Chairman of Concern Worldwide (U.S.), Tom Moran, was among those recognized at the Presidential Distinguished Service Awards ceremony at the President of Ireland's residence, Áras an Uachtaráin, on Thursday Dec 3.
The Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad honors the work of exceptional people who contribute to Ireland and to Irish communities abroad. The awards are organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with nominations made by Irish communities abroad through Ireland’s embassy network.
Moran, who was born in Staten Island, NY and is the son of Irish American parents, was honored as a successful businessman and respected humanitarian for his work as chairperson of one of Ireland’s largest charities. Concern Worldwide is an international humanitarian organization that works to transform the lives of the world’s poorest people.
In addition to his work with Concern, Moran is involved with the Irish arts, culture, and heritage. Moran also played a key role in the Irish peace process and it was for this and his continued work in championing reconciliation between communities in Northern Ireland that he was recognized by Ireland's president.
Among the other nine honorees was British solicitor and human rights activist Gareth Peirce, Fr. Brendan McBride of the Irish Immigration and Pastoral Center in San Francisco and Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, honored for his work as Cultural Ambassador of Ireland, including his continued service to the Irish Arts Center in New York.
The Complete list of 2015 Presidential Distinguished Service Award honorees included Mario Vargas Llosa, Fr. Donal Doyle, Niall FitzGerald, Charles Handy, Sr. Dr Miriam Duggan, Fr. Brendan McBride, Maureen Murphy, Gareth Peirce, and Tom Moran. Gabriel Byrne, who could not be in attendance on the evening, was also honored.
Honoring Fr. Brendan McBride @iipcsf, who comforted so many after #Berkeley #PresidentialDistinguishedServiceAwards pic.twitter.com/Pml8uv7Ncv— Kevin F. O'Malley (@USAmbIreland) December 3, 2015
The event was attended by Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, TD, and Irish Minister for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan, TD.
Speaking before the awards ceremony, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, applauded the work of the ten awardees as a “shining example to us all.”
“I am delighted that the achievements of these ten remarkable people will be acknowledged by the President tonight. Collectively, they have helped to build and expand our reputation around the globe,” he said.
"This is the fourth year of the Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and it is an important acknowledgement by the President, on behalf of all of the people of Ireland, of the significant contribution of those honoured to Ireland and to Irish communities abroad."
Minister of the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan also added, "As Minister for the Diaspora I am delighted that the achievements of our global family are being formally recognized tonight. These awards cover a number of diverse categories – from Arts, Culture and Sport; to Business and Education; to Irish Community Support – which reflects the remarkable and wide-ranging contribution of Irish people abroad to their diaspora communities.”