Inishowen was a hive of activity on the weekend of September 8th & 9th when an impressive eighty members of the O’Neill clan and the Irish Immigration Centre descended on Donegal from all parts of the USA to commemorate the inaugural ‘Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award’ and to celebrate the pivotal role he played for Ireland in the worldwide arena.

This award is an initiative of Buncrana Town Council and Donegal County Council. Michael Heaney, CEO of the Donegal County Development Board and Director of Community, Enterprise and Planning in Donegal County Council, has played an instrumental role in the establishment of this award and this week states “This is a landmark event for Donegal honouring one of the most esteemed members of the Donegal Diaspora through recognition of the work of a member of the present day Diaspora. The Donegal Diaspora Project is a key initiative of the Donegal County Development Board. The Tip O’Neill Donegal Diaspora Award will over the years continue to be a key part of our reaching out to our broad Irish Diaspora throughout the World”.

According to the Mayor of Buncrana, Cllr James Gill, “ Inishowen was full of excitement this week because of the influx of people attending to honour Tip O’Neill and the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Committee are already in the throes of organising 2013’s Irish Diaspora Award event”

Speaking from the US before the event, Susan O’Neill, daughter of Tip O’Neill expressed her excitement about the trip. “It is a great honour to come back to Ireland and especially Inishowen to participate in the Tip O’Neill Donegal Diaspora Award and the great festivities planned over the weekend. Tip’s grandmother Eunice Fullerton was born outside Buncrana so this part of the world still resonates as home for many of us. There are over eighty making the trip and this is a great opportunity for members of our family to visit our ancestral home and meet the local community who have put so much work into organising this weekend of events.”

Séamus Neely, Donegal County Manager, welcomes the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Initiative “Donegal County Council is glad to be part of this important project which is recognition of the key role of our Diaspora while at the same time honouring such an esteemed member of our Diaspora from the past. We are delighted to have the involvement of our partners in this event, not least the O’Neill family from Boston.”