Libertarians, contrarians, barbarians ... the Golden Nanny Awards 2017
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 14:32
Simon Clark

Congratulations to Catherine Noone.

The deputy leader of the Seanad (the Upper House of the Irish Parliament) was awarded star prize at the inaugural Golden Nanny Awards in Dublin last night.

Better still, while other nominees failed to respond to our invitation to attend, Noone not only replied but turned up in person to collect her trophy (above).

The Times (Ireland edition) has a report here – Senator wins award as head of Ireland’s ‘nanny state’.

'The Nannies' were part of a 'Farewell to Freedom' dinner hosted by Forest with the support of the Hibernia Forum think tank, Students for Liberty Ireland, Consumer Choice Centre and the Dublin Salon debating group.

It was first time we'd attempted anything like this in Ireland. The venue was important because we wanted to mimic the annual Freedom Dinner in London, albeit on a smaller scale.

A cosy smoking terrace was essential and there aren't many of those around. Suesey Street, the restaurant we hired, has one of the best smoking areas I've seen either side of the Irish Sea.

I won't go into detail but it's fabulous. Last night, despite the rain, it was warm, dry and perfect for a drinks reception prior to dinner.

Sixty guests had registered (56 turned up) so the restaurant was pretty full. Hibernia Forum brought 17 guests, Students for Liberty ten.

As well as Catherine Noone, the Forest table included The Times' reporter Catherine Sanz, Irish Independent columnist Ian O'Doherty and Forest Ireland's John Mallon.

Welcoming us to Suesey Street, general manager John Healy was an excellent host.

Apart from Noone it turned out his was the most familiar face in the room owing to his long-running role as maitre d’ on TV3’s The Restaurant in which "six celebrity chefs take on the critics".

I acted as MC and rather like the Oscars I ended up getting slightly confused. One envelope containing the nominees and winner of the Golden Nanny Lifetime Achievement Award went missing so we quietly dropped that award, although we still announced it in the press release.

Before the awards Keith Redmond, co-founder of Hibernia Forum, gave a short speech. He also presented Catherine Noone with her award and the funny thing was he had written a fairly scathing citation oblivious of the fact that she was going to be there in person. He only found out when he arrived.

The good news is, even though she was sitting only a few feet away, he didn't tone it down. She in turn responded admirably, beginning her acceptance speech with the words, "Libertarians, contrarians, barbarians, thank you."

She later tweeted, "Proud recipient of the Golden Nanny Award 2017 – proud moment."

The awards concluded with some pithy words (and gags) from Ian O'Doherty, columnist for the Irish Independent and the Irish Daily Star, and then it was back to the smoking terrace for another drink or two.

I left shortly after midnight and I wasn't the last to leave.

Thanks to the following for their help in making this event happen: Eamon Delaney and Keith Redmond (Hibernia Forum), Rob Duffy and Beatriz Giethner (Students for Liberty) and Justin Smyth (Dublin Salon).

Hats off too to Luca Bertolleti, European affairs manager at Consumer Choice Center, who flew in from Brussels and flew back on a 6.30am flight this morning.

And let's not forget law student Eimhear Macfarlane (national coordinator for Students for Liberty in Northern Ireland) who had to catch a late night coach to Belfast in order not to miss an early morning lecture.

Thanks to Eimhear, Luca and everyone else who supported the 'Farewell to Freedom' dinner. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.

See also Senator wins 'nanny-in-chief' award (Forest).

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