European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were honoured at Dublin's Convention Centre last night during the 48th annual Business and Finance Awards.

Ms von der Leyen accepted the Sutherland Leadership Award on behalf of the European Union, while Mr Zelensky was honoured with the TK Whitaker Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Life.

Accepting the award, Ms von der Leyen said: "The story of Ireland in the European Union inspires hope, especially at a time when war has sadly returned to our continent. A story of reconciliation, peace and progress, written by the people of Ireland.

"Europe is proud to call you family."

Mr Zelensky took inspiration from Ireland’s EU journey in his speech, highlighting Ukraine's desire to reach a position of being a member of the EU for 50 years, which Ireland will mark next year.

Speaking via video-link from Kyiv, Mr Zelensky said: "Ukraine is doing everything so that our first 50 years as a part of the European Union can also be celebrated sooner. I urge you to unfailingly support Ukraine on this path.

"I thank you for the historical support of Ireland and the entire European community to our state in our struggle for freedom and independence. We will definitely win this together".

The event was attended by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko, EU Finance Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, former president Mary Robinson and former taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Champion Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore received a special award for an outstanding contribution to Brand Ireland.

Rachael Blackmore

Coillte Chief Executive Imelda Hurley was named Business Person of the Year while Ornua, which market Kerrygold, was named Company of the Year.

Established in 1974, the Business and Finance Awards acknowledges excellence in innovation, growth and scale of individual business leaders and their teams.