Carbery Group wins coveted title at glittering business event

CARBERY Group was crowned Company of the Year last night at Ireland’s largest corporate entertainment event outside of Dublin.

The Cork Chamber annual dinner also saw drinks firm Barry & Fitzwilliam win the award for small and medium firm and online company HR Locker winning emerging company of the year.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh was guest speaker at the event which was held at Cork City Hall and attended by 900 people.

Some of the names at the top table included Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Bord Gáis chief executive John Mullins, British ambassador Julian King, Barry O’Leary, chief executive of the IDA and Michael Murphy, president of UCC.

Picking up his award, chief executive of the Clonakility-headquartered, Carbery Group, Dan MacSweeney said the company’s focus is one of continual investment in research and development, new product development and bringing new products to the marketplace. One of the company’s flagship products is Dubliner cheese.

“We are as excited and confident about the future potential of our business as we have been at any time in our 45-year history,” he said.

Also nominated for this award were Trend Micro and Barry Group.

Managing director of HR Locker, John Dennehy, said the award will be a “huge boost” for everyone at the company and said winning will help them secure clients internationally.

“Everybody likes to know that you’ve had success in your home market. Although our business is online, our base is very firmly here in Cork. The Cork Chamber were one of the very first customers of HR Locker. It’s fantastic to see them embrace new technology and buy services from an Irish software company,” he said.

Also nominated in this category was Fastnet Line Ferry and Brook Catering.

To qualify for the SME company of the year the firm must have less than 100 employees, while the emerging company must be in business for less than five years.

Managing director of Corona importer, Barry & Fitzwilliam, Michael Barry, said his business is about people, products, service and relationships, adding that there is a “huge personal element to the way we conduct our business”.

Customer and supplier relationships have brought us to where we are. We pride ourselves in our ability to build brands and to build and maintain repeat business with our customers many of whom have been with us since 1982,” he said.

Barry & Fitzwilliam beat off competition from PT Technologies and Ó Crualaoí Butchers to win the award.

Cork Chamber president, Ger O’Mahoney said over the past 14 years the Cork Company of the Year Awards have grown in stature and are synonymous with the “highest level of performance and achievement in business”.

“With strong applications received, we are heartened to once again see such optimism and growth in business,” he said.

Members of the judging panel for the awards, which are sponsored by Vodafone included Cork Chamber president, Ger O’Mahoney, Chamber chief executive, Conor Healy, chief executive of Johnson and Perrott, Mark Whitaker, and chairman of Qumas, Paul Hands. Last year EMC won the Cork Company of the Year Award.

Picture: Vodafone Ireland business director Anne O’Leary presents the Cork Chamber/ Vodafone Company of the Year award to Carbery Group chief executive Dan MacSweeney in the presence of Carbery Group chairman John O’Brien, left, and Chamber president Ger O’Mahoney at City Hall, Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane

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