Nominations are being sought for 2019 Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards – is there an outstanding person or group you think deserves the honour next year?
Nominations for the prestigious Donegal awards are now open and organisers are keen for the public to put forward individuals or groups from our international diaspora who have excelled in their chosen field be that business, commerce, industry, education, politics, finance or sport and deserve recognition for their achievements.
Each year Donegal County Council hosts the awards ceremony which were first introduced in 2012 to mark the centenary of the birth of the late Tip O’Neill who was a liberal Democrat and an influential member of the US House of Representatives. His maternal grandparents came from County Donegal.
Cllr. Seamus O’Domhnaill, Cathaoirleach believes that the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards are not only a fitting tribute in commemorating the life of one of Donegal’s most illustrious sons but are an important way of recognising and acknowledging the outstanding achievements and contributions made by the Irish diaspora across the globe.
He said: “Each year this award is presented to members of the Irish diaspora who have achieved prominence or recognition in the area of business, commerce, industry, education, politics, finance or sport and they have become an important highlight in the Council’s calendar of events.”
2018 saw not one but three members of the diaspora honoured including professional golfer Paul Mc Ginley, former Governor of Maryland Martin O’ Malley and Boston based Homes of Donegal Fundraising committee.
Previous recipients include journalist and publisher Niall O’Dowd, former Governor of Montana Brian Schweitzer, former president of the Massachusetts Senate Senator Therese Murray, US based philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman and the US political commentator Chris Matthews, former Ireland goalkeeper Packie Bonner, Senior Vice President Prudential Financial Barbara Koster, Scottish entrepreneur Fraser Doherty, and former President of the University of Massachussetts Martin Meehan.
Cllr Nicholas Crossan Chair of the Tip O’Neill Awards Committee believes that receiving the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award has a special significance for the chosen recipients.
Cllr Crossan said: “Tip O’Neill was a man of greatness. Throughout his long and distinguished career, he spoke to and for both the Irish community and all those who were vulnerable in the United States. His vision and his determination to make Ireland a better place were crucial in the negotiations that led to the Anglo Irish Agreement in 1985 and the establishment of the International Fund for Ireland. To receive an award inspired by the outstanding achievements of this man has a special meaning for all the recipients. We are keen to invite the public to put forward their own nominations for individuals from our international diaspora who have excelled in their field and who they believe should be recognised and acknowledged in this way.”
Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise concluded by saying that “Donegal County Council was looking forward to developing relationships with the new Donegal ambassadors and previous winners going forward for the mutual benefit of the county and its communities”.
Nominations can be made on line at www.irishdiasporaaward.com and the closing date for receipt of nomination forms is the 29th March 2019.