Shelly and I recently traveled to Northern Ireland for the sixth annual Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award. Every year we look forward to this event and award which celebrates the life of my father and honors his dedication to peace in both the United States and Northern Ireland. The award recognizes the significance of the Diaspora and celebrates the heritage and culture that has promoted such a strong, impressive presence of County Donegal natives abroad. While it has many functions, ultimately, the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award recognizes the achievements of influential members of the Irish Diaspora community who have found tremendous success in their field of choice while never forgetting their Irish roots.
This year I had the honor of presenting the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award to four impressive individuals: President Marty Meehan, University of Massachusetts system; food entrepreneur Frazer Doherty, Founder of SuperJam and member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE); Barbara Koster, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Prudential Financial; Packie Bonner, Former goalkeeper for Celtic and the Republic of Ireland national team.
Each recipient has done much to promote the progression of Northern Ireland locally and on a global scale. The Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards recognizes this commitment to the betterment of the community and its’ recipients are a true testament to the incredible influence of Donegal and the importance of the Irish Diaspora.