• Cyril McAree

Danny Connell, Knightsbrook Hotel, Meath Wins Inaugural IHF Award


Danny Connell, Restaurant Team Leader with the Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim, Co Meath, was recently named the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) National Employee of the Year. This is the first year of the award, which celebrates and recognises the hotel employee who has made an outstanding contribution to their workplace. Brendan Griffin, TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport presented Mr Connell with his award at the IHF’s 80th Annual Conference in the Slieve Russell Hotel, Cavan this week.

Congratulating Mr Connell, outgoing President of the Irish Hotels Federation, Joe Dolan, said that the award showcased the calibre of people who work within our sector. “Ireland’s tourism and hospitality industry relies heavily on the consistent delivery of a quality product. This award provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate our appreciation for the wonderful contribution that our team members each day in providing a world class hospitality product,” he said.

Over 60,000 people are employed in Irish hotels. Tourism is the country’s largest indigenous employer, supporting approximately 230,000 jobs - equivalent to 11% of total employment. More than 60,000 new tourism jobs have been created since 2011 and Mr Dolan said that the industry is on target to create a further 40,000 tourism jobs by 2021. Most hoteliers planning to increase staff numbers during 2018, according to an industry survey, across all areas of their business.

Danny joined the Knightsbrook Hotel in November 2016 as a Restaurant Waiting person and made national headlines last year when he saved a hotel guest from choking. He was the Mourne/Boyne /Lakes nominee for the National Employee of the Year Award. Members of the Irish Hotels Federation could nominate a candidate from their hotel/guesthouse to go forward for their regional branch award. The other shortlisted nominees for the award were:

  • Dublin: Ciara MacNamara, Jurys In Parnell Street

  • Galway: Sharon Leneghan, Clayton Hotel

  • South East: Edyta Gorna, Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny

  • Kerry: Patricia Teahan, Caragh House Hotel

  • Mayo: Kasia Bigas Suliga, Westport Plaza Hotel

  • Cork: Michelle Dorgan, Rochestown Park Hotel

The national award was adjudicated by an independent panel of judges, chaired by Dr Tony Lenehan from the Centre for Competitiveness and COTRI (Ireland).

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