Following a record number of entries, 16 finalists, five categories and two rounds of judging, Big O Taxis, Galway and the west of Ireland’s largest taxi company with 150 taxis, was announced by Jack Chambers TD, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht as the overall winner of Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh for 2021 at a special awards Ceremony in the g Hotel, Old Dublin Road, Galway.
Big O Taxis has been the Galway Taxi of choice in Galway City and the surrounding Galway areas for over 50 years. Starting from only a few taxis cabs in 1968 to now having the largest taxi fleet in Galway. They offer a complete taxi service providing it’s valued customers 24 – 7 service every day of the year – including Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
Seán Ó Méalóid of Big O Taxis was absolutely delighted on receiving the news and said:
“Táimid go léir i Big O Taxis fíorshásta as a bheith ainmnithe mar bhuaiteoir foriomlán de Ghradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh 2021. Táimid an-bhródúil as an méid atá déanta againn ó thosaigh muid amach leis an nGradam ceithre bliana ó shin. We are very proud of Galway’s status as a bilingual city, and we’re dedicated to supporting the Irish language and are undertaking to bring more Irish into the day to day running of our company. We use the Irish language in signage, stationery, on our greeting cards, on our business cards and in advertising. We also provide a discount to drivers to encourage them to use ‘Tascaí’ on their decal signs. We also have developed an App to let our customers know that their driver can provide a service in Irish. We have a number of drivers who are delighted to provide a ‘Seirbhís trí Ghaeilge’ and this is evident from the moment you contact our office or sit into their cars. Big O Taxis are on the front-line, servicing visitors to Galway, and we feel it is our responsibility to promote our heritage to the best of our ability. Going forward, wherever we see an opportunity to showcase the Irish language we will do so with pride, passion and purpose.”
The Gradam is the longest running award of its kind in Ireland, organised by Gaillimh le Gaeilge, in partnership with the Galway Advertiser and with support from TG4 and the Galway Chamber. After a year and a half of disruption and uncertainty, Gaillimh le Gaeilge were delighted to host an in-person award ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the Galway businesses and organisations who are proud to play their part in bilingual Galway.
Big O Taxis were announced as the winner of the ‘Services Category, sponsored by Video Sherpa and went onto scoop the overall award.
The other proud Gradam award winners on the night were:
Corrib Shopping Centre winner of the ‘Retail’ Category, sponsored by Galway Bay FM.
The Hardiman Hotel – winner of the Tourism & Hospitality Category, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland.
Grá Chocolates – Winner of the new category ‘Online Business’ sponsored by the Galway Technology Centre.
St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, winner of the ‘Non Profit & Other Companies’ Category sponsored by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh.
Jack Chambers TD, Príomh-Aoire an Rialtais, agus Aire Stáit na Gaeltachta agus an Spóirt said:
“Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le gach aon chomhlacht agus eagraíocht a chur isteach ar an ngradam seo i mbliana agus as an obair fhiúntach atá ar siúl agaibh i rith na bliana. Is é seo an naoú bliain déag as a chéile muid ag déanamh ceiliúradh ar an gradam seo agus is cúis áthais dom a bheith in ann a bheith i láthair i mbliana thar ceann an Rialtais le hómós a thaispeáint don oidhreacht a d’fhág Seosamh Ó hÓgartaigh ina dhiaidh. It is a recognition of companies and organizations that are promoting the Irish language on a daily basis in their business and are giving people the opportunity to use and speak it. I always welcome the provision of a ‘Service in Irish’ for customers and those who wish to conduct their business through the medium of Irish.”
Maeliosa Ó hÓgartaigh spoke on behalf of the Moltóirí and said:
“Bhaineamar go léir an-sult as na cruinnithe fíorúla leis na gnólachtaí agus leis na heagraíochtaí. Chuaigh a ndúthracht agus a n-iarrachtaí i bhfeidhm go mór orainn. They are very proud to do their part to highlight Galway’s status as an official bilingual city. With Galway city acting as the gateway to an Ghaeltacht, we have no doubt that the business sector can use this to its advantage. We were very encouraged after speaking to everyone and pleased that they recognized the values of Gaillimh le Gaeilge’s work. We are also proud to see the number of Irish speakers among the businesses that applied for the Gradam this year. We truly commend everyone who took part, for their dedication and commitment to the Gradam over the last number of months, and sincerely congratulate all the winners!”
Cathaoirleach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge, Bernadette Mullarkey extended her congratulations to all of the winners and said:
“In ainneoin na ndeacrachtaí a bhí roimh ghnólachtaí agus roimh eagraíochtaí, ba iontach an spreagadh agus an dúthracht a léirigh ainmnithe an Ghradaim sna míonna seo a d’imigh tharainn. All the Gradam nominees have done an excellent job which is vital to further maintain and strengthen Galway ‘s official bilingual status. Comhghairdeas leo ar fad.”
In respect of the high standard of entries this year Bronnadh Speisialta na Moltóirí, a special award designed to acknowledge a business who has entered the Gradam for the first time and has achieved a very high standard which could not go unrecognised. Bronnadh Speisialta na Moltóirí, sponsored by Judy Greene Pottery was presented to two businesses this year: Murphy and Me and Irish Socksciety.
The Moltóirí also bestowed a University Scholarship sponsored by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh on a business that is making a special effort to promote and use the Irish language with their customers. The two-year scholarship on the language acquisition course, ‘An Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge’, a university qualification from NUI Galway was presented to Linda Lambert of GoBus.ie.
The Gradam category winners all received a business package to the value of €2,000 from their respective category sponsor as well as a replica of Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh sponsored by Údarás na Gaeltachta. Big O Taxis will receive an advertising package from the main media sponsor of the Gradam, the Galway Advertiser. They will also receive a publicity package with TG4 and one year’s membership of Galway Chamber and Gaillimh le Gaeilge.
They also receive Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh, a beautiful piece of sculpture specially designed by the famous artist Pádraic Reaney symbolising the 14 Tribes of Galway, with one ‘present day Tribe’ representing the winner of Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh 2021 and other winners to come. MOLSCÉAL are also sponsoring the Gradam again this year.
Gaillimh le Gaeilge in association with MOLSCÉAL created videos of all the Gradam finalists’ bilingual achievements which can be seen on Gaillimh le Gaeilge’s social media channels.
Ba mhaith le Gaillimh le Gaeilge buíochas a ghabháil leis na hainmnithe ar fad a ghlac páirt i nGradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh i mbliana agus comhghairdeas a dhéanamh leis na buaiteoirí ar fad.
Gradam 2022 is already open for nominations and you can apply here up until the 24th of January 2022. The Gradam will return to the original timeline it followed before COVID-19 and as a result of that the awards ceremony will take place early in May.