Terry Wogan to be honoured for Irish contribution abroad

Presidential Distinguished Service Awards recognise the work of Irish people overseas

Sir Terry Wogan is to receive a posthumous award in recognition of his contribution as a broadcaster to Ireland and the Irish community abroad.

The veteran broadcaster, who died from cancer in January 2016 aged 77, has been named as one of the recipients of the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish abroad.

Wogan joins a list of recipients for the 2016 award including Martin Von Hildebrand for his work promoting economic, social and environmental rights in the Colombian Amazon, Norman McClelland for his philanthropic endeavours in the US and Nora Higgins for her work with Irish pensioners in south London. The awards will be presented by President Michael D Higgins later this year.

The Presidential Distinguished Service Award was established by the Government following the 2011 Global Irish Economic Forum as a means to recognise the contribution of members of the Irish diaspora. Nominations are made by Irish communities abroad through Ireland’s network of diplomatic missions and the first awards were made in 2012.


Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan commended the recipients of the award for their impressive work overseas, saying the awards enabled the State to recognise some of “the finest members of our diaspora for their contribution to Ireland, the Irish community abroad and Ireland’s reputation. In the ever changing world we live in, this remarkable group of individuals have been a constant beacon for Ireland and the values we hold dear”.

Wogan will receive the award posthumously for his “long and universally acclaimed broadcasting career”, added Mr Flanagan.

An award will be presented this year for the first time in the category of Science, Technology and Innovation, reflecting Ireland’s track record of achievement in this area, said Mr Flanagan.

Professor Garret Fitzgerald, a globally recognised research physician scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, will receive the award in this category in recognition of his contribution to the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Minister for Diaspora Affairs and International Development Joe McHugh highlighted the work of New York community activists Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D'Arcy who secured rights and recognition for LGBT members of the Irish community and commended Sr Mary Sweeney for her role in coordinating a response to the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.

The full list of recipients of Presidential Distinguished Service Awards in 2016 is:

Arts, Culture and Sport Angela Brady (UK) Terry Wogan (Deceased — UK) — presented posthumously

Business and Education Robert Kearns (Canada) Gerald Lawless (UAE)

Charitable Works Norman McClelland (US) Irish Community Support Nora Higgins (UK) Brendan Fay (US) Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy (US)

Peace, Reconciliation and Development Martin Von Hildebrand (Colombia) Sr. Mary Sweeney (Sierra Leone)

Science, Technology and Innovation Garret FitzGerald (US)

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast