Stephen O’Byrnes, the man who was head hunted by former leading Fianna Fáil figures Des O’Malley and Mary Harney to spearhead the development of their new party, the Progressive Democrats in 1986, has been named as the 2018 Limerick Person of the Year (Dublin).
A native of the parish of Kildimo-Pallaskenry, the media consultant will be presented with his chain of office at the Club Limerick (Dublin) annual All-Ireland Hurling Championship preview event in Croke Park on Friday 18 May 2018.
Commenting on the nomination, Club Limerick Dublin Chair Paul Stapleton said “Stephen had a ringside seat at a very difficult and interesting period in Irish history. He is currently a highly respected media advisor and political commentator but he also has never forgotten his Limerick roots. He plays a very active role in furthering the interests of his native county and we are delighted to add his name to a long list of people from the county who have achieved success in so many areas – sport, politics, business, public service to name but a few.”
Stephen spent 15 years as a journalist with the Irish Independent, where he was News Analysis Editor and Editorial Writer. He also worked in the Irish Press Group including as Political Reporter and Consumer Affairs Correspondent.
In 1986, he was asked by Des O’Malley and Mary Harney to become the PD’s Policy Director and National Press Officer. Another man well acquainted with Limerick to join the party at this time was Pat Cox who later became Ireland’s only President of the European Parliament. Those were turbulent days in Irish politics, especially during the life of the Fianna Fáil-PD government from 1989 to 1992, when Stephen was the party’s Government Press Secretary.
In 1996 he left politics, and since then has pursued a career in public relations and political lobbying. Over the years he has also been a regular writer and commentator on current affairs. Among his published works is a history of Fine Gael. He has served on a number of boards, including the RTÉ Authority, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and Arthritis Ireland.
Stephen has also been a lifelong Limerick GAA supporter. For many years he has been an active member of the Limerick Supporters Club in Dublin, now known as Club Limerick Dublin, and has also involved himself in a number of business activities where he has been a founding member of Capital Limerick and cultural initiatives focused on mobilising Limerick business people in Dublin to add their support to the economic resurgence of Limerick city and county that is now firmly under way.
He was in Kilmallock last October to cheer on his native Kildimo-Pallaskenry when they won the County Intermediate hurling title.
Stephen takes over from the incumbent Michael Guiney, well-known Dublin businessman and native of Croom.
There are a few places left for the All-Ireland Hurling Championship Preview Event on Friday 18 May 2018 at Croke Park – Contact Ciaran Hayes 087 794 3026.