The Special Recognition Award is given to enterprises that have made a special contribution to the local business community and to the city as a whole.
For the year of the 2013 City of Culture, there could be no more worthy or appropriate winner than the organizers of the Fleadh – the biggest event held in Derry in modern times.
The Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is the biggest celebration of Irish culture anywhere in the world. The event was organised by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, and was truly significant in the history of the city and indeed for the history of the Comhaltas as this was the first time the Fleadh was hosted north of the border.
The Fleadh featured over 100 events, exclusive world class collaborations and a dream team of performers. Some of the richest traditional musical regions in the world were celebrated with a series of concert events that attracted a veritable who’s who of the traditional world.
Sinead McLaughlin, chief executive of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, said: “We all had a marvellous 2013, City of Culture. But without doubt the event that stood out from all the year’s events, was the Fleadh. It was magnificent.
“The Fleadh was successful on many different levels. It brought Irish traditional music and culture to a much wider audience. It brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city. It took Derry’s name and fantastic vibe out to Ireland, Britain and the world. And it for some local businesses, it provided some highly valued trade. But it only happened, and it was only successful, because of the great organisational capacity that lay behind it.”
That organisational capacity was the Doire branch of the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. We salute them, we thank them and it is very appropriate that we reward them with the ‘Business of the Year’ Awards Special Recognition Award.