LEGENDARY philanthropist JP McManus has been named the 2010 Limerick Person of the Year for his outstanding contribution to charities in the Mid-West region.
The announcement was made yesterday at a gala awards ceremony in the Clarion Hotel, Limerick.
Thanks to the 2010 JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am in Adare last July a record breaking €40m was raised for deserving causes in the Mid-West.
Noreen McManus accepted the Limerick Person of the Year award on behalf of her husband who is currently in the United States.
Addressing those gathered, in a special video message from the US, Mr McManus said he was sorry he couldn't be in attendance but was delighted and honoured to receive such a "wonderful award".
"It means so much to Noreen and my family that I have been selected as Limerick Person of the Year. I am very grateful to the many people who made our Pro-Am happen during the year. I would also like to acknowledge the great work done by the carers of the less fortunate in our society, also to the hundreds of volunteers who worked many hours to ensure the event went smoothly," said Mr McManus.
In excess of 80,000 people travelled to Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort last year to watch the world's top golfers compete alongside stars from the world of stage, screen and sport.
Michael Douglas, Westlife, Samuel L. Jackson and Hugh Grant took part in the golfing extravaganza alongside the elite of the golfing world including Tiger Woods.
"To the public who attended in such large numbers I am deeply grateful to them and for giving our many visitors from abroad a great Limerick Cead Mile Failte," continued Mr McManus who has been spearheading the event since 1990 when the first Pro-Am teed off at Limerick Golf Club.
His drive, coupled with his dedication to the event, which takes place every five years, has meant that local charities have benefited to the tune of €95 million since 1990.
While he spends much of his time abroad, Mr McManus said he "cherishes every minute" he spends at home in Limerick with his family and friends.
"My roots are planted firmly in this great county," he said. "As we get older you come to appreciate the simple things in life like being with your dogs, spending time with your grandchildren, calling in on neighbours for a cup of tea. And for Noreen and myself it is a delight that our children feel as strongly about our home place as we do and I look forward to spending many years of happiness in Limerick," he continued before going on congratulate the other nominees, all of whom he said "would have made very worthy winners."
Finally, Mr McManus thanked the Limerick Leader, Southern Advertising and the Clarion Hotel for sponsoring the awards ceremony.
Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Maria Byrne, described Mr McManus as "a man who has made an outstanding contribution to Limerick".
"JP McManus has worked tirelessly to help so many causes in Ireland particularly here in Limerick where hundreds of projects have benefited from his generosity," she said. "The Adare Pro-Am has been such a wonderful success because JP is at the helm. He is a man who has contributed so much to the social, community, educational and sporting life of Limerick yet remains unassuming and modest. On behalf of the people of Limerick, thank you JP for your selfless dedication to your city and county and you are a deserving winner of this award," she added.
Now in its 13th year, the Limerick Person of the Year Awards was set up to honour the achievements and success of local people.
A dozen high achievers in sport, business and voluntary work were in line for the prestigious 2010 award including European boxing champion Willie Casey; transatlantic rower Sean McGowan; Special Olympics volunteers; Southill Parish Priest Fr Pat Hogan; Concern Worldwide US director Siobhan Walsh and Mr World, Kamal Ibrahim.