Seventeen people from all corners of the county have been nominated for the prestigious 2017 Offaly Person of the Year award.
The 30th annual award will be presented at a gala dinner dance in The Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore on Saturday, April 7. The superb award is generously sponsored by Mr Noel Tynan, Le Bon Crubeen Restaurant, Talbot Street, Dublin.
This is the 61st dinner dance to be hosted by the Offaly Association, Dublin. Tickets for this prestigious event will once again be only €35 and will be on sale in the coming weeks.
Person of the Year
Aged only 34, he gave up his career as an electrician to be a carer to his parents. His father has dementia and is confined to a wheelchair and his mother has Parkinson's Disease with limited mobility.
For his contribution to journalism nationally in his role as Editor of the Irish Times when he brought the paper to new heights and record circulation figures. He also was the first ever Garda Ombudsman and has written extensively on the history of policing in Ireland,
For his contribution to the social, cultural, educational, sporting and economic life of the community. A public representative on Offaly County Council since 2004, and also a member of Birr Town Council since 1985, he is a member of many local organisations including Birr swimming pool committee and Crinkill Sports Club,
A former journalist, he is the current Irish Secretary of the National Union of Journalists and also served as overall head of the union in Britain during 2017. A former leading member of Tullamore Junior Chamber, he is a talented debater who won the international debating competition in Japan.
The veteran businessman has made a major contribution to the economic life of Offaly and the midlands throughout a career spanning several decades.
In 2017, his landmark hotel, the Tullamore Court celebrated 20 successful years in business while Tullamore Chamber of Commerce, of which he was the founding President, marked its 40th anniversary.
For involvement with her community and St Joseph's Community Centre fundraising and development. She has been involved in many organisations throughout her lifetime and is still contributing to the community at 95 years of age.
Still a young man, he has had a meteoric rise in the world of local and national journalism and is the youngest ever Political Editor of the Irish Independent. He is also a regular panelist on current affairs programmes on both television and radio.
The Tullamore Show and AIB National Livestock Show is now the largest one day event of its kind in the country. Revived over 25 years ago, the show has made a major contribution to the social, economic and agricultural life of Offaly and continues to go from strength to strength.
Birr Theatre and Arts Centre
Since opening its doors in 2000, Birr Theatre and Arts Centre has staged many and diverse productions featuring national and international talent. Among the highlights have been the the Hullabaloo children's Art Festival, the annual Birr Jazz Festival and the establishment of the Legitimate Bodies Dance Company.
Christine has a special needs daughter who she takes care of, but also finds time to look after her sister who has had kidney failure. She is a devoted lady who finds time to care for her family and siblings.
Gary founded Scoliosis Ireland in 2010. He was the winner of The Volunteer Ireland award in 2016. Due to Gary's lobbying the sum of €9 million has been set aside for orthopeadic services and thus provide relief for many scoliosis sufferers.
Fr Rory O'Brien
In 1953 he played with Offaly in the junior hurling final. He won hurling and football championships with Ballinamere. He has given a lifetime of service to the foreign missions, working for sixty years in Nigeria and Cameroon for which he has received a Papal Honour.
He is a dedicated worker for Offaly GAA and Drumcullen GAA and also with camogie locally and at county level. He is the main organiser of the Group Water Scheme for Eglish/Drumcullenb and also coordinated the refurbishment of Rath Hall.
For his work in collecting and distributing food to needy families all over the county.
In 2017 Jennifer became the first ever Offaly winner of the Rose of Tralee. A junior doctor, she is now balancing her ambassador role with her demanding career. Since winning the Rose of Tralee Jennifer has made herself available for many community and charitable causes in Offaly.
Nominated because of his concern and respect for his employees.
Sr Xavier O'Brien
For her dedication and commitment to many diverse causes and education in Tullamore in her role as principal of Scoil Mhuire. Also a founder of St Mary's Youth Club, a Special Needs Education advocate, for her work in the provision of traveller's education and her endless work with Tullamore Tidy Towns.