Saturday 21 April 2018

Chamber honours US philanthropist

James O’Connor, President of the American Chamber, presents the Kennedy-Lemass Medal to Loretta Brennan Glucksman
James O’Connor, President of the American Chamber, presents the Kennedy-Lemass Medal to Loretta Brennan Glucksman

Dearbhail McDonald Group Business Editor

LORETTA Brennan Glucksman, the prominent Irish-American philanthropist, has become the second recipient of the Kennedy-Lemass medal.

The medal honours a US leader of Irish heritage who has helped strengthen the Irish-US relationship.

Ms Brennan Glucksman, Chairman Emeritus of the Ireland Funds, was awarded the medal for her outstanding contribution to US-Ireland relations by the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland at its annual Independence Day lunch in Dublin this afternoon.

More than 700 people attended the ceremony.

Dignitaries included Reece Smyth, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy, who said that the philanthropic efforts by Ms Brennan Glucksman in the educational and cultural space were “profound”.

Tributes were paid by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who, in a message read out at the ceremony, said: “She has inspired us all and it is very fitting that she should be honoured in this way.”

A message from Anne Anderson, outgoing Irish Ambassador to the US, was also read out.

She described Ms Brennan Glucksman as a “towering figure in Irish America”.

Ms Brennan Glucksman, who attended the ceremony with her daughter Kate and son John, said she was “overwhelmed” by the award.

She paid tribute to her close friends, broadcaster Gay Byrne and his wife Kathleen Watkins, who also attended.

During her 18-year tenure as Chairwoman of the American Ireland Fund, Ms Brennan Glucksman oversaw contributions of over €300m – of some more than €500m raised to date – in support of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community development on the island of Ireland.

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