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Minister Simon Coveney announces the 2020 recipients of the Presidential Distinguished Service Awards

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, T.D., today announced the recipients of the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad for 2020.

The Presidential Distinguished Service Award was established following the 2011 Global Irish Economic Forum as a means to recognise the contribution of members of the Irish diaspora, and the first awards were made in 2012.

Announcing the recipients, the Minister said:

I am delighted to have the opportunity once again to formally recognise the achievements of some of the finest members of our global family, our diaspora. The Presidential Distinguished Service Award celebrates the diversity of our global Irish family. The contribution of the Irish Abroad has been immense, and the diversity of their achievements in their many walks of life, can be seen in this year’s 14 awardees.

Each of these individuals have made a remarkable contribution to Ireland and to our international reputation. I am deeply grateful for their service and commitment to this country. This is the ninth year the Presidential Distinguished Service Award has inscribed in history, our nation’s pride and gratitude for an extraordinary group of individuals, who have honoured Ireland.

Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy, T.D., added:

As Minister of State for the Diaspora, I am proud that Ireland recognises what our diaspora have done and continues to do around the world. 58 nominations were considered for the award, encompassing the worlds of education, culture, sport and charity.

The 14 recipients demonstrate Ireland’s remarkable international influence. Their work has impacted so many, bringing joy through literature, theatre and film; improving social policy and providing care and support for the poor and underprivileged.

In addition, their expertise delivers education at all levels and drives research in the field of science and medicine. They are to be commended for working tirelessly for Irish communities around the world – going above and beyond during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Recipients of the 2020 Presidential Distinguished Service Awards:

PDSA Recipient 2020 Category Location
Jack Charlton (deceased) Arts, Culture and Sport Britain
James W. Flannery Arts, Culture and Sport USA
Mitsuko Ohno Arts, Culture and Sport Japan
Fiona Shaw Arts, Culture and Sport Britain
Michael J. Dowling Business and Education USA
Sr. Louise Horgan Charitable Works Thailand
Alice Kennedy (deceased) Charitable Works Britain
Dermot O’Leary Charitable Works Britain
Loretta Cosgrove Irish Community Support Australia
William Duncan Peace, Reconciliation & Development The Netherlands
Sr. Patricia Murray Peace, Reconciliation & Development Italy
Fr. Kevin O’Hara Peace, Reconciliation & Development Nigeria
Michael Ryan Science, Technology & Innovation Switzerland
Dennis J. Slamon Science, Technology & Innovation USA

It is anticipated that the President will present the awards in a virtual ceremony in December.