A Clonmore man who was instrumental in fostering Gaelic games in Canada - after emigrating to work with local engineering firm Powerscreen - has been presented with the Irish Person of the Year award.
After moving to Toronto in 1974 to open the company’s Canadian office, Brian Farmer joined St Michael’s Hurling & Football club and played with them for several years, before serving on their executive and managing the team.
Brian, who was presented with the award at an event hosted in conjunction with the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce, also took up the role of Chairman of Toronto GAA in 1980.
According to the citation by the event organisers, “Brian was living out in the East End and, never a man to shy away from a challenge, decided along with several other co-founders that it would be best for the Toronto GAA if they formed a new club in that area. Durham Robert Emmets were founded in 1990, with the name being a nod to Clonmore.
“As one would expect from anything Brian Farmer has had a hand in, the Durham Emmets have grown into a very strong, well-run and respected club. As with all clubs, there were no doubt lean times in terms of fielding teams, but in true GAA fashion they kept calm and soldiered on, and recently celebrated their 25th anniversary with a coveted Senior Men’s Championship to go along with the many Ladies’ titles they have amassed over the years.”
Brian, along with John Dynne and others, was a key driver in bringing Gaelic games to the Skydome in Toronto in 1991, and was instrumental in bringing many top quality Irish club teams to Canada through the legendary Powerscreen seven-a-sides tournaments, held in Canada for many years.
A busy family man who, with his wife Chris, has six children, the grandfather of twelve later became President of Powerscreen Canada, and was awarded a Powerscreen worldwide ‘Top ten dealer of the year’ award at the ConExpo show in Las Vegas in 2004.
Cormac Monaghan, Chair of the Irish Person of the Year Committee, presented Brian with the award at a special ceremony and described the title given to the Clonmore man as a “richly deserved honour”.