Crowning Honour: Crosbie receives honorary OBE

Sat, Oct 20, 2012, 01:00

IRISH IMPRESARIO Harry Crosbie has received an honorary OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his services to British-Irish cultural relations and his part in the State visit last year of Queen Elizabeth.

He was presented with the award by British ambassador Dominick Chilcott in a ceremony yesterday at the embassy residence, Glencairn, in south Dublin.

Friends and family at the ceremony included his wife Rita, daughters Claire and Alison, son Simon and their families, eight grandchildren, his sisters Madeline Flanagan and Pauline Costello and former ambassadors David Reddaway and Julian King.

In a citation before the red-ribboned OBE was presented, Andrew Staunton, deputy chief of mission said the spur for the award was Mr Crosbie’s key role in the performance at the convention centre, a concert “which helped change history”.

There were a number of “groundbreaking moments” during the queen’s visit but the one most talked about “as the time when the scales of history turned” were “those cathartic few minutes when tears streaked down the faces of 2,000 Irish people giving Her Majesty a standing ovation at the end of the concert Harry had such a key role in organising”.

It was “a public moment of collective reconciliation” and “pure history making magic”.

Buckingham Palace recognised a concert “of that quality and on that scale simply could not have been organised in such a short time and with a very small budget, without Harry”.

Mr Staunton said it may be a version of “soft diplomacy but the performing arts can be as powerful and as effective as any more conventional diplomacy carried out through embassies and foreign ministries”.

Both governments were committed to strengthening links and “making the most of all those things we have in common”.

“This is a wonderful legacy of the queens visit to Ireland, a legacy that Harry Crosbie OBE had such an important part in creating.”

Presenting the award the ambassador told Mr Crosbie it was “in recognition of these valuable services that Her Majesty the queen has appointed you to be an honorary officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire”.

A beaming Mr Crosbie described the concert as a “collegiate event”, praising his partners LiveNation, the artists and crew who “gave of their time and talent with great generosity”.

He said what they did was “patriotic and sent out wonderful images of Ireland”.