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RDS Gold Medal for Enterprise

The RDS Gold Medal Award for Enterprise is one of the Society's flagship awards, presented annually to an individual who has made an exceptional impact on Irish industry and commerce.

To have been nominated for the RDS Gold Medal for Enterprise the individual must have shown considerable professional and leadership skills and have an outstanding track record in business achievement which has contributed to employment and economic development in Ireland.

The RDS is now accepting nominations for the next Gold Medal for Enterprise. 

Please Click Here for a nomination form.

2019 RDS Gold Medal 

Breege O’Donoghue is the recipient of the 2019 RDS Gold Medal for Enterprise.

Chair of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland and former Executive Director of Penneys/Primark, Breege O’Donoghue’s record of achievement marks her out as one of the most important figures in Irish business over the last 40 years, and that alone makes her worthy of the Gold Medal. However, what sets her apart from her colleagues on the famous Penneys/Primark ‘Gang of Four’ will be her legacy as a role model for women in business that will act as an inspiration for future generations.

Penneys/Primark is a remarkable Irish business success story with 360 stores in 11 different countries worldwide and a turnover of €8.1 billion in 2018. Ms O’Donoghue is recognised as being responsible for much of this expansion with her dynamism and vision leading the company’s into Europe in 2006 and subsequently into the American market in 2015.

On top of her work in Penneys/Primark, the businesswoman has held board positions with State companies including An Post and Aer Rianta and was Chairwoman of the Labour Relations Commission for seven years. She is currently Chair of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, where she is leading the drive to promote Ireland’s design and craft capability in international markets.

Previous Gold Medal Recipients

Since its inception in 1992 the Medal has been awarded to many of Ireland’s most prominent business people including: Dr Peter Sutherland; Sir Michael Smurfit of Jefferson Smurfit, Dr Craig Barrett of Intel, Kieran McGowan of the IDA, Bernard Collins of VHI Healthcare, Willie Walsh of International Airlines Group, Dr Pearse Lyons of Alltech, Gary McGann of Smurfit Kappa Group, John Moloney of Glanbia, Moya Doherty of Riverdance and most recently Ciaran Murray of ICON.

These past winners have made a huge contribution to the socio-economic situation in Ireland and through their success have helped bring about the self-confidence we now have in our own ability to not only succeed when times are good but to meet head on these challenging times that we now face to develop our economy in new and dynamic ways.

RDS Gold Medal for Industry 2016 Awards from RDS on Vimeo.


For further information please contact:

Paul Farrelly
RDS Enterprise Programme Manager
Dublin 4
Tel: +353 (0) 1 240 7215
Email: enterprise@rds.ie

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