United Irish Counties Recognize Ireland’s Best
The United Irish Counties Association of New York held its 114th annual banquet in January at the historic Antun’s in Queens Village, New York, recognizing the contributions of activist and attorney Sean Downes and former Leitrim Society and UIC president Joseph McManus.
Downes, who has maternal roots in County Cork, received the 2018 Gael of the Year honor for his extraordinary work on behalf of a united Ireland. In the 1990s, he co-founded Friends of Sinn Féin, which has provided American funds to the Irish political party ever since. He was also instrumental in the legal case of Irish republican Seán Mackin, who was granted a suspension of deportation from the U.S. to Northern Ireland in 1991, allowing him to obtain his American citizenship.
“I’m very happy to be honored by an organization representing all 32 counties,” Downes told the Irish Voice. “I’ve always worked for the dream that there can be and there should be a united Ireland.”
McManus, a native of Drumshambo, County Leitrim, received the Rose A. Cosgrove Distinguished Service Award “in recognition of his accomplishments as an entrepreneur and one who has realized the potential of the American Dream.” ♦