‘Even on occasions when Tom Treacy’s own health was under duress he would press on without complaint to promote Laois at tourism fairs, such was the man’s dedication to the cause of the county.
‘Tom was there through thick and thin and this acknowledgement is long overdue.’
Seán McEvoy recalled the dedication which Tom showed from the time they first initiated the Gordon Bennett Irish Classic Run back in 2003.
That kind of work ethic is typical of Tommy by all accounts, as one speaker after another told of their own first-hand experience of the Heath man’s constant endeavours, hard work, down-to-earth no plamás personality and his love of his native Laois.
Tommy has worked tirelessly and spent his life endeavouring to put Laois on the tourism map.
Cllr John King, the Mayor of Laois said that in many ways Tom Treacy was before his time in recognising and promoting the benefits of tourism in Laois.
As chairman and a member of Laois Tourism for over 30 years he has made an enormous contribution to the promotion of Laois nationally and internationally as a tourist destination.
Cllr King estimated that last year the Gordon Bennett Classic Run resulted in 500 bed nights and a €100k spend in the county. But it is only one of the many projects with which Tom Treacy played a central role in establishing and promoting.
He was a key member of not only Laois Tourism but the East Coast & Midlands Tourism body; the Laois International Golf Challenge; the Regional Rose of Tralee Finals; the Portlaoise Jazz Festival of which he was a founding member and a driving force at the height of its success; the Laois Vintage Hospice Run and the Lalor Clan Rally are just some of the events with which he has been a formative influence.
Of course Treacy’s of the Heath, the family business which Tommy took over in 1975 is synonymous with sport and especially the GAA through the local club and Treacy’s sponsorship of Laois teams right back to the early 1990’s, most notably when the county minors achieved All Ireland success back in 1996 and 1997, it was with Treacy’s emblazoned on that now iconic collector’s item jersey.
Treacy’s itself, a landmark thatched tavern, renowned for its food, refreshments and family friendly hospitality is now seeing the 8th generation of the family involved in the business.
Some achievement and a fair reflection of the regard and respect in which the husband and wife team of Tom and Marie Treacy are held. The pair just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, and their personal touch and presence has always been a signature of their success.
They have five children, with Fiona, Niall and Donagh actively involved in the business, along with Diarmuid and Rory. Between Treacy’s and the Gandon Inn they employ 100 staff.
The business has been nominated for and received number awards; established its own gin brand and being recognised by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) for the initiative to provide a shuttle bus service for patrons to help address the dangers of drink-driving.
With the Freedom of the City of Dublin you get the right to graze your sheep on St Stephen’s Green.
“So does Tom now get to graze sheep on the Heath,” quipped one guest with an eyebrow raised in County Hall on Wednesday night.
There was no disputing that Tom has more than earned the right to a Civic Reception, it was unanimous, the highest distinction the county can bestow in recognition of his years of dedicated voluntary service to Laois, and in particular his efforts to promote tourism in the county.
A work in progress with which Tommy is still very much actively involved.