This year Buncrana’s Inishowen Gateway played host to the 2015 Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards, at which noted US philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman was announced as the winner of the coveted plaudit.
At the event the strong connections between Donegal and the United States of America were reinforced and this year’s winner, said she was “honoured, humbled and grateful” for the recognition afforded by the county of her forefathers.
The large attendance heard Master of Ceremonies for the occasion, RTÉ newsreader, Aengus Mac Grianna, told the audience about Ms Glucksman’s life and her contribution not only to the American Ireland Fund but also her many philanthropic endeavours stretching over two decades focusing on education, the arts, healthcare and peace initiatives.
“But it’s not just about monies donated and raised, it’s about her time and effort and sheer determination to promote so many projects on behalf of the Irish people,” he said
“They say if you want to get something done get a busy person to do it and in that regard Loretta certainly fits that bill.”
Speaking ahead of the awards The Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan, TD said that Loretta Glucksman was a “friend and a champion of Ireland”.
“Through her leadership of the American Ireland Fund she has made an immense contribution across so many areas on the island of Ireland and has shown herself to be a proud Irish-American, giving back so generously to the land of her ancestors,” he said.
“She has also made an extraordinary contribution to the development of the Ireland-US relationship, working hard to strengthen the strong ties between our two countries, forged as they are on bonds of kinship and of history. I know that she is immensely proud of her Irish roots and she is a truly deserving recipient of this illustrious award.”
Chairperson of the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Committee, Cllr. Nicholas Crossan said there was always a ‘Céad Míle Fáilte’ for all visitors to Inishowen and Donegal, particularly members of the Irish diaspora.
“The award serves two purposes,” he said.
“It acknowledges the life of Tip O’Neill while at the same time it recognises and celebrates the work and achievements of the broad Irish diaspora,” he said.
Minister for Gaeltacht Affairs, Joe McHugh TD said it was important to appreciate the leadership being shown at cross-border and at Donegal County Council levels by being ambitious in relation to building the network between America and Donegal.