WATCH: Shannon Group takes flight at annual Limerick Chamber business awards

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Overall winners, the Shannon Group were double winners at the 2018 Limerick Chamber Business Awards

Overall winners, the Shannon Group were double winners at the 2018 Limerick Chamber Business Awards

THE chief executive of Shannon Group said the firm’s win at the Limerick Chamber Regional Awards is “just reward” for all his staff’s hard work.

Matthew Thomas was “thrilled” the semi-state firm, which has four separate entities, was named the Company of the Year at the annual business awards, which took place on Friday night in the Strand Hotel.​

Shannon Group also took the award for best contribution to the region. at the event, attended by over 400 business leaders.

“The Mid-West is our region, so to be recognised in this way is just fantastic,” he said.

“The bit that is most satisfying for me as CEO is that all parts of the group are really firing. We talk a lot about the airport and the challenges it faces. But our passengers are up 33% since separation. No other airport outside Dublin is anywhere near it – Cork is still flat. We give ourselves a hard time as we want to get to the top of the mountain. But we are doing okay.”

Shannon Group employs 650 people across its four different entities – the airport, Shannon Commercial Properties, Shannon Heritage and the International Aviation Services Centre.

As well as the Shannon Group’s two awards, there were prizes for Plassey’s Electricity Exchange, which won best emerging business. The best SME business was Rathkeale energy company Design Pro.

Optel Group from Raheen won the award for best corporate social responsibility, while Masterchefs took the title for best retail and hospitality business.

The best not-for-profit award went to Novas Ireland, for its sterling work on dealing with homelessness.

And the high-profile award for best employer went to telecommunications giant Three Ireland.

In addition to the other seven business awards given out, a special President's award was presented by Dr Mary Shire to Dr Kieran Curran, of GenCell biosystems (now acquired by BD), for his services to the science and business community over the years.

Speaking at the awards, new Limerick Chamber chief executive Dee Ryan praised the standard of entries received - and also praised the judges panel, chaired by Anne Heraty of CPL Recruitment.

“The quality has been really high. The amount of work and time which has gone in from judges has been great to see. The judges would have spent ten hours on this process. It was a really thorough process.”

“It’s a big event, and there is a lot of work put into it. We hope people have enjoyed the night,” she added.

In her presidential address, Dr Shire warned Limerick’s new confidence should not be taken for granted.

“We should not underestimate the importance of confidence in creating a success orientated culture. I know what it’s like to lack confidence in Limerick. When I was younger, I recall being asked where I was from and rather sheepishly, I would respond I’m from Limerick – but always added the caveat Limerick County as I felt it was the lesser of two evils,” she said.