Miriam O’Callaghan, who was joint MC for the awards ceremony along with RTÉ Prime Time colleague David McCullagh, announced the special award for Ted Crosbie, pointing out that he had done as much as any other “to enhance Cork’s reputation and to ensure that it makes headlines day by day, and year by year”.
She said the Cork Examiner/Irish Examiner had survived the Famine, First World War, the War of Independence, Civil War, the Great Depression of 1930, de Valera’s Economic War, the Second World War, and a number of recessions.
“He has been a dominant force in his company and in the civil life of Cork and Munster for decades, during which he has been a relentless pioneer for innovation and a force for constructive change, achieved through consultation and mutual agreement,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
Mr McCullagh noted: “This does not mean he is a soft touch. Anyone who has been in a negotiation with this man will know the meaning of the words ‘hard bargain’.”
Even now, in his late 80s, he can be found every day walking the editorial floor of the newspaper, talking to reporters and news editors, sharing story ideas with a twinkling good humour and always supporting the freedom of the press.
“He is, as has been said in the past few weeks, a journalist’s dream proprietor,” Mr McCullagh said.
Both MCs said that the principal shareholder of Landmark Media and a former chief executive and director of what was known for many years as Thomas Crosbie Holdings was richly deserving of the award.
Mr Crosbie has been a stalwart supporter of the Cork Person of the Year Awards and Ms O’Callaghan added that he had lent his name to a host of charities and good causes locally.
“He is a civic leader who has demonstrated a deep and abiding interest in his local community and its heritage,” she said.
“A proud Corkonian, educated in CBC and UCC, he is a great family man and is here today with his daughters Elizabeth and Sophie, his sons Tom, Andrew, and Edward, and his sister Ruth.”
Both congratulated Mr Crosbie on his formidable achievements in a lifetime of service. Mr Cosbie thanked everyone concerned for giving him the honour, and spent some time regaling the audience with stories of the newspaper’s past, sprinkling his speech with witticisms.
Earlier, his son Tom Crosbie, Landmark Media chairman, had spoken about the sale of the Evening Echo, Irish Examiner, and other titles to the Irish Times.
“We’re delighted and relieved that the future is secured by the sale to the Irish Times.,” said Tom Crosbie. “But we’re saddened that the family connection will come to an end in the next few months, subject to regulatory approval.”