The head of the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital Limerick and past president of the Intensive Care Society Dr Catherine Motherway has been named Limerick Person of the Year for 2020. At a virtual ceremony held this evening (Thursday 29 April 2021), Dr Motherway was named the overall winner in recognition of her Trojan work on the health frontline as the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020.
Dr Motherway was a calm, reassuring and authoritative voice on the impact of the pandemic when society was facing great uncertainty and was fearful of what might happen.
Speaking after the announcement, Catherine said: “I’m a little bit in shock at the moment, and I accept this on behalf of the staff both in Limerick and around the country that have worked very hard for this last year and for our patients I thank the panel. For those that we have saved and for those that we have lost, I would think of those tonight, and in particular I would think of two of my colleagues who we have lost in the past year. This is an emotional moment.”
“It has been a hard year for everybody but I think we’ve done well as a country and today we have a lot of hope and the vaccination programme brings a lot of hope to us all and we will all have one big party when possible.”
“And we will remember those we have lost properly in time and we will go forward and recover and hopefully help the rest of the world to get over this.”
“Thank you very much for this award and thank you from the staff of UHL and I accept this award for them.”“
Celebrating its 20th year and sponsored by The Limerick Leader, Southern Marketing Design & Media and the Clayton Hotel, and supported by Limerick City and County Council, the Limerick Person of the Year Award was set up to honour the achievements and success of local people at home and abroad.
Munster and Ireland rugby star and champion of Limerick, CJ Stander, who recently announced his retirement and is returning to his native South Africa was presented with special award of Honorary Limerick person.
CJ said: “It’s a big honour for me and my family to receive this award. It’s been a big pleasure to be living in a city like Limerick, thanks to everyone who made us welcome and thank you for all the support both personally and professionally with Munster.”
“I’ve really got a special place for Limerick and that is why I’ve been vocal about it. I want people to see how nice it is and how cool it is to live down here. I will always come back to Limerick. I have very deep connections here and I really, really enjoyed my time here. The people made the place special and I wish I could pack it into a ball and take it with me.”
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Collins was the first to congratulate Dr Catherine Motherway: “Dr Motherway truly deserves to be Limerick Person of the Year for 2020. Her dedication and commitment to caring for those affected by Covid. Her calmness under pressure allowed us to be confident that our doctors and nurses were doing their utmost in difficult conditions to treat our loved ones.”
“Her clear and concise messages when speaking about the virus has been so reassuring especially when the crisis first hit as it meant everyone could understand it and get the real message from an expert.”
The Mayor also thanked CJ Stander: “CJ has become a true Limerick man through the pride he showed for his adopted city and the manner in which he gave his all in the red of Munster and green of Ireland. CJ and his family have been great ambassadors for Limerick and we owe them a huge thanks for all they have done. On behalf of the people of Limerick, I wish CJ, Jean Marie and Everli, the best of luck in their new adventure in South Africa and that they will always be welcome back in Limerick.”
Donn O'Sullivan, Editor of the Limerick Leader said: “The year 2020 will never be forgotten, for all the wrong reasons, but the last 12 months have shown the strength and resilience of Limerick people like never before. The Person of the Year awards may not be held in the 'traditional' sense, but the virtual event is a brilliant showcase of the talent, bravery and success which makes Limerick and its people what they are today.”
Darren Harding, General Manager of the Clayton Hotel Limerick added: “The Limerick Person of the Year awards epitomises everything Limerick is about – its place and its people. Clayton Hotel Limerick is delighted to be a part of the event again this year, albeit virtually. It is an honour to be in the presence of such amazing people. It is a fantastic event and one we look forward to each year.”
Also congratulating all the nominees Dave O'Hora, Managing Director of Southern in Limerick said: “This past year has reminded us all how much we take for granted the little things in life. How much simple gestures, a conversation, a shared meal, a family gathering can mean. These awards recognise in a very small way outstanding people who have at their heart a passion, pride and generosity for their activity, cause or community. We at Southern are humbled to be part of saluting them and acknowledging the part they play in making us all happy to say we are Limerick and proud.”
Past winners of the title include Roisin Upton, who played a pivotal role in securing a first ever Olympics appearance for the Irish Women’s Hockey team; philanthropist JP McManus; Limerick’s All-Ireland winning senior hurling team; world champion boxer Andy Lee; rugby star Paul O'Connell; Tidy Towns champion Helen O’Donnell and anti-bullying campaigner Luke Culhane.
Traditionally, the Limerick Person of the Year ceremony is held in the Clayton Hotel with each of the monthly winners being honoured before the overall winner is announced.
This year, the ceremony was held virtually, however the process for selecting the overall winner remained the same with Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Michael Collins, Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council and Donn O’Sullivan, Editor of the Limerick Leader choosing the winner.
Monthly Award Nominees
|January||Anne Curley||July||Emmet McNamara|
|February||Denise Chaila||August||Captain Liam Halpin|
|March||The 68 Project||September||Sr Agnes Fitzgerald|
|April||Castleconnell Boat Club||October||Oisín O’Callaghan|
|May||Dr Catherine Motherway||November||Tony Connolly|
|June||Michael Dowling||December||Limerick Senior Hurlers|