Paddy Shanahan pictured at the awards evening.
Paddy's company now employs almost 1000 people and has an annual turnover of more than €100 million.
An Upperchurch man who departed for the UK in 1988 and who is now head of a company turning over in excess of £100m annually, was the toast of London recently with the Building Britain Awards 2017.
Paddy Shanahan, Cappanavile, Upperchurch, son of the late John Shanahan (Parnell) and Kitty Callanan (orginally from Leugh), is a regular visitor back home where his brothers, step-brothers, sisters and extended family members are so prominent in the community - his brother Sean owns and runs Shanahans Topaz Centra in Borrisoleigh.
Paddy worked in his father's machinery business in his younger days - a business which gave much needed, valuable employment in the local community. And, from the moment he moved to Barnet with his wife, Newport lady Helena Boland , Paddy used all his experience from home to carve out a great niche for himself. Ground Construction Ltd (GCL) was formed by Paddy and Trevor Diviney in 1998 some years after they met in the construction industry. Paddy and Helena now have three children, Shane, Hazel and Culainn.
When Paddy took to the stage to be interviewed by Eamonn Holmes at the awards evening, he told the one thousand strong audience at the Grosvenor Hotel, Park Lane London;
“I came from Upperchurch to London in 1988 and today our partnership company are turning over in excess of £100million per year”.
Over the past 19 years Ground Construction Limited (GCL) has developed into one of the fastest growing integrated construction companies within London and Home Counties.
Now employing almost 1,000 people and along with its co-founder Trevor Diviney GCL, it continues to reinvent itself while having ongoing support links to worthwhile charities like GOAL, Isabel Hospice etc.
Paddy’s words of pride were echoed by the other recipients in the various categories in the 40th Annual ‘Irish Post’ Awards. Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid was being honoured with an Outstanding Contribution to the Music Industry Award and he affirmed the numerous 2nd and 3rd generation Irish communities all over Britain.
Bob Geldof was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award and on Brexit said “Over 90 percent of the Irish in Britain – the great Irish cities of London, Manchester, Liverpool, Derry and Belfast, voted to remain. It is in the interest of Britain to stay in Europe, as it is in the interest of Ireland to be allied with Britain in Europe, and this is very dangerous for our native country and it is very dangerous for here.We have a year and a half to prevent this catastrophe,” he said.
For the first time, with an estimated global audience of one million, the event was broadcast live on TG4 by Eamonn and from TG's Aoife Ni Thuairisg.
Cork brothers Gary and Paul O’Donovan were presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Sport and were very unassuming but gracious in the acceptance.
Previous ‘Irish Post’ award winners include broadcaster Terry Wogan, Daniel Day-Lewis, dancer Michael Flatley and Mo Mowlam.
The Shanahan and Callanan families locally are very proud of Paddy's achievement and his success in business as indeed is the community in Upperchurch. One local told The Tipperary Star - “A more down to earth individual you could not meet and it is always a pleasure to bump into Paddy when he comes home here to Upperchurch.
“He worked very hard when he was with his father John Parnell, as he called him, and it came as no surprise to anyone that he became a very successful businessman because it was in him from the start. It's great that Upperchurch is getting such positive comment thanks to Paddy,” the local said.
The Chairman of the Templemore Thurles Municipal District, Cllr Seamus Hanafin has extended his congratulations to Paddy on winning the award and wished him well for the future.