The Irish community in Australia is being encouraged to put forward nominees for the 2014 Presidential Distinguished Service Award (PDSA).
The awards, now in their third year, are presented by the President and recognise “the service given to [Ireland] or to Irish communities abroad by those who live outside Ireland”.
The late Jim Stynes was awarded a PDSA posthumously in 2012 and remains the only Australian winner to date.
To nominate a person, click here. Nominations close on May 2, 2014.
Of the 20 awards announced so far, eight have gone to the USA, four to Britain, two to France and one each to Canada, India, Uganda, Zambia, New Zealand and Australia.
Nominees must live outside the island of Ireland and, according to the criteria, 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
- Supported and engaged with Ireland and/or its international reputation and/or Irish communities abroad for at least five years
While the scheme was 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.
Nominations for PDSA are made through the Embassy network, and are considered by what the Department of Foreign Affairs describe as a “high level panel”.
The panel recommends up to a total of 10 people every year from these nominations with at least one from each of these areas:
- Irish community support
- Arts, culture and sport
- Charitable works
- Business and education
- Peace, reconciliation and development
The panel then submits its recommendations to the Government for approval.
The award winners are announced in October and presented in November at a ceremony in Áras an Uachtaráin.