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Tánaiste announces recipients of first Presidential Awards for Irish Abroad

Irish abroad, Press Releases, Great Britain, 2012

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Eamon Gilmore, T.D., has announced details of the first recipients of the new Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad, following today’s Government meeting.

“I’m delighted to recognise the distinguished and sustained work made by these ten individuals to Ireland, Irish communities abroad or Ireland’s international reputation by people living abroad. We are honouring individuals who, in their own separate ways, have made a remarkable contribution to this country,” the Tánaiste said.

“I made a commitment at the 2011 Global Irish Economic Forum to establish an Award system which would provide formal recognition by the Irish State to individuals resident abroad. The Award will now be presented on an annual basis”.

Mr Gilmore welcomed the decision to recognise the following individuals in 2012:

Arts, Culture and Sport:

Mr Pat Kelly (Canada);

Mr Pierre Joannon (France);

Mr Jim Stynes (deceased, Australia)

Business and Education:

Mr Donald Keough (United States);

Mr Andy Rogers (Britain)

Charitable Works:          

Mr Chuck Feeney (United States)

Irish Community Support:

Ms Sally Mulready (Great Britain);

Sr Lena Deevy (United States)

Peace, Reconciliation and Development:

Fr Michael Kelly (Zambia);

Loretta Brennan Glucksman (United States)

Note for Editors


The Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad is neither to be an honours system nor does it confer any legal entitlements upon the recipients.

In order to be eligible for consideration, nominees must be habitually resident outside the island of Ireland and are required to satisfy the following additional requirements:

(i)     have rendered distinguished service to the nation and/or its reputation abroad;

(ii)   have actively and demonstrably contributed to Ireland and/or its international reputation and/or Irish communities abroad in at least one of the categories listed above;

(iii)  have a track record of sustained support and engagement with Ireland and/or its international reputation and/or Irish communities abroad over a period of not less than 5 years.

(iv)  The scheme is managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and a High Level Panel was established to make recommendations to Government.  This Panel includes: Mr David Cooney, Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Chair), Mr Martin Fraser, Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach; Mr Adrian O’Neill, Secretary General to the President; and four representatives from the non-Government sector- Ms Sally O’Neill Sanchez, Prof Declan Kiberd, Mr Kingsley Aikins and Fr Bobby Gilmore.

Nominations were made by Irish communities abroad through Ireland’s network of Diplomatic Missions. The Awards will be presented to the individuals listed at a ceremony in Áras an Uachtaráin on 15 November 2012.