WEST Cork is well represented in this year’s nominations for the Cork Person of the Year awards.
The awards will be presented at a gala function on Friday, (January 16) at a lunch at the Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork, with guests including Michael Flatley and Ballydehob resident, actor Jeremy Irons.
Dr Jason van der Velde of West Cork Rapid Response has been nominated, along with abuse campaigner Louise O’Keeffe from Dunderrow. Cloughduv native Briege Corkery, the dual sports star, who captained the All Ireland winning Ladies Football team, is also in the running for an award.
Flatley, the creator of the Lord of the Dance spectacular, will be made Honorary Corkman at the event, and the presentation will be made by Mr Irons, who is last year's recipient.
Flatley is due to retire this March after a glittering international career, with sold-out shows on many continents.
Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons said that Flatley ‘richly deserves’ the honour, which will mark the enormous cultural and tourism contribution he has made to his adopted county.
‘He has been a great ambassador for Cork around the world, not to mention his work in restoring Castlehyde outside Fermoy, one of the grand 18th century houses of Cork,’ the actor said.
Michael's wife, Niamh Flatley, the former dancer who worked with him for more than a dozen years, will also attend the awards.
The Cork Person of the Year awards scheme has just celebrated its 21st Anniversary and RTE's Nationwide programme will take a look back at the award winners, and what it meant to them, next Wednesday.
Lettertec Book Publishers from Carrigtohill have produced a hard cover coffee table book covering the history of the awards, which won a national print award recently.
Speakers at this year's awards lunch will include Minister Simon Coveney TD, Jeremy Irons, Michael Flatley, the City and County Mayors, Tom Murphy of the Irish Examiner, Geraldine O'Leary of RTE, and awards organiser and founder, Manus O'Callaghan.
Awards MC will be Mary Kennedy of Nationwide and the full line-up of award nominees for Cork Person of Year, (all Cork Person of the Month winners in 2014) is:
Fishmonger Pat O'Connell (January); Louise O'Keeffe, abuse campaigner (February); Joan Hamilton, mental health pioneer (March); jockey Davey Russell and trainer Jim Culloty, Cheltenham Gold Cup winners (April); Paula Kelleher and Elizabeth Berminham, SHARE Mothers (May); Dr Jason van der Velde, West Cork Rapid Response (June); Will Sliney, Marvel Comics Spiderman Illustrator (July); Heather O'Brien, Irish Women's Rugby Star (August); Gerard Murphy, Cork Summer Show and Peter Aiken, Live at the Marquee (September); Jim Woulfe, Dairygold Agribusiness Success (October); Sophie Healy-Thow, Ciara Judge & Emer Hickey, Young Scientist Winners (November); Anna Geary & Briege Corkery, All-Ireland winning captains of Cork’s camogie and football teams (December.)