History of the Irishman/Irishwoman of the Year Dinner
Since its inception and reorganization, the Grand Council of United Emerald Societies presents an award of accomplishment to an outstanding Irish American who made their mark in their field of endeavor.
In making the selection each year, the Grand Council feels inspired and proud that each award recipient is a proud American of Irish descent who has distinguished themselves by their leadership and dedication.
It’s no coincidence that Five of our honorees (Connie Doolan, Dorthy Hayden Cudahy, John Lawe, Bill Burke, and Ed Sheerin) were elected as the Grand Marshal over 15 years from 1975 thru 1990.
The Irishman/Irishwoman of the Year Dinner was usually held in November and several venues have been used since 1975: Leonards of Great Neck, Astoria Manor, Antuns, Durows.
In 2008, Past President Brian J. Sharkey spearheaded the Irishman/Irishwoman Dinner revival. Sharkey proposed that the Award dinner take place in December at Antuns. The Dinner would serve a dual purpose 1) to recognize the Aide to the Grand Marshal as the Irishman/Irishwoman of the Year and 2) Grand Council Delegates Christmas Party.
The Dinner has become part of the Grand Council lexicon and is now a yearly stand-alone event in January.
Recipients of the Irishman/Irishwoman of the Year Award
1975 James P. Moriarty, President- T. Moriarty and Sons Inc.
1976 Joseph Christian, Commissioner, NYC Housing Authority
1977 Denis Hanrahan, Executive Vice President, Aer Lingus Irish Airlines
1978 John Flynn, State Senator, Yonkers’ Irish contribution to Albany
1979 Monica Conway, Vice President, Bank of Ireland & Connie Doolan, Sales Manager, Guinness Harp Corp
1980 Ens Lanagan, Eastern Manager, CIE Tours & Jack Donohue, Donohue Restaurant and Pub chain
1981 Jerry Toner, Restauranteur, and Pub owner, Kennedy’s Pub & Dympna Kenny, Banking Executive, and Offlay’s First Lady
1982 Hal Madden, Irish Industrialist – Transit Mix Concrete Corp & Bridie McManus, Noted Restauranteur and Travel Agent
1983 Jack McCarthy, Telecaster, NYC Saint Patrick’s Day Parade & Mary O’Dowd, Noted Irish American Entertainer
1984 Brother John G. Driscoll, President, Iona College & Dorthy Hayden Cudahy, Radio Personality
1985 Paschal McGuinness, President, NYC District Council of Carpenters
1986 Anna Monahan McElroy, Director of Housekeeping, New York Hilton & John Lawe, International President of Transport Workers Union of America
1987 William Joseph Burke, Senior Vice President, Bank of Ireland
1988 Barbara Kane O’Neill, Outstanding Catholic Laywoman and Patron of Irish Culture
1989 Edward A. Sheeran, VP, Chase Bank, Queens Branch Network
1990 Joseph B. Buckley, Prop of Katie Daly’s Restaurant, Massapequa, NY
1991 James J. Boyle, President, UFA of Greater New York
1992 Patrick Harvey, Business Agent, Local 608
1993 Rosemary Lombard, Treasurer, NYC Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee & Terry Connaughton, Prop, Riverdale Steakhouse
1995 Mary & Francis P. Beirne, Outstanding Catholic Laywoman, Past Chairman, Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee
1996 Judge Peter J. O’Donoghue, Past President, Saint Patrick’s Society
1997 Bob Burke, Chairman, Queens Surface Corporation
1998 ????, Justice, Suffolk County Court
2000 Msgr. Thomas P. Leonard, Irishman of the Year
Honorable Mario R. Biaggi, President’s Award
Dinner held at Durow’s of Glendale, NY
2001 No Honoree
2003 Eamon Donohoe, Retired NYPD Sgt and Prop of The Saloon and The INN, Long Beach, NY
Irishman/woman of the Year and Aide to the Grand Marshal
2009 Denis Mulchay, NYPD ES and Chairman, Project Children
2010 Bernard Sullivan, DSNY ES
2011 Frank Beirne, FDNY ES
2012 William Fitzpatrick, WCFF ES
2013 Robert J. Creighton, SCPD ES
2014 Edwin Day, Rockland County Executive
2015 Thomas Doyle, DSNY ES
2016 Keith Lavalle, NCPES
2017 Brian Coughlan, NYPD ES
2018 Dr. Kathleen Cashin, NYCDOE ES
2019 Thomas B. Farrell, NYCD ES and Legislative Chairman, NYC COBA
2020-2021 Edward P. Boles, FDNY ES
2024 Honorable Edward T. Cetnar, PAPD ES