Pádraig Ó Céidigh
Padraig O'Ceidigh was a successful entrepreneur from an early age. At ten, the Connemara born O'Ceidigh was picking periwinkles from a beach in Spiddal and travelling to Galway to sell them to fish exporters.
A fluent Irish speaker Pádraig received his third level education in NUIG before having careers in accountancy, teaching and as a solicitor. He is also a Harvard University Alumni.
In 1994, he saw an opportunity to develop a struggling business in the local community when he became part owner of Aer Arann, then serving the three Aran Islands. Ó Céidigh went on to develop Aer Arann into one of the fastest growing regional airlines in the world. Passenger numbers rose to over 1.1 million in 2007 and Aer Arann has won several awards (including the Palme d¹Or for Airline of the Year in 2006). It now operates several regional European and domestic routes, including a successful franchise arrangement with Aer Lingus.
He also has created and developed a number of other successful businesses in various industries.
Pádraig himself has also received many awards, not least of which was Ernst & Young Irish Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002. Subsequently he was a member of the 2004 and 2005 World Entrepreneur of the Year judging panels and he continues his association as Chair of the judging panel for the Irish awards. Pádraig is Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and Business in NUIG and Chairman of Fáilte Ireland West.