An elite group of the nation's top Irish-American business leaders were honored Monday evening at the prestigious Wall Street 50 annual awards dinner, co-hosted by Irish America magazine and business communications firm FTI.

Now in its 12th year, the event recognizes the honorees' outstanding achievements, business successes, civic accomplishments and commitment to their Irish heritage as criteria for their inclusion on the distinguished annual list.

Held at the famed New York Yacht Club, this year's dinner and awards ceremony was highlighted by the attendance of Padraig Harrington, winner of the 2008 PGA championship, and Brian Moynihan, Bank of America's President of Consumer and Small Business Banking.

Moynihan, who was honored for his corporate leadership and his work in advancing important causes for the benefit of the Irish-American community, called on the Irish to help overcome the challenges of the economy.

He drew parallels with the Irish immigrants who were forced to search outside their shores. "Our relatives braved this challenge because they had to, they had no choice…so I say, let's go take on the task at hand.”

The Irish golfer Padraig Harrington drew laughter when he spoke about the hazards he faced on the golf course.

Harrington, who blew chances of victory at the US PGA and the WGC events, said he has been swamped with water jokes after his game foundered in the water hazards in Minnesota and Ohio.

"I came to disaster twice in the water hazard," he said, and "when I got home I got a voicemail with the theme tune to "Jaws" on it.

"And as I was traveling on my way here I was looking in my golf bag and I found a golf ball retriever for getting golf balls out of the water."

The Wall Street 50 awards coincided with the release of the August/September issue of Irish America magazine, available now, which features a cover story interview with Mr. Moynihan, as well as detailed profiles on each of the honorees.

The ongoing success of the awards is made possible through the support of leading companies and organizations including Mutual of America, Waterford Crystal,, The American Ireland Fund, Invest Northern Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Tourism Ireland, PR Newswire, The Merrion Hotel (Dublin) and Coca-Cola.