Sunrise Mayor Is Broward’s Top Irishman




I’ve never seen Mike Ryan recite a limerick.   I don’t know if Ryan has ever seen a leprechaun…probably after too many shots of Jameson.

Yet Ryan, the mayor of Sunrise, is a real Irishman on both sides of his family.

Ryan will be named Irish Person of the Year at The Emerald Breakfast – long a leading event for the political and courthouse crowd.

“Both lines of my family go back to County Cork.  Like many Irish in the 1800s, both sides emigrated with hope of a better day.  One side of the family emigrated  to Canada and the other to Liverpool.  My grandparents and father came here from Liverpool with practically nothing after World War II, where my grandfather was in the Fire Brigade along the docks of Liverpool.  So, I am first generation American,” Ryan wrote

Ryan is Irish, but he found his wife in another part of the Celtic world.  Shirlie McGuckien-Ryan is a Scottish lass from Scotland.

He is scheduled to get the award at the annual event on March 16. Information about the breakfast can be found here. 

Since the breakfast is not a political event (wink wink), judges are not restricted by their Code of Ethics from attending. They do attend,  usually in droves. Where judges go, lawyers follow.

Organizers at the Emerald Society of Fort Lauderdale expect 350 to 400 guests. The money goes to scholarships.

In addition to Ryan, those being honored include:

  • Honorary Irish Person of the Year: Tim Schiavone, owner of the Parrott Lounge in Fort Lauderdale,
  • Humanitarian of the Year:  Susan Israel, wife of Sheriff Scott Israel.
  • Irish Mother of the Year: Debbie Ryan, wife of County Commissioner Tim Ryan.
  • Loach An Phobal (Community Hero): Sandi Keesling, a Fort Lauderdale Police officer who works on outreach to the homeless.


Ryan was elected mayor in 2010. He is a trial lawyer at Krupnick Campbell in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Although the mayor of one of Broward’s largest cities, Ryan is not as well known by some in politics as the eastern Broward political figures who received the prize in the past.

““I’ve never even met Mike Ryan…Truthfully, we’ve run through most of the (notable) Irish people in town,” said Mike Ahearn, the president of the Emerald Society which sponsors the award.

A lawyer and a political consultant, Ahearn quickly added that the vote for Ryan was unanimous and that the Sunrise mayor fully deserved the award.

Ryan is joining some illustrious past honorees:


Irish Person of the Year


  • 2013: John P. “Jack” Seiler;
  • 2012: Jim Gregory;
  • 2011: Dan Reynolds;
  • 2010: Patrick Hanrahan;
  • 2009: Charles Whitelock;
  • 2006: Lori Parish, Broward Property Appraiser;
  • 2005: Ed Kennedy, Broward Clerk of Court;
  • 2004: Paul Sallarulo;
  • 2003: James A. Weldon;
  • 2002: Monsignor Patrick McDonald;
  • 2001: J.R. Dunn;
  • 2000: Kathleen Kearny, Secretary of the Department of Children and Families;
  • 1999: Vickie Coceano, Mayor of Miramar;
  • 1998: Susan McCampbell;
  • 1997: C.K. “Mac” McElyea, Mayor of Dania Beach;
  • 1996: James Patrick O’Hara;
  • 1995: Stephen McInery;
  • 1993: Ron Cochran, Sheriff Broward County;
  • 1992: John Hart, Commissioner Broward County & Miriam Oliphant;
  • 1991: Wally Brewer;
  • 1990: Joseph Gerwins, Ft. Lauderdale Chief of Police.


(Disclosure: Mike Ryan is an occational guest columnist for

6 Responses to “Sunrise Mayor Is Broward’s Top Irishman”

  1. John Henry says:

    The winners in 1992 makes this farce look like a joke.

  2. Chucky says:

    The most over-hyped event of the year in Fort Lauderdale absorbing way too many resources serving absolutely no purpose other than to get drunk. Maybe you can actually do something for this City now that this wont be on your plate.
    Aturd will be the big ugly drunk guy good luck picking him out of the crowd.

  3. bottoms up says:

    what has become of Charlie Mac McElyea if the pioneer families of Dania?

  4. Norm Price says:

    Mike Ryan deserves to be named Irishman of the year and I hope he gets more awards. I have the pleasure of knowing him and he is a fantastic Mayor amongst other things he is involved in

  5. Mc Loven says:

    It seems like a good event, except for Ahern. Many won’t go this year because he is the President. Of course by the list of award recipients Ahern is still trying to land something at BSO.. it’s all over the BSO and Ronnie Boy said he will never let it happen.

  6. laudydale says:

    I’m sure the sheriff that was found guilty of ethics violations will be there acting like his pompous self again embarrassing the bso Irish green uniform. I’m sure he will tell everyone he is Irish. He claims to be everything else even though it’s not true.