News & Views

Recipients of the Presidential Distinguished Service Award


President of Ireland
honours leading





PAT KELLY Founding member of the Canadian County Board in 1987. He has lived in Ottawa since the 1970s and has been closely involved with various Irish organisations in Canada, including the GAA. 

TEN high-profile Irish people living abroad are to be recognised with a new presidential award -- but the Government last night stressed how this new Irish scheme "is not an honours system" similar to the one in the UK. The new Presidential Distinguished Service Award, which acknowledges the work of Irish people living abroad, is diferent to the high-profile British honours system. Among those nominated for the Irish awards is the late GAA and Aussie rules star, Jim

Stynes, who carved out a successful career in Aussie Rules Football, before succumbing to cancer.Also in receipt of the award is Pat Kelly who has lived in Ottawa since the 1970s, and who has been closely involved with various Irish organisations in Canada, including the establishment of a Gaelic football club in his adopted city.Other award nominations are Sister Leena Deevy, a native of Co Laois who has worked with immigrants in Boston, and Fr Michael Kelly, who has done research on the impact of AIDS in Africa. 

Thank to the ‘Irish Independent’

Prof. Fr Kelly awarded for HIV/AIDS work

RENOWNED academic and anti-AIDS campaigner Professor Father Michael Kelly has received the Irish Presidential Award for Excellence for his outstanding contributions to the development of education in Zambia and Africa in general and for his work in curbing the spread of HIV and AIDS. Fr Kelly is among the 10 distinguished Irish citizens who received honours under the Irish President’s inaugural award that recognises excellence among Irish people in the diaspora.

The awards ceremony took place at the Presidential Palace in the Irish capital Dublin. This is contained in a statement issued yesterday by press secretary at the Zambian High Commission in London Amos Chanda. Fr Kelly was awarded for his outstanding work in advancing education in Zambia, in particular and Africa in general and for his great efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS, especially among young people. Irish President Michael Higgins said Fr Kelly has devoted all his life teaching young men and women how to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.  

“These are awards to eight of the 10 wonderful Irish people living in the diaspora who have been chosen to receive this special acknowledgement for their tireless contributions to Ireland. Among them is Fr Michael Kelly from Lusaka, Zambia,” he said.

President Higgins said the departure of Irish people from their motherland in pursuit of service to humanity and in search of opportunities abroad, has been a constant recurrence and defining characteristic of Irish history.Mr Higgins said the immigrant experiences are deeply embedded in the Irish psyche and have continued to shape the country’s values, defining the Irish as a people at ease with others in the global community.

“The current Irish people owed a huge debt to the previous generations of fallen Irish immigrants. Without their legacy and unwavering work done by them, the Irish community currently working to build and support new links with the global Irish would not be attained. “The need to engage all Irish living in the diaspora is critical. Without the diaspora, very little would be known about Ireland. I thank all Irish people living in the diaspora for their enormous contributions to Ireland’s economic development,” he said. The Presidential Award for the Irish diaspora has been launched to formally recognise
outstanding contributions made by exceptional individuals across various facets of human development.
The award honours the sacrifice, support and commitment to Ireland of the wider Irish diaspora in all areas of human development.  The thematic areas of the award are Irish community support, arts, culture and sport,
charitable works, business and education, and peace, reconciliation and development.