Roseanne Donegan and Karl Murphy of the Monasterboice Inn (centre) with their National Small Business Award Sustainable Energy award pictured with Sue O’Neill, chair, SFA, Andrea Carroll, SME Programme Manager, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Sven Spollen-Behrens, director, SFA.
The Monasterboice Inn, known to generations of locals and people throughout the country simply as “Donegans”, has won a prestigious Small Firms Association (SFA) National Small Business Award.
The awards, which were held in the RDS Concert Hall on Friday night, celebrate the achievements of small business in Ireland and recognise the vital contribution of the sector to the Irish economy.
The winners were selected from hundreds of applications and the selected finalists from over 14 counties gathered in the RDS for the awards night and presentations. The Monasterboice Inn was selected as the winner in the Sustainable Energy category.
Speaking at the Awards night SFA Director Sven Spollen-Behrens said: “We continue to grow an Awards programme that positions the small business brand, as the backbone of the Irish economy.
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“It has been great tonight to celebrate the best in small business. Small businesses contributed to the recovery of our economy by making difficult decisions in times of recession. They are proving yet again their resilience and flexibility when faced with new challenges."
The Management at “Donegans” have certainly contributed a lot to the local economy and, despite significant opposition, have managed to expand both their premises and their profitability.
Roseanne Donegan told Drogheda Life this morning that they (she and Manager Karl Murphy) were absolutely delighted to be among the winners.
“We really did not think that we would even be at the races” she said. “We went up for the craic and a night out and were stunned and literally sitting at the table looking at each other when our name was called!”
The sustainable energy award was well deserved however as Roseanne explained that, while extending the premises to put in a conference centre they had to redirect a stream and they took the opportunity to harness it for aqua thermal energy and they also have a humidity table which takes moisture from the air and turns that into energy also.
The upshot of these and other technical gizmos means that, although the premises was increased in area by 42% their fuel bills have remained pretty much the same. "In effect our extension is free to heat and light" Roseanne said.
It was a great night overall for County Louth with Dundalk based Blueacre Technology walking away with the overall winner’s award and Ovvo from Haggardstown being highly commended in the Innovator of the Year category.
The Awards prize package for ALL finalists included participation in the SFA Business Connect event in February, a strategic management masterclass weekend, as well as broad-ranging national and local media coverage, all valued at €50,000.
The category winners were presented with a trophy and free membership of the Small Firms Association for one year. The overall winner also received a bursary of €5,000 to present to a charity of their choice.