The Homes of Donegal Fundraising Committee that raised a huge amount of money to help victims of the devastating flooding in the Inishowen peninsula last year, professional golfer Paul McGinley and former Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley have been named as this year’s recipients of the prestigious 2018 Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards.
The Homes of Donegal Fundraising Committee, in Boston, will be honoured following their response to last year’s flooding in Inishowen when they raised huge amounts of money, sending it to the Irish Red Cross to distribute to those who had been affected, after floods swept across the peninsula devastating homes and businesses.
For the second year in succession, the Council will be recognising more than one member of the Diaspora.
Two other recipients will also receive awards the former Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley and professional golfer Paul McGinley, will also be honoured at a special ceremony on Friday, September 14 in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel, Buncrana.
Speaking at the announcement, Donegal An Cathaoirleach, Councillor Seamus O’ Domhnaill said he was delighted that Donegal County Council is recognising three members of the broad Irish Diaspora for their achievements and their interest in, and support of the Irish community abroad.
He said: “I know that each of this year’s well-deserving participants is very proud of their links to Donegal and take every opportunity they can to promote Donegal in each of their chosen fields.
“Their achievements speak for themselves and I am delighted that we in Donegal County Council, through the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award, are in a position to honour their outstanding contributions.”
The Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award is an initiative of the Donegal Diaspora Project in Donegal County Council and was initiated in 2012 on the centenary of the birth of Thomas P. Tip O’Neill.
Tip O’Neill, whose maternal grandparents hailed from the Inishowen Peninsula in Co. Donegal, was an American Politician and Statesman who served as Speaker of the US House of Representatives from 1977 until 1987.
Former recipients of the award include well known US broadcaster and political commentator Chris Matthews, former President of Massachussets State Senate Therese Murray, Irish New York based journalist and publisher Niall O’Dowd, former Governor of Montana Brian Schweitzer and US philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman.
Last year, for the first time since the awards began, the Council recognised four members of the Diaspora - Barbara Koster, Packie Bonner, Martin Meehan and Fraser Doherty.
Chair of the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards Committee, Councillor Nicholas Crossan, said he was very much looking forward to the weekend of events and in particular to the special awards night.
Donegal County Council in partnership with the Ulster University at Magee and Letterkenny Institute of Technology will host a number of events during the weekend.
The weekend will conclude with the Tip O’Neill Golf Challenge on Saturday September 15th in the award winning Ballyliffin Golf Course. A number of college teams from America will return to Donegal this year to participate in the competition together with Tom O’Neill, Tip’s son, who visits Donegal annually to support the event.
Speaking at the reception, Chief Executive Seamus Neely said that he was very much looking forward to welcoming these special guests to Donegal and to continuing to build relationships to expand the Donegal Diaspora project to the mutual benefit of Donegal Diaspora both at home and abroad.
The Gala Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards Ceremony will be held in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel, Buncrana on Friday, September 14 and tickets will be available for purchase from www.localenterprise.ie/Donegal.