The SIMI (Society of the Irish Motor Industry) held its 66th Annual Dinner at the Clayton Hotel in Dublin incorporating the SIMI Irish Motor Industry Awards in partnership with sponsor Bank of Ireland Finance.
Over 700 people working in the motor industry in Ireland were in attendance, with Oliver Callan acting as MC for the night.
In his speech, SIMI President Gerard O’Farrell reinforced the motor industry’s commitment towards zero emissions, and warned against short-term decisions, based on a simplistic view of the environmental and air quality challenges facing Ireland. He emphasised “the need for an agreed, realistic, roadmap with ambitious targets based on an understanding of what can be achieved.” This, he said, needs to be “a multi-annual commitment, led by Government and involving all of the stakeholders.”
Mr O’Farrell outlined how “the creation of Autonomous, Connected, Electric and shared technologies will offer potential for high calibre job creation and significant economic growth. Ireland is well positioned to play a leading role in developing the technology underpinning such vehicles and their operation.” The President called upon the Government to act now, to prepare the national infrastructure and reduce our exposure to risk as these vehicles become more mainstream. He called for the development of a cohesive policy, which will allow Ireland to be at the forefront of knowledge creation.
While outlining the wide-range of potential career opportunities available, the President also addressed the immediate challenge of attracting and recruiting sufficient numbers of apprentices and other trainee professionals. He encouraged the industry to focus on increasing the intake of apprentices and other trainees in order to safe-guard against potential skills shortages in the future.
The SIMI Motor Industry Awards are given in ten categories and are open to all sectors of the Irish motor industry. This year’s awards were presented by Brian Cooke, Director General Designate of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), and Derek McDermott, Managing Director of Bank of Ireland Finance.
Category Award Winners
- Franchised Sales Operation of the Year – Tom Murphy Car Sales, Waterford
- Franchised Aftersales Operation of the Year- Kevin Egan Cars, Sligo
- Commercial Vehicle Operation of the Year- Fitzgerald Commercial Ltd, Co Cork
- Independent Sales Operation of the Year- Auto Assure Ltd, Co. Louth
- Independent Aftersales Operation of the Year- Autokey, Dublin 22
- Innovation in Fleet Management Solutions- Provision Vehicle Cameras Dublin 15
- Vehicle Recovery Operator of the Year- Dysart Breakdown Recovery Repairs Ltd t/a Dysart Motors Co. Laois
- Bodyshop of the Year- Pratt’s Auto Bodyshop, Carlow
- Innovation in Bodyshop Operation – Accident Repair Centre, Dublin 24
- Motor Factor of the Year- Parts for Cars, Dublin 6
Winners were chosen based on a demonstrated award-winning level of excellence and best practice over the last 12 months, as adjudicated by an independent panel.
A special recognition award, in conjunction with the Road Safety Authority, was presented to the Gardai Press Office for their contribution towards road safety.