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Ludgate duo are Cork Person of the Year finalists

August 23rd, 2020 9:45 PM

By Southern Star Team

Award winners John Field, second from left, and Sean O’Driscoll, with awards organiser Manus O’Callaghan, left, and Pat Lemasney, Southern Advertising. (Photo: Tony O’Connell)

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Two West Cork men are jointly sharing the latest Cork Person of the Month award.

Founding board members of Ludgate, Drimoleague man Sean O’Driscoll and Skibbereen’s SuperValu owner John Field have been named joint July Cork Persons of the Month. 

John Field, who was named winner of the Outstanding West Cork Business Ambassador award at West Cork Business and Tourism Awards last year, is celebrating JJ Field’s 85th year in business this year. 

Sean O’Driscoll, of Glen Dimplex, is a highly successful and well-known Irish business leader.

The Ludgate Hub, based in Skibbereen town, has a 1 gigabit broadband connectivity, and the original office is based at the former Field’s bakery in Skibbereen. This 1GB hub of activity is supported by Vodafone and SIRO in a joint venture. 

It’s the first of its kind in Ireland and has been the birthing ground of many new companies, including the tech firm Spearline which is now homed in the former St Facthna’s De La Salle secondary school in the town.

‘Digitisation of rural Ireland is akin to the electrification of Ireland in the past and John Field and Sean O’Driscoll want to make Skibbereen a hotspot for technology start-ups and multinationals to locate and prosper at a global level,’ said awards organiser Manus O’Callaghan, announcing this month’s award winners.

‘It is great to see two local successful businessmen working hard, on a voluntary basis, for their home place of West Cork,’ he added.

John Field donated the former Field’s Bakery to house the Ludgate hub, and Sean O’Driscoll used his extensive network to create a powerful board, all of whom work on a pro-bono basis. 

Board members include Kevin Buckley of the aforementioned Spearline; Oliver Farrell of Vilicom Engineering; Dee Forbes, RTÉ’s director general; Ronan Harris, MD Google UK and Ireland; Brian McCarthy of Fexco; John O’Doherty of AIB; Anne O’Leary, chief executive of Vodafone Ireland; Rosaleen Blair, CBE; Professor John O’Halloran of UCC; Anne Philips, formerly HSBC, and Adam Walsh of Field’s SuperValu. Ludgate also receives help and support from local residents, including Lord David Puttnam.

‘This project works because we have the full support and involvement of the local community,’ said Sean O’Driscoll. ‘Now high-speed connectivity is consigning geography to history. This is the model for rural Ireland’s future.’

John Field and Sean O’Driscoll’s names will now go forward for possible selection as Cork Persons of the Year at a Gala Awards Lunch in the Rochestown Park Hotel on January 15th.

This week’s Southern Star Coronavirus Podcast interview features the new ceo of Ludgate, Grainne O’Keeffe. To view/hear it, search for ‘Ludgate’ on southernstar.ie

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