About the Award
The Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad is presented by the President every year. It recognises the service given to this country or to Irish communities abroad by those who live outside Ireland.
The Award is not an honours system. It doesn’t give the recipients any legal entitlements or benefits, including Irish citizenship.
About the nominees
Whether they’re Irish citizens, entitled to Irish citizenship or from an Irish background, the hard work, energy and dedication of nominees make a valuable contribution to people’s lives and are deserving of our thanks and respect.
Who can be nominated?
Only people who live outside the island of Ireland can be nominated for the Award. They must have:
- Given distinguished service to Ireland and/or its reputation abroad
- Contributed to Ireland and/or its international reputation and/or Irish communities abroad in at least one of the categories listed below
- Supported and engaged with Ireland and/or its international reputation and/or Irish communities abroad for at least five years, or have made a sustained and distinguished service on a global or international issue of importance
While the scheme is open to all people living abroad, it is primarily aimed at Irish citizens, those entitled to Irish citizenship and persons of Irish descent, who have made a sustained and distinguished service to Ireland or Irish communities abroad, or on a global or international issue of importance.
Who decides on the nominations?
Nominations for the Award are made through our Embassy network, and are considered by a High Level Panel. The Panel recommends up to a total of 10 people every year from these nominations. The categories under which individuals can be nominated are:
- Arts, Culture and Sport;
- Business and Education;
- Charitable Works;
- Irish Community Support;
- Peace, Reconciliation and Development;
- Science, Technology and Innovation (additional category introduced in 2016).
The Panel then submits its recommendations to the Government for approval.
The Award is based on the concept of an open door, which leads to the landscape of Ireland. This captures the welcoming nature of both the Irish people and Ireland as a nation.
Making the Award
The award is made from Irish hardwoods and other locally-sourced materials, using a combination of modern and traditional technologies at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology Letterfrack.
The award was designed by Spear Product Design, an award-winning, multidisciplinary design studio based in Dublin.
Arts, Culture and Sport
Ian Gibson (Spain)
Charlotte Moore and Ciaran O'Reilly (US)
Business and Education
Paul Drechsler (Britain)
Michael Kenneally and Rhona Richman Kenneally (Canada)
Fr. Patrick Clarke (Brazil)
Bernárd Lynch (Britain)
Irish Community Support
Jackie Donohoe (US)
Peace, Reconciliation and Development
Sally O'Neill Sanchez (deceased - Honduras)
Science, Technology and Innovation
Jocelyn Bell Burnell (Britain)
William Howlett (Tanzania)
Nominations for the Presidential Distinguished Service Award are made through Ireland’s embassy network.
Send the completed nomination form to the Irish Embassy of the country where your nominee lives
PDSA 2020 Nomination Form (Download to complete, as fields may not save in your browser)
Make sure your nomination includes:
1. The category under which the nomination is being made
2. Details of your nominee’s background and the contribution they have made to Ireland, Irish communities abroad, Ireland’s international reputation or on a global or international issue of importance.
Contacting the Embassy
Please note that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is covered by the Irish Freedom of Information Act 2014.
The closing date for receipt of nominations to Embassies is Tuesday, 7th April 2020.
Successful nominees will be announced in September 2020.