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Finbarr Filan, owner of Filans Centra Castle Street, wins Inspirational Business Leader Award for Ireland and the UK

Sligo Business Owner, Finbarr Filan, has scooped the award for Inspirational Business Leader during the pandemic. This was part of the Town and City Management Industry Awards hosted by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), a membership body supporting local, town and city centres across Ireland and the UK.

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The award for Inspirational Business Leader was open to those town centre businesses who made their mark during the challenge of lockdowns. Not only did Finbarr and his team find time to support those who were vulnerable in the Sligo community with the coordination of daily runs of food and newspapers to the elderly, but in his role as the first Chair of the Sligo Business Improvement District (BID) he has helped to spearhead support for the Sligo business community as well. 

Finbarr went further still by developing his role in national policy-making by supporting the Irish Government's Town Centre First Policy Advisory Group and the National Retail and Night Time Economy Working Group. He has become an inspiration across ATCM’s network and has advanced Ireland’s capacity to develop public-private partnerships that support the revitalisation of town centres.


Ojay McDonald, CEO of ATCM said:

“We were expecting the best applications to demonstrate how business owners had successfully innovated throughout the pandemic and navigated difficult business conditions to maximise revenue. The story of Finbarr Filan is so much more. It was not about how Centra maximised its profits during the pandemic, but how Finbarr somehow found the time and energy to support local residents, local businesses and emerge as a leading light in terms of policy development for high streets and town centres in Ireland. It is the story of a selfless contribution that benefits Irish society in a massive way.”

Gail McGibbon, CEO of Sligo BID, who nominated Finbarr for the award said:

“Finbarr has been on an amazing journey. He was once a skeptic to place management. We had to work hard to convince him of the merits of businesses being active in the community and supporting partnership for the greater good. Once he saw what could be achieved in collaboration he has devoted every spare minute to learning how to strengthen local economies and communities and has become so influential that his leadership is recognised with Irish Government and even amongst the family of place-makers across the UK.”

Finbarr’s successful nomination was one of 40 submissions for the Town and City Management Awards with the dinner ceremony hosted in Cardiff City Centre this Summer.

For further information, contact Ojay McDonald at

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