Leixlip hotelier crowned Kerry Person of the Year

KERRY folk and their friends gathered in Dublin on 1 March, to see Leixlip hotelier, Luke Moriarty, crowned as as Kerry Person of the Year.

KERRY folk and their friends gathered in Dublin on 1 March, to see Leixlip hotelier, Luke Moriarty, crowned as as Kerry Person of the Year.

Over 400 people attended the Dublin Kerry Association’s 61st Oíche Chiarraí in the Clyde Court Hotel in Ballsbridge.

The Killorglin native was praised by the selection committee for his approach to business, based on promoting Irish suppliers and contractors, developing staff and mentoring careers, and playing a significant hands-on role in communities.

“As a businessman, Luke Moriarty has a vision and work ethic second to none. He can see an opportunity, where other people only see problems, and he is completely loyal to those around him,” said Tony Hickey, former Garda Assistant Commissioner, who was the Oíche Chiarraí MC on the night.

A perpetual trophy, sponsored by Crohan O’Shea, 2011 Kerry Person of the Year, was presented to Luke Moriarty by the 2012 Kerry Person of the Year, Minister for Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan.

Mr. Deenihan said the award was presented in recognition of the community projects Mr. Moriarty has been involved in over the years. “Luke has given freely of his time to a wide range of causes. He is a successful Kerry businessperson, with integrity, who has created wealth and shared wealth, the old fashioned way, by working hard and being considerate of those around him,” Jimmy Deenihan said.

Mr. Moriarty dedicated the award to his late father Séan, who was a national school principal in Killorglin, and also paid tribute to his recently deceased friend Páidí Ó’Sé, and to the late Eamon Kelly, seanachaí of the ‘Rambling House’ fame, who was a close friend.

The award, now in its 34th year, is sponsored by Kerry Group and presented to people who make a significant contribution to their locality, and who reflect credit on the county of Kerry. Previous recipients include M.E.P. Sean Kelly, Dick Spring, Mick Galwey, Crohan O’Shea and the late Páidí Ó’Sé. Among those attending Oíche Chiarraí were Luke Moriarty’s family, including his mother Mary from Killorglin. Former Kerry players including Darragh O’Sé, Liam Hassett, Mike Frank Russell, and Jack O’Shea were guests, as was Judge Paul Kelly, a former Leixlip based Kildare County Councillor.

Accepting the award, Mr. Moriarty said he considered it an honour for his family. “There is great satisfaction in running a family business, and the secret to success is having a fantastic team around you. Similarly, being part of a community, it is only natural to get involved and do what we can. Tonight is about family and friends, and, while life often presents hardships, we come to appreciate that it is family and friends that are true wealth,” Luke Moriarty commented.

- Henry Bauress