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Photo: Fr. Kevin O’Hara details the extent of an oil spill during a Misean Cara visit to Ikarama in October 2019.  

Misean Cara Congratulates Two Missionary Recipients of Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad 2020

Misean Cara offers its warmest congratulations to Fr. Kevin O’Hara and Sr. Pat Murray who on 6th November were both recognised with the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad 2020. The awards were conferred by Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney and were given in recognition for their contributions as members of the Irish Diaspora rendering distinguished service to the nation and/or its reputation abroad. 

Fr. Kevin O’Hara, of the St. Patrick’s Missionary Society (a Misean Cara member organisation), received his award in the category of Peace, Reconciliation & Development. Fr. Kevin has been involved in several Misean Cara supported projects, including a recent effort to promote environmental, economic and human rights by holding large oil companies accountable for their activities across Southern Nigeria, through the Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Accountability (SACA) an NGO he founded to monitor multinational oil companies in the Niger Delta. Through this work, Fr. Kevin has been an advocate to the local population, bringing injustices to the attention of the oil companies and the Nigerian government, and fostering attempts to open positive dialogue between the various stakeholders.

Sr. Pat Murray received her award also in the category of Peace, Reconciliation & Development. Sr. Pat, who is a member of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto) IBVM, one of Misean Cara’s member organisations, was appointed in 2019 by Pope Francis to serve as a consulter to the Pontifical Council for Culture. She also currently holds the role of Secretary of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), a global organisation of Superiors General of Institutes of Catholic Women Religious, based in Rome.

Quoting from the Department of Foreign Affairs press release, Minister Coveney commented:

“I am delighted to have the opportunity once again to formally recognise the achievements of some of the finest members of our global family, our diaspora. The Presidential Distinguished Service Award celebrates the diversity of our global Irish family. The contribution of the Irish Abroad has been immense, and the diversity of their achievements in their many walks of life, can be seen in this year’s 14 awardees. Each of these individuals have made a remarkable contribution to Ireland and to our international reputation. I am deeply grateful for their service and commitment to this country. This is the ninth year the Presidential Distinguished Service Award has inscribed in history, our nation’s pride and gratitude for an extraordinary group of individuals, who have honoured Ireland”.  

Nominations for the Award were made by members of Irish communities abroad through Ireland’s network of Diplomatic Missions.

Photo: Fr. Kevin O’Hara and Sean Ferry of Misean Cara meeting with the Nigerian Director for Oil Spills and Pollution and Minister of Mineral Reserves to discuss his work with SACA.