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15/12/2017 - 2018 Tip O'Neill Irish Diaspora Awards nomination open

Tip Tip

2017 Tip O'Neill recipients receiving their awards at the event in Oct this year. Back L-R  Seamus Neely, CEO Donegal County Council, Packie Bonner, Fraser Doherty, & Michael Tunney, Donegal LEO. Front L-R Martin Meehan, Cathaoirleach Cllr Gerry McMonagle, Tom O'Neill, & Barbara Koster.


Donegal County Council is delighted to announce the official opening of the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards nomination process for 2018.


The Awards ceremony which is held annually in Donegal, an initiative of the broader Diaspora project, has become a highlight of Donegal County Council’s calendar of events.  The Award is presented on an annual basis to a member/s of the broad Irish Diaspora who has achieved prominence or recognition in the area of business, commerce, industry, education, politics, finance or sport.


The sixth Annual Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards took place in Donegal last October.  This year saw Donegal County Council recognise four members of the Diaspora.  Packie Bonner, former Ireland Goalkeeper, Barbara Koster, Senior Vice President Prudential Financial responsible for the establishment and expansion of Pramerica in Letterkenny, Fraser Doherty, a young entrepreneur from Scotland with family links to Listillion, Letterkenny and finally, Martin Meehan, President of the University of Massachuettes who was a key figure in the establishment of the Centre for Irish Partnerships in 2009. 


Previous recipients include journalist and publisher Niall O’Dowd, former Governor of Montana Brian Schweitzer, Senator Therese Murray former president of the Massachusetts Senate, U.S. based philanthropist Ms. Loretta Brennan Glucksman and the U.S. political commentator Chris Matthews.


This year’s events began with each of the four recipients hosting a workshop at Ulster University, Magee campus in their respective areas of expertise.  The workshops were attended by in excess of 200 people and provided a great opportunity to hear first hand the experiences of the award recipients.


The awards ceremony itself took place in An Grianan Hotel and was attended by 220 people.  Tip’s son Tom his wife Shelly and their guests attended again this year to show their on-going support of the initiative.  


The weekend concluded with the inaugural Tip O’Neill Donegal Diaspora Golf Challenge held in Ballyliffin Golf Course.  Our visiting teams from the US together with a number of public and private sector teams enjoyed a great day out in Ballyliffin with the Letterkenny Institute of Technology winning the Tip O’Neill Perpetual Cup and Donegal County Council winning the Donegal Diaspora Golf Challenge. 


Councillor Nicholas Crossan, Chairman of the Tip O Neill Committee speaking about the nomination process said “here in Donegal we are very proud of our strong connections with the wider global family across the world and I would encourage people to submit their nominations for this prestigious award”.  Speaking at the launch Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise said that Donegal County Council was looking forward to developing relationships with the new Donegal Ambassadors and previous winners going forward for the mutual benefit of the county and its communities.


The Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award was initiated in 2012 as a means of commemorating the centenary of the birth of the late Tip O’Neill who was a liberal Democrat and an influential member of the US House of Representatives.  His maternal grandparents came from County Donegal. Throughout his long and distinguished career, he spoke to and for both the Irish community and all vulnerable residents in the United States. His vision and his determination to make Ireland a better place were crucial in the negotiations that led to the Anglo Irish Agreement in 1985 and the establishment of the International Fund for Ireland.


More information on the nominations process can be found at  The closing date for receipt of completed nomination forms is Friday 27th April 2018.


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