CBD

Distinguished Service Awards

Presidential Distinguished Service Awards 2014 for the Irish Abroad. Photos: Chris Bellew / Copyright Fennell Photography 2014

By Matthew Skwiat, Contributing Editor
December / January 2015

Winners of this year’s Presidential Distinguished Service Awards for the Irish abroad included actress Fionnula Flanagan, humanitarian Dr. Kevin Cahill, and activist and founding publisher of Irish America magazine, Niall O’Dowd.

“Recognition from Ireland for the Irish abroad is always very special. I feel I am in very distinguished company,” O’Dowd, who was honored for his work on the Northern Ireland peace process, said upon receiving the news.

The awards, presented in October, included a diverse array of talented men and women from places as far away as Australia and Russia to the U.S. and England.

O'Dowd (left) with President Higgins at the Presidential Distinguished Service Awards 2014 for the Irish Abroad. Photo Chris Bellew / Copyright Fennell Photography 2014

O’Dowd (left) with President Higgins at the Presidential Distinguished Service Awards 2014 for the Irish Abroad. Photo Chris Bellew / Copyright Fennell Photography 2014

Among the honorees are Australian-born author and playwright Thomas Keneally whose work, both fiction and nonfiction, touches on the Famine and emigration. This year also featured the first ever Russian awardee, Avril Conroy. She is an important figure in the Russian business world as director of regional sales for Rosneft, one of Russia’s biggest oil companies. Speaking of the 10 awardees, Charles Flanagan, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to these remarkable people for what they individually contributed to Ireland, to the Irish abroad and our international reputation.”

The Distinguished Service Awards have been given since 2011 and have been influential in shining a light on the Irish diaspora around the world. Jimmy Deenihan, minister for Diaspora Affairs, summed it up nicely saying, “Taken together, this group shows diverse talents: cultural awareness, business acumen, humanity, far sightedness and, in different ways, a concern to make the world a better place.” 

Leave a Reply




Share



More Articles

Thatcher Considered Cromwell-type Removal of Catholics from North, New Book Reveals

A new book by a former British Ambassador to Ireland reveals shocking examples of Margaret Thatcher’s ignorance...

More

The Homecoming:
My Joyous First Return to Ireland Since Covid Began

Niall O’Dowd was on the first full Aer Lingus flight from New York to Dublin this week as entry requirements in...

More

Peace Wall
Why Biden Should Appoint a
U.S. Envoy to Northern Ireland

By Niall O’Dowd, Publisher Irish America and President Joe Biden urgently need to reach out to unionism...

More

President-elect Joe Biden’s Irish roots – from fleeing Famine Ireland to winning the White House

President-elect Joe Biden’s rich Irish ancestry helped lead him to the White House. By Niall O’Dowd,...

More