The recipient of the third annual Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award has been announced as Senator Therese Murray, President of the Massachusetts State Senate.
The announcement was made by Buncrana Mayor Peter McLaughlin in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel, Buncrana on Tuesday.
There is a strong Inishowen connection to Tip O’Neill, who was an American politician and speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
His great-grandmother, Eunice Fullerton, hailed from Sledrin, outside Buncrana.
The award was established to recognise the achievements of members of the Donegal diaspora and to celebrate the global impact of Irish people everywhere.
Senator Murray will receive the award on September 12th.
Speaking at the announcement ceremony, Mayor McLaughlin said the senator had “proven herself to be a worthy recipient by carving out a very successful career in the predominantly male world of not just American politics, but politics in general.”
He added: “She has been a champion of welfare causes, mental health, children’s welfare and health and the elderly.”
Senator Murray has family connections in Cork, Limerick and Dublin.
She said she was “humbled and honoured” to receive the award.
Previous recipients have been renowned journalist, social commentator and editor of the Irish Voice and Irish Central Niall O’Dowd and Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana.
Councillor Nicholas Crossan, Chairman of the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award commented: “We, in Buncrana, have seen the fruits of this ceremony as we continue to forge the strong links between ourselves and our diaspora in a positive manner that celebrates our shared history.”
The O’Neill family will visit Inishowen for the ceremony. During their visit, they will officially open the new Sliabh Sneacht Visitors’ Centre in Drumfries, A room at the centre will be named the ‘Tip O’Neill Suite.’ On September 13th, the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Lecture will be delivered at the centre by Professor Paul Arthur.