MILLIONAIRE businessman and philanthropist JP McManus said he hopes the star-studded Pro-Am golfing tourament will return to Adare, amid speculation that he is one of the prospective bidders for the €25m Adare Manor.
Speaking in the University of Limerick, where he handed out another 126 scholarships to deserving students, Mr McManus would neither confirm nor deny reports that he has bought the lavish hotel, saying “that would be a commercial decision”.
The next Pro-Am, said to be worth millions to the local economy, will not be going ahead as previously planned in 2015, but the racing magnate hasn’t ruled out another event. “We might see another Pro-Am in the future, so fingers crossed,” he told reporters.
At the university, Mr McManus, Republic of Ireland soccer manager Martin O’Neill, Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan, and the Northern Ireland minister for employment and learning, Dt Stephen Parry presented the 126 scholarships to high achieving students from north and south of the border. In all, 1014 scholarships have been delivered to date, worth €6,750 per student per year, and a special gift was presented to Lee Pollock from Newtownards, county Down, who was the 1,000th recipient.
“It’s nice to reach that milestone, and I’m delighted to be here to see these young people advance in life. They deserve it,” said Mr McManus.
“There is a wonderful buzz here from the students. They are very excited; their parents are even more excited, and I’m happy to be a part of it. I’m delighted that I’m in a position that I can help. Maybe many of these students would have made it to university in any event, but some of them may not have. I think education plays such a major part in our lives, and it’s what makes Ireland so attractive to the world,” he said.
Asked would he be supportive of Limerick’s bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2020, he said: “Anything Limerick does I’m fully supportive of. There are a lot of good things happening in Limerick and there seems to be more and more of them. I’m very lucky to be living in Limerick and living in a community that loves Limerick as much as I do.”