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Milford Care Centre and Rugby Legend Keith Earls honoured at Limerick Person of the Year Awards 2023

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Pictured are Munster and Ireland rugby legend Keith Earls recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award, with Bridget Finucane and Mary O’Brien, Milford Care Centre, Limerick Persons of the Year 2023. Picture: Alan Place

Milford Care Centre win Limerick Person of the Year Award 2023 and Keith Earls gets standing ovations as the rugby legend gets lifetime achievement award

Pictured are Bridget Finucane and Mary O’Brien, Milford Care Centre, Limerick Persons of the Year 2023 Keith Earls was also honoured at this year’s event. Picture: Alan Place

Milford Care Centre have been named Limerick Persons of the Year 2023 at a ceremony in the Clayton Hotel in Limerick today. The Centre, which provides specialist palliative care services and older persons services in the Midwest, was honoured by the judges for their “incredible work with some of the most vulnerable people in the community.”

Munster and Ireland rugby legend Keith Earls was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony and said it has been his “honour to represent Limerick all over the world”. Born in Moyross, Keith earned 202 caps for Munster and 101 for Ireland throughout his inspirational career. Keith retired from rugby in 2023.

This is the 23rd year of the awards that were set up to honour the achievements and success of local people at home and abroad.


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Speaking at the awards ceremony, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Gerald Mitchell congratulated Milford Care Centre, saying, “The Limerick Person of the Year Awards are a fantastic recognition of people and organisations making significant positive contributions to life in Limerick. The Milford Care Centre are worthy overall winners for their tireless work with some of the most vulnerable people in our community. There is hardly a family in Limerick that has not experienced the empathetic, professional care the Milford staff provide to patients and their loved ones, guiding them through a very difficult period.”

Mayor Mitchell added that Keith Earls has been an inspiration both on and off the pitch saying: “I was delighted to see Keith Earls being honoured for his amazing contribution to sport, representing Limerick at the highest levels across the world.

“He has provided so many thrilling moments on the pitch during a glittering 16 year career while also being a fantastic ambassador for Limerick. Keith has also spoken openly and bravely about his bi-polar disorder diagnoses in 2021, helping to create awareness of the condition. Even in retirement he continues to be an inspiration.”

Pictured is Munster and Ireland rugby legend Keith Earls recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award. Picture: Alan Place

Accepting the Limerick Person of the Year Award 2023, Chief Executive of Milford Care Centre, Mary O’Brien said it will give the hard working staff a boost: “Milford Care Centre are absolutely honoured to receive this award and it really shows a true recognition of what the staff do every day for the people of Limerick. We provide specialist palliative care and older person services to the Midwest. The people of Limerick have been very generous and very kind to Milford Care Centre and we are absolutely thrilled to receive this. They will be delighted when I go back and tell them all. It will give them all a great boost because they are always dealing with difficult cases, difficult and challenging times, but we are so privileged to be part of people’s lives at a time when they need us most and we are delighted to provide the service that we do.”

At the ceremony, Keith Earls was accompanied by his wife Edel who he quipped “should get a lifetime achievement award for putting up with me.”

The rugby legend received a standing ovation as he was called for his award and gave an emotional, off the cuff speech: “Limerick means so much to my family. Limerick faced many challenges as I was growing up and putting things right for Limerick and not having people speak badly about Limerick was my motivation. All my travels all over the world, all my achievements, the thing I used to look forward to the most was getting back to Limerick and getting into the city centre and strolling around, meeting the characters and some of the great people of Limerick. It was an honour for me to represent them and one of my favourite moments last year was to bring a trophy back to Thomond Park for the people of Munster and the people of Limerick.”

Speaking about his retirement, Keith said: “I am genuinely starting to grieve my rugby career at this moment. It was an honour to represent Limerick my whole career and it’s an honour to be up here to receive this award.”

25.04.24 REPRO FREE Milford Care Centre have been named Limerick Persons of the Year 2023 at a ceremony in the Clayton Hotel in Limerick today. The Centre, which provides specialist palliative care services and older persons services in the Mid-West, was honoured for their Òincredible work with some of the most vulnerable people in the community.Ó Munster and Ireland rugby legend Keith Earls was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony. The Limerick man earned 202 caps for Munster and 101 for Ireland throughout his inspirational career. Keith retired from rugby in 2023 This is the 23rd year of the awards that were set up to honour the achievements and success of local people at home and abroad. Pictured are Munster and Ireland rugby legend Keith Earls recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr. Gerard Mitchell, Bridget Finucane and Mary O'Brien, Milford Care Centre, Limerick Persons of the Year 2023. Picture: Alan Place
Pictured are Munster and Ireland rugby legend Keith Earls recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr. Gerard Mitchell, Bridget Finucane and Mary O’Brien, Milford Care Centre, Limerick Persons of the Year 2023. Picture: Alan Place

The annual Limerick Person of the Year Awards are jointly sponsored by the Limerick Leader, media agency Southern, and the Clayton Hotel.

Áine Fitzgerald, Managing Editor, Limerick Leader said: “The Limerick Leader / Limerick Live team is once again privileged to play a part in the Limerick Person of the Year awards. This Thursday’s ceremony is all about saluting the accomplishments of each of the monthly winners. Their stories are stories of ambition, hope, determination and true selflessness. Limerick is lucky to have people like our 12 monthly winners and it’s an honour to be part of their journey”.

Dave O’Hora, Managing Director, Southern added: “We at Southern are delighted and privileged to support these awards. Every year I stress that this is not a competition. Nobody entered, they were nominated, and that the person or persons chosen are chosen as the representative of all of the people and all of their achievements and endeavours.”

Darren Harding, General Manager, Clayton Hotel Limerick said: “The Clayton Hotel Limerick is once again delighted to host the Limerick Person of the Year awards.  It is one of our favourite events here at the hotel and to see the pride and feel the passion and energy in the hotel on awards day is just fantastic. It is wonderful to see such passionate, dedicated, and resilient people gathered in one room on one day.”

Milford Care Centre were Limerick Persons of the Month for August 2023 and were joined at the ceremony by representatives from the other 11 Persons of the Month Winners in 2023.

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.