Belfast’s young talent were in the spotlight at the unveiling of the annual Top 40 Under 40 listing. Special Achievement Awards were presented at the luncheon to six of the Top 40: Boxer Martin Rogan, Victims Commissioner Patricia MacBride, Crosscommunity worker Andy Hewitt, PUP press officer Stewart Finn, entrepreneur Brendan McGinn and Merchant Hotel General Manager Adrian McLaughlin.

Compiled by the Belfast Media Group with premier sponsor Sainsbury’s, the listing pays tribute to the new generation of civic champions, ranging from artists to athletes and from entrepreneurs to engineers.

Among the well-known faces on this year’s Belfast 40 Under 40 — who were honored at a gala luncheon in the Great Hall at Queen’s University on Thursday 26 March, 2009 — are boxer Martin Rogan, politician Naomi Long, Victims’ Commissioner Patricia MacBride, Linfield legend Glenn Ferguson, troubadour Duke Special, green power engineer Paul Brewster and artist Susan MacWilliam.

Guest speaker at the luncheon included Marty Meehan, a former US Congressman and now Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Chancellor Meehan first traveled to Belfast with President Clinton’s economic mission and has returned to fulfill a pledge to build educational bridges between the US and Belfast. While here, he signed a new partnership agreement with Queen’s University and attended a community reception in St Mary’s University College in West Belfast.

Said Connla Lawlor of the Belfast Media Group: “The up-and-coming leaders of Belfast are its trump card and we’re delighted to be joining with our sponsors, Sainsbury’s, Grafton Recruitment, Northern Bank and Kennedy Centre, to sing their praises.”

Said Sean Largey, store manager at Sainsbury’s Kennedy Centre: “The future of the city, from north, south, east and west, will be shaped in the coming years by the actors, entrepreneurs, politicians and sports people being acknowledged today.”

Click on the front page below to read the 2009 Top 40 Under 40 supplement:

2009 Top 40 Under 40 sponsors: Sainsbury’s, Grafton Recruitment, Northern Bank and Kennedy Centre.

The 2009 40 Under 40: Adrian McLaughlin, Mary Rose McGrath, Graeme Farrow, Michael Conlon, Andy Hewitt, Teresa McCormack, Julie Scates, Darragh Morgan, Angela McGowan, Sharon Skillen, Paul O’Kane, Brendan McGinn, Conor Maskey, David Matchett, Duke Speciall, Lauren Early, John Finucane, Terry McNeill, Michael Quinn, Eimear Flanagan, Pól Deeds, Stewart Finn, Amanda O’Brien, Susan MacWilliam, Patrick Forrester, Martin McCann, Martin Rogan, Gareth McCausland, Paul Brewster, Gareth Macklin, John Loughran, Katrina Morgan-Talbot, Naomi Long, Patricia MacBride, Rosaleen O’Doherty, John O’Doherty, Jane Adams, Chris Connolly, David Robinson, Glenn Ferguson.