Presidential Distinguished Service Awards 2015
Actor Gabriel Byrne, businessman Tom Moran, solicitor Gareth Peirce, and author Mario Vargas Llosa are among the recipients of the Presidential Distinguished Service Awards for the Irish Abroad for 2015.
The awards were announced in September by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to these remarkable individuals for what each of them has contributed to Ireland, to the Irish abroad, and to our country’s international reputation,” Minister Flanagan said. “Their service and commitment to Ireland is a shining example to us all and they are worthy recipients of this honor by the president.”
Gabriel Byrne’s award recognizes his work as a Cultural Ambassador for Ireland, while London solicitor Gareth Peirce was nominated for her advocacy work on the cases of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six.
Mario Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian writer, politician, journalist, essayist, college professor, and recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature, is being honored for his book, The Dream of the Celt, which opened up the story of Irish patriot Roger Casement in a very sympathetic manner to the 650 million Spanish and Portuguese speakers in the world.
Stateside, philanthropist and businessman Tom Moran, chairman of Mutual of America, is being honored for his contribution as an influential voice in the Irish peace process. “Over the years, Tom has developed relationships with social, political, and business leaders in Northern Ireland and continues to open doors to promote a positive future for this island,” Minister Flanagan said.
Other recipients from the U.S. are Father Brendan McBride, founder and head of the Irish Immigration and Pastoral Center in San Francisco, who played a central role in providing support to those involved in the recent Berkeley tragedy, and Dr. Maureen Murphy. The Hofstra professor, who is currently serving as a Fulbright Fellow at University College Dublin, is being recognized for her work promoting Ireland as a cultural and literary powerhouse. ♦