Louis Walsh steals the spotlight on star-studded night at the 2015 Irish Post Awards
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Louis Walsh steals the spotlight on star-studded night at the 2015 Irish Post Awards

POP impresario Louis Walsh brought the star quality to the 2015 Irish Post Awards when he was among those honoured in London last night.

"Ireland is the best small country in the world," he said as he picked up the Outstanding Contribution to the Entertainment Industry Award.

He also hinted at a possible return to X Factor, adding: "I could be back. Simon called during the week and said he wanted to talk but I still have no contract."

This year's Awards, which also marked 45 years for The Irish Post newspaper, were attended by a host celebrities, stars and Irish personalities who turned out to celebrate.

Among those who walked the red carpet were designer Paul Costelloe, BBC 2013 Apprentice winner Dr Leah Totton, comedian and Father Ted star Ardal O’Hanlon, singer Cerys Matthews, Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz, author Jeffrey Archer as well as Calum and Alex Best.

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The evening was hosted by broadcaster Eamonn Holmes who picked up a surprise award on the night  to celebrate 35 years in broadcasting.

The Belfast native looked stunned when his wife and This Morning co-host Ruth Langsford arrived to present him with his award as a showreel of his telly highlights was played in front of over 600 guests at the London Hilton on Park Lane.

"It brought a tear to my eye," he admitted afterwards.

The Irish Post Awards 2015 Friday, October 23 | The London Hilton, Park Lane Louis Walsh to be honoured for Outstanding Contribution to the Entertainment Industry at 2015 Irish Post Awards in London 2015 Award-winners: Louis Walsh, Fionnula Flanagan, Anna Friel, George Best (posthumous award), Brian & Luke Comer, Chris Ruane  PLUS SPECIAL AWARDS TO BE ANNOUNCED ON THE NIGHT Guests to include: Eamonn Holmes, Paul Costelloe, Calum Best, Alex Best, Ardal O’Hanlon, Cerys Matthews, Gary Kurtz, Jeffrey Archer, Dr Leah Totton Louis Walsh will be among celebrities, stars and business personalities attending the 2015 Irish Post Awards in London on Friday, October 23. The Awards also mark 45th years for The Irish Post newspaper.  The Irish Post Awards 2015 and Business Gala Dinner will celebrate the success of Irish people across a variety of industries including sport, the arts, entertainment, business and community. This year’s Awards will be attended by 700 guests at the London Hilton on Park Lane. Hosted by broadcaster Eamonn Holmes, who celebrates 35 years in broadcasting this month, the black tie event will honour a number of exceptional people including pop impresario and former X Factor judge Louis Walsh who will be honoured for Outstanding Contribution to the Entertainment Industry. The Outstanding Contribution to the Film & Television Industry accolade will be awarded to actress Fionnula Flanagan. Actress Anna Friel will accept The Irish Post Heritage Award.  The Outstanding Contribution to Sport Award will be posthumously awarded to footballer George Best and will be accepted by his son Calum Best.  The Outstanding Contribution to Business in Britain Award will go to brothers Brian  Comer and Luke Comer of The Comer Group. Former MP Chris Ruane will receive The Irish Post Community Award. Irish charity Console will benefit from this year’s Awards evening, with proceeds from the night’s exclusive raffle going to the national suicide charity, which has just XXXX Prizes have been donated from well-known personalities such as Philip Treacy and Paul Costelloe. The Irish Post’s InBusiness 2015 magazine will also be launched on the night - the annual publication is a go-to directory of Irish leaders, connectors and influencers in Britain.  The Irish Post Awards 2015 are sponsored by Allied Irish Bank GB, The Color Company and media partner CityAM. ENDS NOTES TO EDITORS: For further information and images please contact:  Siobhán Breatnach, Editor Irish Post siobhan.breatnach@irishpost.co.uk | 0044 7809893842 Malcolm McNally (for hi-res images and quotes on the night) malcolm.mcnally@gmail.com | 0044 7710385202 Twitter: Follow @theirishpost and see #irishpostawards Irish Post Awards host Eamonn Holmes was presented with a surprise award by wife Ruth Langsford Picture: Malcolm McNally

Celebrated actress Fionnula Flanagan took home the Outstanding Contribution to the Film & Television Industry accolade.

Marking an incredible 50 years on stage and screen, the Dublin-born LA-based actress said: "Beverly Hills is a very strange place, I'd much rather be in Ireland. I'm an Irish woman first and foremost."

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The Outstanding Contribution to Sport Award was posthumously awarded to footballer George Best and was accepted by his son Calum.

Receiving the award from his father's former wife Alex, he said: "This is for my dad, this is for our Belfast boy."

"Best by name, best by nature, maybe the best player in the whole world," host Eamonn Holmes added.

BestAward-n Alex Best, Eamonn Holmes and Calum Best, who accepted a posthumous Irish Post Award for his father George Best. Picture: Malcolm McNally

For all the pictures from this year's Awards see this week's The Irish Post - out Wednesday, October 28

The Outstanding Contribution to Business in Britain Award went to brothers Brian Comer and Luke Comer of The Comer Group.

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The Galway brothers, who began their career as plasterers in Ireland, came to Britain in the 1980’s and established The Comer Group.

It has since become one of the largest property groups in Britain, with assets worth £2.5billion across Europe and the US.

Former MP Chris Ruane received The Irish Post Community Award.

With a political career spanning almost two decades, Chris Ruane has dedicated his political career to speaking out on behalf of the voiceless.

The son of an Irish navvy with family roots in Galway, Chris grew up in the Welsh coastal town of Rhyl.

A committed constituency MP, he also became a leading voice for the Irish community during his time in Westminster.

Irish charity Console were this year’s Awards chosen charity, with proceeds from the night’s exclusive raffle going to the national suicide prevention charity founded by Paul Kelly in 2002 following the death of his sister Sharon, aged 21 through suicide.

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The charity has grown to become one of the leading National Suicide prevention Charities in Ireland and now also operates two centres in Central London, which were officially launched in the House of Lords last week.

This year's keynote speaker was Kingsley Aikens, founder of Diaspora Matters.

The Irish Post’s InBusiness 2015 magazine was also launched at last night's Awards - the annual publication is a go-to directory of Irish leaders, connectors and influencers in Britain.

The Irish Post Awards 2015 and Business Gala Dinner are sponsored by Allied Irish Bank GB, The Color Company and media partner CityAM.

Held annually, the Awards celebrate the success of Irish people across a variety of industries including sport, the arts, entertainment, business and community.

Additional reporting by James Mulhall

Were you at this year's Awards? Tweet us your pix using the hashtag #irishpostawards

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