Ireland's government is now seeking nominations, made by Irish communities abroad, to recognize the contribution of members of the Irish diaspora.

The Irish government is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad, which was first established in 2012 as a means to recognize the contribution of members of the Irish diaspora.  Nominations are made by Irish communities abroad through Ireland’s network of diplomatic missions.

"I am delighted to announce the call for nominations for the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, which acknowledges the many ways in which our diaspora make contributions to Ireland.  The contribution of the Irish around the world, in so many countries and in so many ways, has been immense, and is of great credit to Ireland,” said Diaspora Minister Ciaran Cannon in a press release.

“Over the last six years, 61 remarkable recipients have received the Award, chosen from pools of high quality nominees.   We want to ensure that the award continues to attract worthy nominees and I would therefore encourage you to consider nominating eligible candidates."

Here's footage from the 2017 awards:

The release added that nominations are made by Irish communities abroad through Ireland’s network of diplomatic missions. Due to the high caliber of nominations received, 2017 nominees will be automatically re-nominated for 2018.

A potential award recipient must be resident outside of Ireland, and satisfy one of the following requirements:

*Have rendered distinguished service to the nation and/or its reputation abroad;

*Have actively and demonstrably contributed to Ireland and/or its international; reputation and/or Irish communities abroad in at least one of the categories listed above

*Have a track record of sustained support and engagement with Ireland and/or its international reputation and/or Irish communities abroad over a period of not less than five years; or

*Have made a sustained and distinguished service to Ireland on a global or international issue of importance.

Nominations can be made through the Embassy of Ireland in Washington, D.C., and are due before Monday, May 7.

The awards are managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and a high level panel was established to make recommendations to the government.  The panel includes Niall Burgess, secretary general of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (chair); Martin Fraser, secretary general of the Department of the Taoiseach; Art O’Leary, secretary general to the president; and four representatives from the non-government sector.

Read more: Liam Neeson receives presidential award from Michael D Higgins

Michael D Higgins will present the 2018 Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad to the winners.Rolling News