padraig Ó hUiginn, had a fifty-year career in the Civil Service before retiring in 1993.

He entered the civil service in 1941 and served for over fifty years where he was innovative in his endeavours to progress social and economical change and to capture and utilise opportunities for the benefit of all. His name is synonymous with the creation and driving high profile initiatives such as the IFSC, Temple Bar, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), but he is perhaps best remembered for his role as Secretary General of the Department of The Taoiseach, a position he held from 1982-1993.

In addition to his secretary general role, Ó hUiginn also served as economic affairs officer, UN Economic Commission in Geneva; was officer-in-charge of Housing, Planning and Building at the UN Headquarters in New York; and was director for Regional Policy and deputy director general for Energy, Science and Technology at the EC Council of Ministers in Brussels.

After he left the civil service he experienced success in the private sector, most notably through his involvement as a director of Denis O’Brien’s Esat Telecom, which was taken over by British Telecom in 2000. He died in 2019 aged 94 years. 

2022 recipient Michael Noonan

The inaugural recipient of the Padraig Ó hUiginn Award was former Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in 2022. Michael Noonan was first elected to the Dail in 1981 and has held a number of senior cabinet positions including leader of Fine Gael between February 2001 and May 2002. He represented the constituency of Limerick City.

The Fine Gael politician became Minister for Finance in 2011 and was re-appointed on 6 May 2014 before finally stepping down in 2017. Credited as one of Europe’s most experienced finance ministers, he oversaw Ireland’s financial crisis and subsequent recovery. It was he who implemented the post-crisis austerity measures as stipulated by the EU and the International Monetary Fund. Ireland’s economy recovered to become the fastest-growing economy in the eurozone for a number of years. 

He was Minister for Justice between 1982 and1986 and held two different ministerial posts between 1986 and 1987, that of Minister for Industry, Commerce and Trade and Minister for Energy respectively. He was Minister for Health between 1994 and 1997, and has also served as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.

The deadline to submit an entry for the award is midnight 18th August. If you have any queries, or would like to request an extension to the deadline to enter please contact Alma Bustos alma.bustos@businessandfinance.com or visit https://fsdublin.com/ 


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