Awards: University of Limerick alumni recognised for ‘outstanding’ achievements

Jess Casey

Reporter:

Jess Casey

Michael Kelly, Professor Brigid Laffan and Niall Browne were all honoured at the UL Alumni awards Picture: Keith Wiseman

Michael Kelly, Professor Brigid Laffan and Niall Browne were all honoured at the UL Alumni awards Picture: Keith Wiseman

THE University of Limerick Alumni Association has bestowed its highest honour on three “outstanding” graduates at its annual awards gala dinner.

The 13th Annual UL Alumni Awards Gala Dinner, which celebrates the achievements of UL graduates, honoured Dawn Meats chief executive Niall Browne, European policy expert Prof. Brigid Laffan and social entrepreneur Michael Kelly. 

“This event is very much a celebration of the achievements and contributions of three amazing people,” UL president Dr Des Fitzgerald said. 

“As UL alumni, Niall, Brigid and Michael have made us hugely proud. With each achievement in their careers, they have elevated the reputation of UL by association,” he added. 

“I can’t think of better people for our current and future students to look to when they seek inspiration from those trailblazers who have gone before them.” 

Niall Browne, who was honoured for his business contribution, was appointed chief executive of Dawn Meats at the age of 34.

He currently oversees 23 production facilities in Ireland and the UK, 10 sales offices in Europe and Asia, with more than 7,000 staff and revenues over €2bn.

Professor Brigid Laffan, honoured for her contribution to academia, is the director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute. 

Michael Kelly, honoured for his contribution to society, is the founder of Grow It Yourself, a not for profit organisation which equips people to grow their own food. 

The Waterford headquartered company has now supported 500,000 growers across Ireland. 

Since 2006, 43 UL alumni have been honoured by the association including rugby legend Tony Ward, composer Patrick Cassidy, former Riverdance star Jean Butler and acclaimed Irish artist Alice Maher. 

The 2018 UL Alumni Awards celebration took place at the Castletroy Park Hotel, with UL alumna and multimedia reporter Juliette Gash as event MC.

More than 200 guests from University of Limerick, business and the wider community attended the black-tie dinner.