Irish America magazine honored John Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group, North America, as Irish American of the Year and Maureen Dowd, New York Times columnist, received the Irish Spirit award at the same event on Monday, which was held at at The American Irish Historical Society and co-hosted by Tourism Ireland.
John serves as chairman of the Hotel Association of NYC and on the board of directors at the American Ireland Fund and the US-Ireland Council. Hotelier and humanitarian, Fitzpatrick has raised over $1 million to support charitable work in Ireland. He hosts the annual Eithne & Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Golf Tournament, the proceeds of which benefit non-profits such as the Corrymeela Community, whose mission is to foster dialogue between both sides in the North, and Barretstown, an organization dedicated to bringing joy and comfort to children with cancer and other illnesses.
“The Irish have always been great supporters. They are the backbone of my business, helping to maintain the uniquely Irish experience and atmosphere at our hotels,” said Fitzpatrick in accepting his award. “For a long time I thought of myself as an Irish man living in the New York, but when I found out that I was receiving this award, I was truly humbled. I realized that I now had officially become an Irish American and I couldn’t be happier.”
Maureen Dowd, acclaimed New York Times columnist, received the Irish Spirit Award from Irish America magazine. Dowd, a prominent Irish American, has been an Op-Ed columnist for the Times since 1995. She is being honored for her sharp commentary on world affairs.
“My dad died before I got into newspapers but he would’ve been so proud. Sitting under a huge picture of JFK, he read three newspapers – morning, noon and night. Those were the days,” Dowd told the audience. “When things got tough, my mom reassured me that I had the rocks of Clare in my head. And now, thanks to you, I’ll always have the Spirit of Ireland in my hand.”
Members of the media, including Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, Keith Kelly of the New York Post, Michael Daly of the Daily News, and Kristen Shaughnessy and Pat Kiernan of NY1, were recognized by IrishCentral.com and Irish Voice newspaper as part of the media Top Thirty, which featured leaders in the media world from all over America.
Other distinguished guests included Margaret Ritchie MLA, Minister for Social Development and leader of the SDLP; Barry Andrews TD, Minister of State for Children; Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Chairman of the American Ireland Fund; and Ray Kelly, NYPD Commissioner and 2010 Grand Marshal of the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Patricia Harty, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Irish America, said, “Irish America is delighted to honor John Fitzpatrick. John embodies all that is best about the Irish in America, a successful businessman who has given back to his community and those in need in Ireland and America. We are very proud that he is our Irish American of the year.”
Irish America’s founding publisher and founder of IrishCentral.com Niall O’Dowd commented, “Maureen Dowd is the most widely read columnist in America today. Her insight and penetrating analysis have made her the single most influential media writer in America. We know she is keenly aware and proud of her Irish heritage and are delighted that she has accepted the award.”