THE LATE AUSSIE RULES superstar Jim Stynes and philanthropist Chuck Feeney are to be among the first recipients of a new presidential award recognising the achievements of Irish people overseas.
The first recipients of the President Distinguished Service Award were announced by the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday.
The new awards were conceived at the Global Irish Economic Forum in Farmleigh last year, and are intended to honour those living overseas who have enhanced Ireland’s reputation among the people of their adopted countries.
President Michael D Higgins said each of the nominees had “distinguished themselves by the long-standing service they have given to Ireland and to the Irish community abroad.
“I congratulate them on their success and look forward to presenting each recipient with their Award in November,” the President said.
“We are honouring individuals who, in their own separate ways, have made a remarkable contribution to this country,” Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore 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.”
President Higgins said he welcomed the government’s initiative in setting up the awards, which would provide “an important way in which such service can be formally recognised on an ongoing basis”.
The awards will be presented at an official event at Áras an Úachtaráin on November 15.
Presidential Distinguished Service Award for Irish Abroad: 2012 recipients
Arts, Culture and Sport
- Pat Kelly, Canada – comedian and broadcaster
- Pierre Joannon, France – Franco-Irish diplomat and historial
- Jim Stynes, Australia (deceased) – Australian Rules player and cancer activist
Business and Education
- Donald Keough, United States – chairman of Allen & Company Inc; life trustee of University of Notre Dame
- Andy Rogers, Britain – chairman of the European Marketing Group; formerly of Bank of Ireland
- Chuck Feeney, United States – co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers Group; founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies
Irish Community Support
- Sally Mulready, Great Britain – activist, Director of the Irish Elderly Advice Network in London, member of Council of State
- Sr Lena Deevy, United States – Executive Director of the Boston Irish Immigration Centre
Peace, Reconciliation and Development
- Fr Michael Kelly, Zambia – HIV activist
- Loretta Brennan Glucksman, United States – Chairperson of the American Ireland Fund, educational donor