The 2023 Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards returned to a packed Inishowen Gateway Hotel in Buncrana on Saturday, where some of Donegal and Ireland’s finest were recognised for their outstanding contributions to society, culture, healthcare, the arts and business.
Master of Ceremonies Trish Hegarty of Inis Communications introduced each recipient and helped to aptly summarise the impact in which the recipients have had on their respective fields. The term ‘paying it forward’ was mentioned on more than one occasion and accurately describes just how much the 2023 awardees have contributed to society.
Caroline McLaughlin, a native of Buncrana in Inishowen, has dedicated her career to building community relationships and supporting programs for the benefit of fellow diaspora communities and disadvantaged communities and has been instrumental in bettering the lives of emigrants across the world.
John T. Fries, similar to Tip, is a member of the American Donegal Diaspora. His strong connection to his own Irish heritage has been a source of immense pride. His extensive background in IT and innovative mindset has led to positive changes within the Pharmaceutical, Research and Health sectors across the world.
Hailing from the scenic village of Ramelton, Nobel Prize winner Dr. William C. Campbell has credited his life-long connection to Donegal as a guiding force throughout his life. His unwavering commitment to scientific discovery and bettering the lives of others has led to the treatment and eradication of parasitic diseases across the world.
Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Martin Harley paid tribute to the awardees stating that “The Tip O’Neill Annual Irish Diaspora Awards showcase the fantastic role our Diaspora play, not just for Donegal, but for the Island of Ireland all across the globe. It has been an absolute privilege to lead the celebration of such esteemed recipients for 2023.”
Minister for State for International Development and Diaspora, Sean Fleming, TD stated that “To acknowledge the widely attributed Tip quote ‘all politics is local’. That is why it is so important for local initiatives to support and honour the achievements of their own. Our spirit of shared Irishness is something Irish people bring with them wherever they go. This spirit is something that Tip O’Neill embodied, never forgetting his roots and helping this island by enabling the dialogue that would help establish long term peace in Northern Ireland.”
Cllr. Nicholas Crossan, Chairperson of the Tip O’Neill Committee, acknowledged the ‘’Donegal Councillors for their support in this event which is one of the highlights of the Donegal County Council calendar. A big thanks to Tom O’Neill and the O’Neill family and all who helped make this such a successful event. Congratulations to our recipients for 2023 and I was particularly delighted to present the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award to local Buncrana native Caroline McLaughlin.”
The Tip O’Neill Award ceremony began in 2012 to mark the centenary of the birth of Thomas P. Tip O’Neill. Tip O’Neill whose maternal grandparents hailed from Donegal (Buncrana and Clonmany) was an American Politician and Statesman who served as Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
Representing his father, Tip O’Neill, Tom O’Neill stated “On behalf of the O’Neill family it is an honour to continue our support of these fantastic awards and I congratulate each awardee on their success in their careers to date”.
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