Friday night was a particularly special occasion for Tipperary fashion designer Louise Kennedy who won the prestigious President's Prize at the County Tipperary Business Awards.
Described by chamber president TJ Kinsella as the 'queen of Irish fashion', the Thurles native has been at the top of the Irish and international fashion trade for thirty five years.
She has designed for presidents and royalty in Britain, Europe and the Middle East, designed the Aer Lingus uniforms and has been recognised with a special stamp by An Post.
She said she was absolutely thrilled to win the award and to be honoured by the Tipperary business community.
“Wherever I go in the world, I am always Tipperary first”, she told the audience of over 250 at the gathering.
Ballydine plant MSD was honoured as the Best Business of the Year at the glittering ceremony in Clonmel. The pharmaceutical giant took the top accolade at the second County Tipperary Business Awards in the Clonmel Park Hotel.
It had earlier taken the top prize in the Best CSR or Contribution to the Community category. Mr Kinsella had said that the ceremony was a celebration of all that's great and good about Tipperary – a great place to live and a great place to do business.
He congratulated all the winners and nominees and remarked that between them all gathered in the room that evening, they employed over five thousand people. He remarked that the knowledge, experience and business acumen that this represents in the county is truly phenomenal.
Collaboration in business was vital, Mr Kinsella said, and the nominees across the categories had shown this, not just nationally but internationally, with links to the British royal family, Australian chefs, Mexican food producers, French wine producers, universities and colleges, Croke Park, leading pharmaceutical companies and even World Rugby.
“I was blown away by the calibre of entrants in last year's inaugural awards and wondered could we repeat the standard this year but I am delighted to tell that if anything, the entries this year are even better”, he said.
Mr Kinsella said that those represented would be the envy of any business grouping in the world.
He said that such was the success of the inaugural awards, that the number of categories was increased this year with great success.
Tributes were paid to the Tipperary awards by Liam Browne, head of main sponsor LIT.
The 2018 County Tipperary Business Award winners were:
• Best Business of the Year – MSD Ballydine
• Best Small or Medium Enterprise – Ryans Cleaning
• Sports Art and Culture – Setanta College
• Best CSR or Contribution to the Community – MSD
• Best Employer (Talent Development, Training and Wellness) – Metis Ireland
• Best Start up or Emerging New Business – Horan Automation and Consulting
• Best Use of Social Media – Acorn Regulatory
• Best Large Business – Boston Scientific
• Best Family Business – Cantwell Electrical Engineering
• Tourism and Hospitality – The Cottage Loughmore
• Food and Agriculture – Blanco Nino
• Best Services Provider – Eishtec
• Best in Retail – Shanahans Centre, Borrisoleigh
• Best Social Enterprise – Knockanrawley Resource Centre, Tipperary town.