The Irish rugby team, two anti-child abuse campaigners and the father of a deceased victim of crime in Limerick were among those recognised for their outstanding achievements at the People of the Year awards last night.

The awards celebrated their 35th anniversary this year and were presented by RTÉ's Gráinne Seoige at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin, with the Tánaiste, Mary Coughlan TD, as guest of honour.

The Irish Rugby Team was awarded a People of the Year Award for one of the greatest achievements in Irish sporting history, having won the Six Nations Grand Slam title this year for the first time since 1948. Brian O'Driscoll received an award in recognition of his immense contribution to Irish rugby. As well as playing with the Lions in South Africa, he captained the Grand Slam winning Irish team and was instrumental in helping Leinster win their first ever Heineken Cup this year.

Christine Buckley and Michael O'Brien each received an award for their tireless campaigning on behalf of those abused in institutions.

Steve Collins was also honoured for his extraordinary bravery in the midst of the tragic loss of his son Roy, who was murdered in Limerick, and in the face of continued threats to his life and the lives of his family.

Sarah Kavanagh (20) from Rathgarogue, Co Wexford, received the Young Person of the Year Award for her immense courage in saving the life of her 12-year-old sister from a car that had been set ablaze at a petrol station after an accident.

Congratulating the winners Angela Kerins, chief executive of Rehab, said: "This past year has been a challenging one for the Irish people but, like so many times in our history, we are at our best under pressure.

"These award winners reflect that real strength and character with their extraordinary achievements."