THE 2022 Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards returned to a packed Inishowen Gateway Hotel in Buncrana, where some of Donegal and Ireland’s finest were recognised for their outstanding contributions to society, culture, healthcare, the arts and business.
Donal Kavanagh introduced each recipient and helped to aptly summarise the impact in which the recipients have had on their respective fields.
Ann and Mark Baiada a husband and wife team, with strong ties to Kilmacrennan, together founded BAYADA healthcare, which employs over 28,000 staff globally.
Moya Doherty, born in the border village of Pettigo, was the commissioning producer and originator of the global phenomenon Riverdance and currently Chair of the RTE board.
Kathleen Sheerin, originally from Ardara has been an ever-present member of the Donegal Association in Dublin since arriving in ‘the big smoke’ and continues to support all things Donegal across the world.
Dr Susan Whoriskey is an entrepreneur who has pioneered cutting edge technologies and lifesaving protective vaccines. She also supports medical scholarships at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.
Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Liam Blaney paid tribute to the awardee.
“The Tip O’Neill awards are an opportunity to celebrate the role our Diaspora play, not just for Donegal and Ireland but across the globe. We are privileged to be in the company of such esteemed recipients.’’
Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, TD said that the ‘‘rich talent pool which Donegal has developed and continues to deliver is testament to everything that is good about our county”.
Cllr. Nicholas Crossan, Chairperson of the Tip O’Neill Committee, acknowledged the “continued support of the O’Neill family for the awards’’ and spoke of the initial proposal by “local historian Leonard Roarty who developed the idea of the award ceremony’’.
The Tip O’Neill award ceremony began in 2012 to mark the centenary of the birth of Thomas P. Tip O’Neill. Tip O’Neill whose maternal grandparents hailed from Donegal (Buncrana and Clonmany) was an American Politician and Statesman who served as Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
Tip’s son Tom delivered an appreciation to the late John and Pat Hume, as a fitting close to the award ceremony.
“They ensured that the road to peace was maintained consistently for 30 years. This is their legacy,” he said.
The Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards are part of the Donegal Connect, Global Irish Festival Series in association with Fáilte Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Donegal County Council.
A range of events will take place over the weekend across Donegal as part of countywide festivities.