A FORMER French teacher, turned Chartered Accountant, was hailed as a business leader of “top vintage” when he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Mid-Ulster Business Awards by his All-Ireland winning footballer nephew.
Described as a man who has successfully combined a career at the highest level of his chosen profession, with a “determined devotion” to the people and voluntary organisations of his local community, Sean Cavanagh, Co-Director of the leading accountancy practice, CavanaghKelly, was later joined on stage by his wife Patricia to receive the award from the Tyrone GAA star, also named Sean.
The Tyrone and Moy footballer introduced his uncle as someone who was the “Toast of Tyrone”, a “truly outstanding individual”.
He continued: “Tonight, we want to salute and honour the achievements of Sean Cavanagh, whose accountancy practice, CavanaghKelly, has become one of Northern Ireland’s most respected accountancy firms, with offices in Dungannon, Magherafelt and more recently Belfast, employing over 60 staff.
“Sean started his professional career as a French teacher, teaching in St Malachy’s College Belfast and later St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon.
“Some 30 years ago, he decided to take his professional career in a different direction and retrained as a Chartered Accountant.
“In 1991, he set up his own practice, JJ Cavanagh & Co, in Thomas Street, Dungannon. In 2003 CavanaghKelly was formed from the merger of JJ Cavanagh & Co and DA Kelly & Co and with Sean and Des Kelly as leaders the practice has gone from strength to strength.”
Mr Cavanagh was praised for offering his clients a “hands-on service”, taking time to get to know them as individuals and understanding their business.
His nephew, also an accountant, told of how Mr Cavanagh was heavily involved in encouraging entrepreneurship through the Enterprise centres in some of the most economically inactive areas of Belfast, as well as fulfilling the role of mentor for the Prince’s Trust, and helping some of his current clients to successfully set up and grow their own businesses.
The audience was told how Sean Cavanagh has consistently used his considerable talents and abilities within the local community, as a founding member of Moygashel Community Development Association (responsible for the regeneration and construction of the Linen Green complex), and a fervent GAA supporter.
“He is a trustee for St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon”, continued the Tyrone footballer, “and my brother Colm and I, together with the entire membership of Moy GAA can verify his passion, support and commitment to the club and indeed the County (and to paraphrase Charles Dickens, ‘through the best of times and worst of times’).
“Whenever we play, whether we are winning All Ireland Titles or losing a local league game, we can always be assured of Sean’s unobtrusive, but no less fervent, support which is always welcome and truly appreciated.
“Sean has been a member of numerous committees for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland during his career, and is the current chair of the Institute’s Insolvency Technical Committee.
“Sean is an outstanding individual, whose achievements are wholly worthy of the Mid-Ulster Business Lifetime Achievement Award.”