Restaurant served major award

Donal Doherty, right, Harry's Restaurant, Bridgend, receiving the 'Innovation Award' at the Enterprising Donegal Business Awards 2011 from John Perry TD, Minister for Small Business. Also in photo: Danielle Mullan, Michael Tunney, CEO, Donegal County Enterprise Board, Edel Doherty and chef, Raymond Moran. Photograph: Paul McGuckin.
Donal Doherty, right, Harry's Restaurant, Bridgend, receiving the 'Innovation Award' at the Enterprising Donegal Business Awards 2011 from John Perry TD, Minister for Small Business. Also in photo: Danielle Mullan, Michael Tunney, CEO, Donegal County Enterprise Board, Edel Doherty and chef, Raymond Moran. Photograph: Paul McGuckin.

A Bridgend restaurant has scooped a major award in this year’s Enterprising Donegal Business Awards 2011.

Harry’s Bar and Restaurant was awarded the prestigious Business Innovation Award at the event hosted by Donegal County Enterprise Board.

Donal Doherty, Harry's Restaurant, Bridgend, winner of the 'Innovation Award' at the Enterprising Donegal Business Awards 2011 receiving the award from John Perry TD, Minister for Small Business and Michael Tunney, CEO, Donegal County Enterprise Board who hosted the awards. Photograph: Paul McGuckin.

Donal Doherty, Harry's Restaurant, Bridgend, winner of the 'Innovation Award' at the Enterprising Donegal Business Awards 2011 receiving the award from John Perry TD, Minister for Small Business and Michael Tunney, CEO, Donegal County Enterprise Board who hosted the awards. Photograph: Paul McGuckin.

The top-notch award was presented to owner Donal Doherty by the Minister for Small business, John Perry TD, at a black-tie dinner in the Radisson Hotel in Letterkenny last weekend.

While the Letterkenny-based Sweeney family carried away the Donegal Business of the Year award.

Their business, the Swilly group, provides driver training, general training and transport consulting services throughout Ireland.

Founded by Noel Sweeney in 1975, the company is now the biggest driving school outside Dublin and the third biggest in the country.

The Business Development Award went to John McNamara of Letterkenny-based JB Interactive Mobile Marketing, while the Emerging Business Award went to Rose Blaney of Seascape Spa.

The Business Achievement Award went to Sidney McDaid of Letterkenny Skip Hire & Recycling and Highland Radio took the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Economy.

“When you consider the quality of the other companies who were short listed for the awards, we were totally shocked when our name was called out for the overall award” said Brian Sweeney, Managing Director of Swilly Group. “I’m delighted for my parents Noel and Mary, who have worked hard for the past 36 years building the business. We have an excellent team of employees who give us 100% week in week out and we couldn’t have achieved this without their hard work and commitment. They are Paddy Maguire, James Greene, Noreen Toye, Michael McGill, Liam Casey, Don Ponsonby, Susan Wasson, Damian Kerin and Karen Boyle. We also have a large group of part time tutors and training partners who have worked extremely hard for the company and I want to acknowledge their contribution also.”

Michael Tunney, CEO of Donegal County Enterprise Board, said “The Sweeney family richly deserve this award.”

They have developed a small family business into one that is delivering services across the island. They combine excellent service delivery with an eye for marketing and promotional opportunities, and they devote significant resources to training themselves and their staff to constantly improve their capabilities.”