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Four Diaspora ambassadors to be awarded prestigious Tip O’Neill Award


Four Diaspora ambassadors to be awarded prestigious Tip O’Neill Award

Cllr. Nicholas Crossan, chair of the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards Committee, Cathaoirleach Cllr. Gerry McMonagle and Chief Executive Seamus Neely along with invited guests at the event.


The 2017 recipients of the prestigious Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards were announced this evening (Monday 18 September) at a special reception in the County House in Lifford.


This year’s recipients are:


Marty Meehan

Mr. Marty Meehan, President of the University of Massachusetts, Boston;



Barbara Koster

Barbara Koster, Senior Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer for Prudential Financial and Board Chair of Pramerica Systems Ireland Ltd.;


Packie Bonnar

Packie Bonner, former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper;


Frazer Doherty

Frazer Doherty, Super Jams. 


They will be presented with the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award at a special ceremony on Friday 20th October.


Speaking at the reception Cathaoirleach Cllr. Gerry McMonagle said “this year Donegal County Council is recognising four members of the broad Irish Diaspora in recognition of their achievements and their interest in, and support of the Irish community abroad.  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.


Also speaking at the reception Cllr. Nicholas Crossan, chair of the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards Committee said “I am delighted that each of this year’s recipients have already committed to taking time out of their busy schedules to visit Donegal to accept the award and to take part in a packed schedule of events over the weekend. All four recipients are very proud of their Donegal connections and take every opportunity to raise the profile of Donegal in each of their chosen fields”.


Donegal County Council in partnership with the Ulster University at Magee, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and International Partners have been working together to put in place an action packed itinerary on Friday October 20th where each of the recipients will hold individual workshops at Magee University revolving around their area of expertise.  These workshops are open to the public but booking in advance is essential.


The weekend will conclude with the inaugural Tip O’Neill Golf Challenge which will be held on Saturday October 21st in the award winning Ballyliffin Golf Course.  A number of college teams from across America have already signed up 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 people at home and abroad.


The Gala Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards Ceremony will be held in An Grianán Hotel, Burt on Friday October 20th 2017 and tickets can be purchased here.


To book your place at any of the workshops in Magee University or to purchase tickets for the Awards Ceremony see here

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