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Three distinguished honourees announced for Tip O'Neill Irish Diaspora Award

The Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards return for 2023 on Saturday, 16th September, at the Inishowen Gateway Hotel in Buncrana, County Donegal. The award, presented by Donegal County Council, seeks to recognise those who have excelled in their chosen field whilst honouring their contribution to Ireland and its Diaspora.

The award was first initiated in 2012 as a means of commemorating the centenary of the birth of the late Tip O’Neill who was a liberal Democrat and an influential member of the US House of Representatives. His maternal grandparents were native to County Donegal. Tip’s son Tommy O’Neill, alongside his wife Shelly O’Neill, return home to Donegal each year for the awards ceremony.

2023 sees three distinguished individuals honoured with the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award.

Photo Credit: Damico

Professor William C. Campbell

Hailing from Ramelton in County Donegal, Professor Campbell is perhaps most well known for receiving the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2015. The distinguished list of honours, awards and achievements is a testament to the sheer amount of work, time and effort that Professor Campbell has invested in Veterinary Science throughout his life. Even now, at 93 years of age, Professor Campbell keeps busy as a university lecturer at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, and is an avid painter, regularly donating his work to auctions in aid of student scholarship fundraisers.

Caroline McLaughlin

Originally from Buncrana in County Donegal, and an Irish emigrant since 1996, Caroline has lived in the Channel Islands, San Francisco, Australia and London.  For almost 30 years Caroline has been an exceptional builder of both individual and community relationships, and a strong influencer in improving the lives and experiences of diverse and disadvantaged groups including women and students. She is a leading representative of the Irish diaspora community in the UK, and has been active in leading networks and supporting programmes for the betterment of fellow emigrants.

John T. Fries

John is a first-generation Irish-American whose father was born and raised in Kilmacrenan, County Donegal. John credits his Irish-American heritage with teaching him the “life-skills necessary to build a successful business career and, more importantly, the values critical to giving back to the people and communities in need.” John had a successful business career spanning 24 years in the Tech industry, working with leading hardware and software companies. John’s focus in recent years has been on philanthropic activities, board level roles and senior leadership positions with start-up firms. John currently serves as President of Managed Care Connections in Moorestown, New Jersey, and as Managing Partner at Germantown Ventures, a Philadelphia-based venture capital firm.

Announcing the awardees for 2023, Cathaoirleach Cllr. Martin Harley said, “The importance of our Diaspora to Donegal cannot be overstated and we are committed to continuing to work to consolidate and further develop our links in this regard. The commitment, enthusiasm and work ethic of our Diaspora has allowed them to integrate and thrive in their adopted nations. It is my honour to welcome the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awardees to Donegal for 2023 and to congratulate Professor William C. Campbell, Caroline McLaughlin and John T. Fries on their successful careers to date.”

Chairman of the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award Committee Cllr. Nicholas Crossan said: “It gives me great pride to once again be announcing the winners for the prestigious Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award. We, in Buncrana, continue to see the benefits of this fantastic initiative as we continue to forge and maintain the strong links between ourselves and our Diaspora, no matter where they are located and regardless of the generations that may have passed since.”

Tickets for the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Awards 2023 will go on sale on Monday, 10th July, via EventBrite.

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