Three UK based business men and women have been honoured with awards from President Michael D. Higgins
There are a number of extraordinary people who contribute to Ireland and to Irish communities abroad. The Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad honours the work they do.
The Award 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.
Niall FitzGerald (UK)
Niall FitzGerald has had a distinguished career in business and is among the most prominent Irish business leaders across the world. He is active in promoting Irish sporting and educational causes including Munster Rugby and UCD, where he holds official positions. He was awarded the KBE in 2002 while Chairman of the Anglo-Dutch company Unilever.
Charles Handy (UK)
Renowned management guru Charles Handy, who was born in Kildare in 1932, has lived in England for many years. He had a long career in management science, mainly based at the London Business School, and is most famous for his management writings, including ‘The Empty Raincoat’ published in 1994. He and his wife regularly visit Ireland where they are also active in supporting philanthropic projects including in Ballymun and with development charities in East Africa and the West Bank.
Gareth Peirce (UK)
Gareth Peirce is a British solicitor and human rights activist. In a career of more than 30 years, she has represented a number of high-profile cases, including the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six. Ms Peirce’s contribution to peace and reconciliation is evident in terms of the impact her work has had both in the UK and internationally. Her dedication and commitment to obtaining justice for several Irish people living in Britain who were wrongfully convicted is acknowledged worldwide and has been instrumental in bringing about major changes to the legal system.