Irish author Jimmy Cummins, who lives in Busselton, Western Australia, was recently honoured at the inaugural Hearts of Ireland festival.
The Heart of Gold award, given to those who have the “very best qualities” of Irishness, was given to Mr Cummins and eight others from around the world.
Mr Cummins, who was flown to Ireland to receive the award, exposed corruption and fraud in Ireland and subsequently wrote two books about his experiences, including as a footballer and his involvement in the Northern Ireland peace procees.
“It’s important to listen to your head, follow your heart in life and stick your neck out if necessary,” he said.
Mr Cummins was given a sculpture of the Children of Lir as part of his award.
He has also been nominated for the President’s Distinguished Services award in 2014 and 2015.
Mr Cummins formerly played in goals for Shamrock Rovers and Ireland.