Following eighteen entries, thirteen finalists, four categories and two rounds of judging, Sweeney Oil, was announced by Seán Kyne TD, Príomh-Aoire an Rialtais agus Aire Stáit don Ghaeilge, don Ghaeltacht agus do na hOileáin as the overall winner of Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh for the year ahead.
A great crowd turned out on Monday to celebrate the work and bilingual achievements of Gearrliosta Ghradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh 2019 and there was huge excitement when the winners were announced. The Gradam guests were entertained with a fantastic ‘preview performance’ from some of the members of Galway Traditional Orchestra under the stewardship of Eric Cunningham, Founder & Artistic Director. They also got to see videos of all of the Gradam finalists’ bilingual achievements created and produced by this year’s new sponsor MOLSCÉAL. The videos can be seen on Gaillimh le Gaeilge’s social media channels and on the MOLSCÉAL app.
Sweeney Oil was named as the winner of the ‘Services Category’ sponsored by Snap Galway and they went on to scoop the overall award on the night. Sweeney Oil first entered the Gradam in 2017 and their consistent use of the Irish language has been reflected in them winning their category last year and going on to win it again this year as well as taking the overall award. The Irish language is proudly displayed on their signage, website, advertising, marketing material, and they have several members of staff who can proudly provide a ‘Seirbhís trí Ghaeilge’. Over the past few years, the Irish language has become an important part of their identity in cultivating their local brand. They also have plans to extend the use of the Irish language to their other petrol stations and oil depots across Connacht.
Other Gradam award winners on the night were:
- KD Autoparts winner of the ‘Retail’ Category, sponsored by Galway Bay FM
- The Kings Head winner of the ‘Hospitality & Tourism’ Category, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland
- Big O Taxis, winner of the ‘Other Companies’ Category sponsored by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh.
Speaking on behalf of Moltóirí an Ghradaim, Rónán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “An rud is mó a chuaigh i gcion orainn ná, ní amháin gur chuir na gnólachtaí seo a gcuid ainmneacha ar aghaidh don Ghradam seo, chuir siad a gcroí steach ann chomh maith. All of these businesses and organisations feel that the Irish language is part and parcel of Galway’s culture and helps them to stand out from the crowd. They have all displayed a commitment to the Irish language which is to be applauded. While this made the task of choosing a winner more difficult at the end, the overall winner was the one that best demonstrated to us the use of the Irish language in all aspects of their business. The Irish language is part of their business policy and they also influenced SPAR to incorporate some Irish in their shop signage. They have a strong team of Irish language speakers that they actively and proudly promote to their customers.”
Speaking at the Gradam Award, Seán Kyne TD, Govermment Chief Whip and Minister for State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands said: “Tráthnóna inniu, tréaslaím go speisialta leis na gnólachtaí agus leis na heagraíochtaí fuinniúla a bhain an Gearrliosta amach. It’s great to see the increased visibility of the Irish language within your businesses and organisations as well as the positive impact that it has on you, as a business owner, manager, or member of staff in our bilingual city. Molaim an bhéim atá á leagan agaibhse agus ag Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh araon ar an tábhacht a bhaineann le ‘Seirbhís trí Ghaeilge’ a chur ar fáil do na custaiméirí agus dóibh siúd ar mian leo a ngnó a dhéanamh trí mheán na Gaeilge.”
Méara Chathair na Gaillimhe, Cllr. Níall McNelis congratulated all of the Gradam winners. He went on to say: “I always believe that it is very important to acknowledge the good work done here in our city and the Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh Award is an excellent opportunity for us in Galway, to showcase and acknowledge the true spirit of bilingualism in our city.”
Cathaoirleach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge, Bernadette Mullarkey said : “Is breá an rud é go bhfuil éagsúlacht chomh mór le sonrú ar na dreamanna ar fad a ainmníodh don Ghradam i mbliana; molaim go mór na hiarrachtaí agus an infheistíocht atá déanta agaibh mar aon leis an rún daingean atá léirithe agaibh cuid dhílis de bhur ngnó a dhéanamh den Ghaeilge. Your work is very important to our status as a Bilingual City and is also a positive acknowledgement of the valuable market of Irish Speakers in Galway City and County.”
A reflection of the high standard of entries this year is Bronnadh Speisialta na Moltóirí, a special award designed to acknowledge a businesses who has entered the Gradam for the first time and has achieved a very high standard which could not go unrecognised. Bronnadh Speisialta na Moltóirí, sponsored by Judy Greene Pottery was presented to The Galmont Hotel & Spa.
The Moltóirí also bestowed a University Scholarship sponsored by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh on a business that is making a special effort to promote and use the Irish language with their customers. Galway Volunteer Centre was presented with a two year scholarship on the language acquisition course, ‘An Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge’, a university qualification from NUI Galway.
The Gradam category winners all received a business package to the value of €2,000 from their respective category sponsor as well as a replica of Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh sponsored by Údarás na Gaeltachta. Sweeney Oil will receive an advertising package from the main media sponsor of the Gradam, the Galway Advertiser. They will also receive a publicity package with TG4 and one year’s membership of Galway Chamber and Gaillimh le Gaeilge.
They also receive Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh, a beautiful piece of sculpture specially designed by the famous artist Pádraic Reaney symbolising the 14 Tribes of Galway, with one ‘present day Tribe’ representing the winner of Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh 2019 and other winners to come.