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Colm McLoughlin honoured at the American Celtic Ball in New York

A special occasion: (l-r) Michael Davern of the K Club; Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman Colm McLoughlin and his wife Breeda, with Sir Michael Smurfit at the awards ceremony in New York earlier this month

Executive vice chairman of Dubai Duty Free presented with the Sir Michael Smurfit Business Achievement Award.

October 23, 2013 12:08 by

At the 25th Annual American Celtic Ball, held in the Pierre Hotel, New York on October 9, Colm McLoughlin, the executive vice chairman of Dubai Duty Free, was presented with the Sir Michael Smurfit Business Achievement Award.

Organised by the Irish Chamber of Commerce USA (ICCUSA), the awards evening attracted over 200 guests for the glittering black tie event which recognized the business and humanitarian achievements made by Irish nationals living both in Ireland and overseas.

Colm McLoughlin, who was accompanied by his wife Breeda, was recognised for his dynamic leadership at the helm of Dubai Duty Free for the past 30 years during which the business grew from an annual turnover of $20 million to an expected $1.8 billion this year. McLoughlin, a former General Manager at Shannon Duty Free, was one of the original team of ten assigned by AerRianta to set up the airport retail operation at the request of the Dubai Aviation Authority back in 1983.

On accepting the Sir Michael Smurfit Business Achievement award on the night, Mr. McLoughlin thanked both the ICCUSA and Sir Michael Smurfit, who is a leading Irish businessman.

“I have looked at the former recipients of this award and am deeply honored to join such an illustrious line up,” said McLoughlin “I am very proud of all that has been achieved by Dubai Duty Free for the past 30 years and I thank our Chairman, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and our team of staff for their support.

“I am also proud to be Irish and from an early age, my parents, in particular my father, encouraged us to take an active interest in community life. Later in our lives, when we moved away, we were encouraged to promote all things Irish.

“As a result, when I came to Dubai I joined the Dubai Irish Society (DIS) and was Chairman of DIS for some time. Today, I am actively involved with the Irish Business Network, the Dubai Irish Golf Society and was President of the Dubai Celts for a number of years.

“Of course The Irish Village, which is one of the most popular bars and restaurants in Dubai, is owned by Dubai Duty Free and we employ over 20 Irish staff and it is a unique venue for entertainment.

“Breeda and myself have been happy to support Irish groups and business in Dubai and to provide support for young Irish people coming to Dubai and looking for work opportunities.

“I am very proud and privileged to accept this award on behalf of our staff and in honour of my parents as well as in memory of Breeda’s mother who passed away recently”.

Former recipients of the Sir Michael Smurfit Business Award include notable Irish business leaders including Denis O’ Brien, Dermot Desmond, Donald Patrick Brennan and last year’s winner, Louise Phelan. Previous Celtic Ball honorees in the field of the Arts include TV host, Gabriel Byrne, singer Chris de Burgh, film director Jim Sheridan and actor Liam Neeson. At the Celtic Ball in 2012, former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese and her husband Martin, were the recipients of the International Ellis Island Medals of Honor.

Dubai Duty Free opened for business on December 20 1983 and in the past 30 years has grown to become one of the top duty free operations in the world. Employing 6,000 staff and operating some 26,000 square metres of retail space at Dubai International Airport, the operation marks its 30th anniversary this year.

The Dubai Duty Free Leisure Division, which comes under the remit of Mr. McLoughlin, includes The Irish Village, Century Village, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium and the five star Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, which opened in July 2012 and features 292 rooms over nine floors.

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