Sir John Major accepts Outstanding Contribution to Ireland Award at the 2014 Business & Finance Awards

Business | Thu 4 Dec | Author – Business & Finance
Shaun Murphy, KPMG; Ian Hyland, Business & Finance, Sir John Major; Martin Naughton, Glen Dimplex
Shaun Murphy, KPMG; Ian Hyland, Business & Finance; Sir John Major; Martin Naughton, Glex Dimplex.

Business & Finance hosted its 40th Business & Finance Irish Business Awards, in association with KPMG at The Convention Centre Dublin this evening with special honourees including the Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH and the late, former Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds awarded for their contribution to Northern Ireland’s peace process at the event.

Accepting the award on behalf of himself and Albert Reynolds, Sir John Major said: “It is not easy to say how moved I am to receive this Award and I know that Albert would be, too. The fact that he is not beside me now is the only blot on this wonderful evening. But – in a very real sense – Albert isn’t absent. His spirit lives on. And how thrilled he would be that Kathleen – his wife and his inspiration – is here, together with so many members of their family. To them I say, “You have every right to be proud of Albert – he is, and will forever remain, a genuine hero of Irish history.”

Recalling his time working with Reynolds on the Downing Street Declaration, Major added: “We were optimistic. We felt a deal could be done because violence could not win. We knew it wouldn’t be easy. That it might go wrong. We recognised we might start a process and not be there to finish it. We weren’t blind to any of these problems, but nor were we blind to the rewards of success – and the prize it would yield for the future. And, as Albert once put it, ‘given the size of my family – the future is important’.”

Founder of Glen Dimplex, Martin Naughton also received an Outstanding Achievement in Business Award and golfing legend, Paul McGinley was honoured for his Outstanding Contribution to Brand Ireland.

Sir John Major travelled to Dublin to attend and accept his award in recognition of his and Albert Reynold’s contribution through the achievements of the Downing Street Declaration and its critical role in laying the path for peace in Ireland.

Marking the 50th anniversary since the launch of Business & Finance in 1964, legendary business leaders past and present also gathered at the Business & Finance Awards as this year’s award ceremony recognised the 100 most outstanding business leaders over the last 50 years of Irish business.

Other awards announced on the night include:

Ÿ The Business & Finance Enterprise of The Year Award, in association with AIB: Voya

The business, formed by husband and wife duo, Kira and Mark Walton in 2007, Voya leverages the high-value resource of wild Irish seaweed on the west coast of Ireland and is led by a desire to create genuine, unique, internationally traded luxury spa and beauty products that create high value employment in a declining rural industry.

The shortlist for Enterprise of the Year included: Blue Insurances, Climote, Elephants don’t forget, TyreCheck, ePubDirect, Flavour of Italy, and Slainte Healthcare.

  • Company of the Year: Primark

One of Europe’s largest clothing retailers, Primark’s financial performance continues to exceed expectations, as does the number of store openings. Sales at Primark for the full year are expected to be 17% ahead of last year. Headquartered in Duvblin, Primark, which employs over 58,000 people including over 5,000 in Ireland, increased its selling space by 1.2 million sq ft and opened 28 new stores across Europe in the last financial year (ended September 13th 2014). Since then a further three stores have opened – in Porto, Portugal and in Venlo and Arnhem in The Netherlands bringing the total estate to 281 stores.

  • Business Person of the Year: Anne Heraty, co-founder and CEO of CPL Resources

Anne Heraty is chief executive of Cpl Resources, a recruitment and outsourcing company she established in 1989. Heraty has built up the company over the years to become one of the largest publicly quoted employment services firms in the country with international offices in the UK, Spain and Eastern Europe.

Ian Hyland, CEO/Publisher Business & Finance commented: “This is a particularly significant occasion as we celebrate 50 years of Business & Finance and 40 years of our awards. To mark this special occasion, we are recognising some of our most outstanding global Irish business leaders and two very unique men of peace ­– Sir John Major and Albert Reynolds – who have contributed so much to Ireland.”

Hyland added: “We are delighted to be recognising such outstanding business and political leaders at this years awards. Recognition of achievements in business is of vital importance and at Business & Finance we continue to recognise the best in Irish business through this awards showcase and indeed through the magazine itself.”

Speaking about the Business & Finance Awards, Shaun Murphy, managing partner of KPMG said: “At KPMG we are delighted to celebrate the success of Irish business. The Business & Finance Awards celebrate many things, but above all they celebrate great Irish leadership. To all of the companies and individuals represented at these awards – our congratulations.”