BREAKING: Dr Catherine Motherway named Limerick Person of the Year 2020

Leader reporter


Leader reporter


BREAKING: Dr Catherine Motherway named Limerick Person of the Year 2020

Dr Catherine Motherway with some her colleagues at University Hospital Limerick

THE head of the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital Limerick and past president of the Intensive Care Society, Dr Catherine Motherway, has been named Limerick Person of the Year for 2020.

At a virtual ceremony, which was live-streamed from the Clayton Hotel this Thursday evening, Dr Motherway was named the overall winner for her Trojan work on the frontline since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020.

Dr Motherway, who was the monthly winner for May 2020, was a calm, reassuring and authoritative voice on the impact of the pandemic when society was facing great uncertainty and was fearful of what might happen.

Speaking via Zoom after being announced as the winner she said: "There is a little bit of the Oh my God. For our staff - both in Limerick and around the country - who have worked very hard for this past year and for our patients I thank the panel. For those we have saved and for those we have lost I would think of those tonight and, in particular, I would think of two of my colleagues who we have lost in the last year so this is an emotional moment."

Dr Motherway added: "It has been a hard year for everybody but I think we have done well as a country and today we have a lot of hope and the vaccination programme really brings a lot of hope to us all and we will all have one big party when we can and we will remember those we have lost properly in time and we will go forward and recover and hopefully help the rest of the work to get over this." 

Celebrating its 20th year and sponsored by The Limerick Leader, Southern Marketing Design and Media and the Clayton Hotel, and supported by Limerick City and County Council, the Limerick Person of the Year Award was set up to honour the achievements and success of local people at home and abroad.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin delivered a video message at the beginning of the virtual ceremony while fashion queen Celia Holman-Lee and Mick Dolan of Dolan's Warehouse also made an appearance from their homes.

The MC for the 90-minute event was broadcaster Lorcan Murray and the awards ceremony featured a special pre-recorded performance of Dreams by Soprano Sinead O'Brien who was accompanied by harpist Sinead Ryan.

Munster and Ireland rugby star and champion of Limerick, CJ Stander, who recently announced his retirement and who is returning to his native South Africa was also presented with special award of Honorary Limerickman.

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Collins was one of the first people to congratulate Dr Catherine Motherway on her Limerick Person of the Year award.

“Dr Motherway truly deserves to be Limerick Person of the Year for 2020. Her dedication and commitment to caring for those affected by Covid. Her calmness under pressure allowed us to be confident that our doctors and nurses were doing their utmost in difficult conditions to treat our loved ones," he said.

“Her clear and concise messages when speaking about the virus has been so reassuring especially when the crisis first hit as it meant everyone could understand it and get the real message from an expert,” he added.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Donn O'Sullivan, Editor of the Limerick Leader commented: “The year 2020 will never be forgotten, for all the wrong reasons, but the last 12 months have shown the strength and resilience of Limerick people like never before. The Person of the Year awards may not be held in the 'traditional' sense, but the virtual event is a brilliant showcase of the talent, bravery and success which makes Limerick and its people what they are today.”

Darren Harding, General Manager of the Clayton Hotel Limerick added: “The Limerick Person of the Year awards epitomises everything Limerick is about – its place and its people. Clayton Hotel Limerick is delighted to be a part of the event again this year, albeit virtually. It is an honour to be in the presence of such amazing people. It is a fantastic event and one we look
forward to each year.”

Also congratulating all the nominees Dave O'Hora, Managing Director of Southern in Limerick said:

“This past year has reminded us all how much we take for granted the little things in life. How much simple gestures, a conversation, a shared meal, a family gathering can mean. These awards recognise in a very small way outstanding people who have at their heart a passion, pride and generosity for their activity, cause or community. We at Southern are humbled to be part of saluting them and acknowledging the part they play in making us all happy to say we are Limerick and proud.”

Past winners of the title include Roisin Upton, who played a pivotal role in securing a first ever Olympics appearance for the Irish Women’s Hockey team; philanthropist JP McManus; Limerick’s All-Ireland winning senior hurling team; world champion boxer Andy Lee; rugby star Paul O'Connell; Tidy Towns champion Helen O’Donnell and anti-bullying campaigner Luke

Traditionally, the Limerick Person of the Year ceremony is held in the Clayton Hotel with each of the monthly winners being honoured before the overall winner is announced.

This year, the ceremony was held virtually, however the process for selecting the overall winner remained the same with Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Michael Collins, Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council and Donn O’Sullivan, Editor of the Limerick Leader choosing the winner.