On 12th September 2014, Senator Therese Murray President of the Massachusetts Senate received the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora award from the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.

In a touching ceremony on Friday September 12th, Murray looked at home when receiving the prestigious Tip O’Neill award in the Inishowen Gateway hotel, Buncrana surrounded by friends and family from both home and away.

Senator Murray’s ties to Ireland go beyond her economic development efforts.  As Murray’s family tree stretches across the Island of Ireland with family names such as Harrold and Conners from Dublin and Cork tying her to our emerald green isle.

Murray proving herself a worthy recipient of the award has successfully strengthened the economic ties with the island of Ireland, particularly focusing on the Northwest.  Through her leadership and guidance, a number of research alliances have been formed between the University of Massachusetts system and Irish Universities. Additionally, Murray has led multiple trade missions and has hosted delegations which have led to business development opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.

On Saturday 13th Sept 2014 Professor Michael Kennedy delivered the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Lecture in the newly opened Slieve Sneacht Centre at Drumfires.  Professor Kennedy’s lecture was titled, “American military overflights, Irish neutrality and the build-up to D-Day”

Professor Kennedy is the Executive Editor of the Royal Irish Academy’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series as well as being the author of a wide range of books on 20th Century Irish political, diplomatic, and military history. He is also a member of the Irish Manuscripts Commission and the Royal Irish Academy’s Committee for International Affairs and an adjunct Associate Professor of History at UCD.

The Tip’O’Neill Irish Diaspora School Competition winners were also presented with their prizes and certificates.  First prize was awarded to Gracie Friel, Scoil Íosagain.  Second Prize went to Síofra Harkin, Scoil Naomh Padraig and third prize went to Leah Gill, Scoil Íosagain.

Six students were also received certificates and were highly commended for their contribution to the competition.  Their names include Ellen McDaid, Catherine Sweeney and Seán Mullan of Scoil Naomh Padraig and Tiarnan Devlin, Agneta – Helvya Pavilone and Matthew Clifford of Scoil Íosagáin.