It's full-steam ahead for the 15th annual Aisling Awards –  an exuberant celebration of all that's great about Belfast – in the Europa Hotel on November 17.

A highlight of the civic calendar, the Aisling Awards were born at a time when the peace was in its infancy but have grown in size and stature as Belfast grew in stature and confidence.

And though economic storms are buffeting the city, the glittering celebration is certain to once again put a smile on the city of Belfast.

Offering a unique opportunity to highlight the fantastic work being carried out by the community champions of Belfast – from every walk of life and from every corner of the city – the Aisling accolade represents a symbolic pat on the back for the peacemakers, bridge-builders and wealth-creators of today.

Previous honourees at the Aisling gala have included rights campaigner Inez McCormack, political leaders John Hume and former Lord Mayor Alex Maskey, then Féile an Phobail director Caitríona Ruane and the now High Sheriff of Belfast Ian Adamson.

The awards have also saluted our educationalists, artists and activists s as well as our newest citizens, such as the Filipino nurses of the Royal Victoria Hospital, while guest speakers have included the Rev Jesse Jackson and President Mary McAleese.

At this year's glittering gathering, awards will be presented to those building the city across many areas of endeavour with awards for Sport, Business, Culture and Arts, Belfast Brand, Education, Community, Gaeilge and, of course,  the highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the coveted Person of the Year Award.

Making the Aisling extravaganza possible are major sponsors including TG4, Kennedy Centre, Mercury Security Management Ltd, Moviehouse, Park Centre and Sean Graham's. Leading the roster of business partners this year again will be Springfield Business Park company LBM.

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