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Cathaoirleach Awards 2017

Each Municipal District Cathaoirleach nominates a person on behalf of their Municipal District and Mick Cahill, as Cathaoirleach, nominated a person for the wider county. There were four awards - Vincent Hawkins nominated by Granard Municipal District, Liam Fenelon, nominated by Longford Municipal District, Peter Denehy nominated by Ballymahon Municipal District and Ciaran Corcoran, recipient of the County Cathaoirleach award.

The Cathaoirleachs Awards were introduced to acknowledge the contribution of volunteers across a wide range of local activity. Too seldom as a community, do we take the time to formally show our appreciation for the enormous work of our dedicated community volunteers, those people who give so generously of their time, energy and expertise for the common good. These are the true ‘unsung heroes’ in our society who discreetly go about their business without any expectation of acknowledgement or reward. The Countywide Award recognises the contribution made by an individual to the business and development of the county as a whole.

This Awards Ceremony is Longford County Council’s opportunity to show our gratitude. In bestowing this honour to our award winners, we also recognise and applaud the trojan work delivered by countless other individuals and Groups all over County Longford .

Vincent Hawkins

Vincent Hawkins has been living and working in Colmcille parish for more than 50 years. Vincent and his late wife Cathleen set up home and reared their family, Antoinette, Fintan, Fidelma, and Martin in Cleenrath, Aughnacliffe. Although Vincent is a Cavan man by birth he is so involved in his community that he is regarded as a fully-fledged Colmcille man. He has been a stalwart member and worker in many organisations down through the years. the parish council, Colmcille youth band, the community alert scheme, and the vintage tractor club, to name but a few. He is active as a church steward, and involved in organising parking for parochial events. 

He is an active member of the Colmcille branch of friends of St Christopher’s, taking part in organising fundraising events, church gate collections, and in particular the annual festival at dring. For the last fifteen years Vincent has been active in the development of Leebeen Park. He has been acting as an unpaid project manager overseeing, and shepherding, all the developments as they happen,
In the last year the 1916 Memorial Garden has taken shape under his hand. The recently finished water feature is the latest project he has seen through.

Liam Fenelon

Liam Fenelon was born 75 years ago in Esker, Killoe to parents Mick and Rose - one of 5 children. From the start his parents instilled a strong work ethic in all of their children that encouraged them all to succeed in their own rights. Liam married a young girl from Killoe, Mary Quinn. Together they have 3 children Sharon, Fiona and Michelle. It is often said that behind every good man is a good woman and mary and the girls have been a constant encouragement for liam throughout his life. 

Before long Liam realised that he could bring the business skills he had acquired over the years to the charity sector. That combined with your jovial nature and affable personality meant that your charitable works were very successful. Liam soon realised that he had an ability to run long distances. Not only were you good at them, you enjoyed them. Every Sunday with his brother in law, Vincent Casey would go away with your families to compete in road races up and down the country. This soon progressed into marathon running. Liam completed his first marathon in 1994 at the age of 42 and immediately saw the benefit of combining marathon running with charitable fundraising.

Liam's first fundraising was for a well for the “White Fathers of Africa” followed by fundraising for Our Ladys Hospital for Sick Children Crumlin, Temple Street Childrens Hospital, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis, Stonepark Tops of the Town, Leitrim Animal Welfare, St. Christophers services Longford, the Niall Mellon Township Trust and many many more. It has been estimated that Liam has raised many hundreds of thousands for these very deserving causes over the years.

It is perhaps his organisation of and involvement with the Longford Marathon that he is most associated. The annual Longford Marathon was born in 2002 out of a conversation between Liam and Fr. Ciaran McGovern about how to mark Liam's 100th marathon. Since then it has gone from strength to strength – promoting Longford as a destination that can host competitions of international stature and contributing significantly to the coffers of St. Christophers in the process. Add to that the charitable fundraising that the competitors do while competing in the maraton the charitable yield from this event is substantial every year.

For the last nine years Liam has been involved in fundraising for the Niall Mellon Trust. The purpose of this is to lend a hand to build better infrastructure for poor africian communities. To date the charity has built 12 new schools and renovated many more, providing 10,000 young children a better chance at life. It is through the tireless fundraising of people like Liam that these young people have a future.
Throughout all this time Liam still finds time for running and has just completed his 309th marathon and has competed at all the major marathons London, Berlin, Tokyo, Chicago and Boston and have run in such diverse places as Norway, San Deiego and Sligo! His lifetime of involvement in the charity sector, tireless promotion of Longford as a destination for an international sporting event, the Longford Marathon, and overall joviality and generosity make you a very worthy recipient of this years Cathaoirleachs award

Peter Denehy.

Peter has been Chairman of Ballymahon Traders Association since the autumn of 2014, and regards the highlight of his term so far as the official announcement of the Center Parcs project by then Taoiseach, Enda Kenny in April 2015. His first involvement in the community/voluntary sector goes back to 2002 when he became involved with the Midland Motor Club and has for many years been a member of the Ballymahon Tidy Town's Group, the Royal Canal Amenity Group and was Chairman of the Ballymahon St. Patricks day Parade Committee from 2011 to 2014.

Ciaran Corcoran.

It gives me great pleasure to present the County Cathaoirleach award to Ciaran Corcoran, Site Director with Abbott Ireland, Longford. Abbott Ireland is a global company with a deep and significant presence in Ireland. It has sites in seven locations in Ireland including Longford and it is one of the largest healthcare companies in the country. Its fundamental purpose is to deliver innovative, high-quality products that help people live better lives and the Longford plant is a key cog in helping Abbott achieve its strategic objectives.

Abbott has a reputation for excellence and its Longford plant is the shining light in that regard achieving the highly prestigious shingo award in 2016, an internationally recognised award for operational excellence. That award helped the Longford plant win further contracts within the Abbott group that has resulted in its current expansion, a development that will see the workforce grow towards 500 over the coming period to include up to 50 employees with phd qualifications.

Abbott has also won a number of employer of the year awards as it prides itself in providing a positive environment for its employees, with progressive work practices and innovative employee support programmes that help its people reach their full potential.

Ciaran has helped to set Abbott Longford on a path of continuous improvement and growth. This in turn has consolidated Abbotts presence in Longford and its roots are now firmly embedded in our community. Abbott is one of our key reference sites in promoting the county as a potential location for inward investment and Ciaran, himself, is a champion for our cause, supporting the different agencies involved in this area and championing Longford and the midlands in general as an ideal location for business investment.

Ciaran serves as the midlands regional president of IBEC and in his role he actively promotes education and skills development, sustainable business practices and the development of business clusters that increase investment appeal for the midland’s region.

We are very fortunate to have a plant as significant as Abbott in Longford. We know that it is through the commitment of Ciaran and his senior management team that Abbott Longford has become such a significant part of the wider Abbott group and we trust that he believes that Longford County Council and others are creating the right business support environment that helps Abbott to prosper in this region.

We welcome Ciaran’s involvement in promoting Longford as an investment location and we wish you and the company every success with future development plans.