All Irish eyes are smiling at debut London awards

CITY slickers rubbed shoulders with celebrities yesterday lunchtime at the inaugural London Irish Business Awards ceremony, held at the London Stock Exchange.

Organised by Ireland Inc, a private sector body set up to advance Irish business interests, the gathering handed out gongs to corporates and individuals it considered to have made an outstanding contribution to the interests of British and Irish trade.

The group was responsible for the LSE’s Ireland Day earlier this year, which saw Ireland INC founder Ian Hyland ring the bell.

London-listed Greencore’s Patrick Coveney won business person of the year for his leadership of the convenience food company behind Weightwatchers ready meals.

Meanwhile Gary McCann was on hand to pick up a prize on behalf of Smurfit Kappa, the global packaging group, for London Irish business of the year.

Honours were also bestowed upon former British ambassador to Ireland, Julian King CMG, honoured for his outstanding contribution to British Irish trade relations, and the Irish International Business Network.

There were no prizes for Ryanair or Aer Lingus this time round and no mention of Betfair and PaddyPower.

But if yesterday’s event is anything to go by, The Capitalist wouldn’t mind placing a bet that the London Irish Business Awards are set to take off.