The Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad is presented by the Irish president every year. It recognizes the service given to Ireland or to Irish communities abroad by those who live outside Ireland. Lahey was honored for his work in business and education.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity once again this year to formally recognize the achievements of some of the finest members of our global family, our diaspora,” Coveney said. “The diverse contributions of these individuals extends across six different categories. Through their work, they contribute to building an invaluably positive image of Ireland and Irish people around the world.”
Lahey, who retired in June after 31 years as Quinnipiac’s president, was feted for his contributions, including developing Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University, which is home to the largest collection of Famine-era material, and facilitating the loan of the museum’s collection for exhibition in 2018 in Dublin, Cork and Derry. In addition, he was honored for his impact as chairman of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City — Lahey was instrumental in allowing LGBTQ groups to march in the parade for the first time — and for his support of education for Irish-Americans at Quinnipiac.