1. Ambassador Anne Anderson:
The new Irish Ambassador to the U.S. came to the job with wonderful drive and commitment, especially on the issue of Irish undocumented. She got off to a very fast start convening meetings with Irish American leaders, meeting with new Republican contacts and making a major impression in the Washington media and beyond.
2. Donald R. Keough, chairman, Allen and Company:
One year after playing a major role in the Notre Dame v. Navy football game in Dublin, Keough endowed a new International School at the campus with an extraordinary $30 million gift. He also ensured that Gaelic games took place at Notre Dame this year.
3. John Fitzpatrick:
The New York hotelier now chairs American Ireland Fund as well as the nation's largest hotel federation. Those are two huge steps forward for the talented businessman and philanthropist featured last year in Irish television’s “Secret Millionaire.“
4. Ciaran Staunton, Irish Lobby Immigration Reform president:
Did a powerful job getting the GOP involved with the Irish lobby, setting up meetings in Ohio and Pennsylvania with Irish American supporters to pressure the GOP leaders. Organized a key breakfast with congressman Paul Ryan and is currently planning an ambitious strategy for 2014.
5. Consul General Noel Kilkenny and Deputy Consul General Peter Ryan, New York:
Organized Irish workers for Rockaway in 2012 and followed up decisively with events for Rockaway residents still in need in 2013. The GAA games and Irish festival were huge hits as well.
6. The Yonkers Irish community:
Organized an amazing fundraiser for stricken Gill family who lost their daughter Kalie in a tragic accident in which her sister was also badly injured. The Yonkers community raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help the Gill family - an incredible gesture of solidarity.
7. Dr Kevin Cahill:
The President General of the American Irish Historical Society stepped down after 40 years of ensuring the survival of one of Irish America’s most important organizations. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Cahill saw that the AIHS’s incredibly valuable 5th Avenue townhouse headquarters was preserved for future generations.
8. Billy Lawless, Chicago Celts:
A great activist on immigration issues, who made sure that Obama’s local Chicago operatives were well aware of the Irish American interest in reform. A tireless worker for new immigration legislation.
9. Bart Murphy, The chairman of the ILIR and a dedicated supporter of Irish causes on the West Coast:
He was deservedly honored by the American Ireland Fund at their annual San Francisco dinner.
10. Pauline Turley, vice chair of the Irish Arts Center:
New York’s beloved Irish Arts Center is now on the verge of a major expansion thanks to her work and that of executive director Aidan Connolly. When completed, the new center stands to be the greatest Irish cultural institution in history of Irish America.