Publish Date: 6th March 2012
A man dedicated to portraying his native city in a positive light has been named 2011 Limerick Person of the Year.
Richard Lynch, the driving force behind the on-line phenomenon 'I Love Limerick.com' was announced as the 2011 winner by guest of honour, Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, TD, today, Monday, March 5th, at a gala awards dinner in the Clarion Hotel Limerick.
Mr Lynch was nominated among 11 other outstanding Limerick people including Mark Quinn, the youngest Irish person to climb Mount Everest; tennis ace Conor Niland; Special Olympics athlete, Alan Quinlan and fundraiser Tina O’Gorman.
Richard Lynch was applauded for encouraging a wider respect and pride for Limerick city and county through a series of documentaries, lifestyle programmes and interviews on ilovelimerick.com, a hugely successful internet TV channel.
The ilovelimerick.com project run by a team of three aims to showcase the wealth of interesting, talented and creative people who call Limerick home.
Accepting the award and speaking in front of an invited audience which included last year’s winner JP MCManus, full time carer Richard Lynch said he was shocked to be announced 2011 Limerick Person of the Year.
"ilovelimerick.com is entirely voluntary and completely non-funded, none of us are paid for anything that we do." he said. "We all know because we live here how many amazing people live in this city and the wealth of creativity, art, culture and everything we’ve got going for us. Ilovelimerick.com is really about all the volunteers, the photographers, the editors…everyone that works so hard to showcase the fabulous work that takes place here and I really can’t believe that I’m Limerick Person of the Year!"
Guest speaker, Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, TD paid tribute to the nominees for the Limerick Person of the Year award who were the 12 winners of the Limerick Person of the Month Awards featured in the Limerick Leader newspaper.
"We are all very proud of you, thank you for your huge contribution to your communities over the last twelve months," he said. "We all want to raise our children to be honest, brave, strong and caring and we have had twelve great role models here. Your influence reaches beyond the work that you did and your contribution which is being lauded here today."
The Awards are sponsored by the Limerick Leader, Southern Marketing, Design and Media Consultancy and the Clarion Hotel. The nominees for the Limerick Person of the Year 2011 award were:
- Joe Cunningham, Adaptive Rowing innovator
- Richard Lynch, founder ilovelimerick.com
- Sarah Hurley, campaigner Bruff Senior Rugby Team, Bateman All Ireland Cup champions
- Mark Quinn, youngest Irish person to conquer Mount Everest
- Conor Niland, ground breaking professional tennis player
- Alan Quinlan, Special Olympics athlete
- Ann Boland, defibrillator fundraiser
- Margaret O’Shaughnessy, Foynes flying boat museum director
- Tina O’Gorman, €1m euro fundraiser
- Adam O’Sullivan, 9 year old singer and fundraiser
- The voluntary CERT Emergency Response Team for their heroic endeavours
The awards were judged by Alan English, Limerick Leader editor; Tom Mackey, former Limerick City Manager and Ned Gleeson, former Limerick County Manager.
Limerick Leader editor and Judge Alan English paid tribute to the 12 nominees. "We are really proud, once again, of the 12 monthly winners, every one of whom has made a positive difference and shown the best of Limerick" he said.
"Amid a lot of doom and gloom, it’s important to remember and recognise some exceptional people who have put smiles on a lot of faces in Limerick and beyond. The Limerick Leader, along with Southern and the Clarion Hotel is absolutely delighted to sponsor these awards. It is a joyous occasion and one of the highlights of the year."
Southern Director, Dave O’Hora, added: "We are delighted to play our small part in recognising these incredible people who do Limerick proud. At a time when others are very coherent about what is wrong about the world, these groups, and individuals on the other hand commit rather than complain, do rather than dither and through their actions and achievements add to all our sense of Pride Of Place. Richard Lynch brings energy, colour and infectious enthusiasm to everything he does. His generosity of spirit and his positive passion for Limerick is a joy to behold."
Previous winners of the prestigious Limerick Person of the Year award include; JP McManus, philanthropist; Paul O’Connell, international rugby player; Professor Paul Finucane, UL Graduate Medical School; Paul Gleeson, transatlantic rower and Pat Whelan, Thomond Park developer.