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IT WAS a night of resounding success for everyone involved in the 13th annual Aisling Awards at the Europa Hotel last Thursday. The unsung heroes of a changing Belfast were present to celebrate all that is and continues to be successful about the city and its communities.

From the buzzing Beehive Bar in 1997 to the splendour of the Europa Hotel, the Aisling Awards have become the biggest event held to recognise the exceptional effort and dedication of individuals who play a part in the new Belfast.

Guest speaker on the night was Christine Quinn, the Speaker of New York City Council, whose enthusiasm and energy since she touched down in the city was an inspiration to all as she spoke of the growing connection between Ireland and New York.

There were nine awards in total and St Patrick’s College  Bearnageeha were the proud recipients of the Education Award.

The Lower Ormeau Residents’ Action Group (LORAG) were the recipients of the Outstanding Community Endeavour award and the award was triumphantly received by Gerard Rice from the group.

The year-long Féile an Phobail won the Culture and Arts Achievement Award and the Belfast Brand Award went to the sterling work carried out on St Malachy’s Church in Belfast Market area

A jubilant Antrim Ladies football team won the coveted Outstanding Sports Achievement Award and received a standing ovation, while the Park Avenue Hotel celebrated their win for Outstanding Achievement in Business.

The Aisling Roll of Honour Award went to Alan McBride, who lost his wife Sharon and father-in-law Desmond in the Shankill bomb in 1993. The award was to recognise his work in peace-building and the work he does for the WAVE Trauma Centre.

The Aisling Person of the Year award went to Sinn Féin Cllr and local historian Tom Hartley who this year completed his term as Lord Mayor of the city.

Managing Director of the Belfast Media, Group Máirtín ó Mulleoir, said: “This was a superb showcase of the changing Belfast and a tribute to the talent and genius which make us proud to call this city home. Our events team leader Connla Lawlor has surpassed herself with another sold-out Aisling gala.”

Awards Recipients…

  • Business…

Winner… Park Avenue Hotel

  • Belfast Brand…

Winner… St.Malachy’s Church

  • Community Endeavour…

Winner… LORAG

  • Culture and Arts…

Winner… Féile and Phobail

  • Education…

Winner… St Patrick’s College, Bearnageeha

  • Irish Language…

Winner… Féile an Droichead

  • Sports…

Winner… Antrim GAA Ladies Football Team

  • Roll on Honour…

Winner… Alan McBride

  • Person of the Year…

Winner… Tom Hartley

Aisling Awards 2009 In Magazine: