The London Irish Centre is delighted that Patron, Dermot O’Leary, has been awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad for 2020. 

Dermot’s contribution to charity has earned him his place as one of fourteen recipients of this year’s Awards, which recognises the contribution made by the Irish diaspora.

On receiving the Award, Dermot said: 

"As the proud child of Irish immigrants, to be recognised and honoured in such a way by the country they call home and I call my homeland is a deeply humbling experience. But much like many of my generation I owe a debt to those that came before us, those who endured both great hardship and at times prejudice to make a living for their families and contribute to making Great Britain the vibrant, and richly cultured nation it is today.

So, by accepting this award, I do so on behalf of the London Irish Centre and the incredible work they do in London, both culturally and for a community that relies on them now more than ever. This is their award and I'm honoured to share it with them. Go raibh maith agat.

Dermot has been a huge support of the work of the London Irish Centre for many years, from hosting major fundraising events to making home visits to clients. He has been involved across the entirety of the organisation.  

Ellen Ryan, CEO of the London Irish Centre, said: 

“We are delighted that Dermot has been awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad for 2020. This award is richly deserved and we are all feeling incredibly proud of him here today at the London Irish Centre. We are so honoured to have Dermot as our Patron. He brings all the best of our values to his work with us and support to those who need it most, particularly in these challenging times. He has not forgotten his ancestral route here and is a great supporter of our culture and heritage programmes.

On a more personal note, he is a truly wonderful human being to work with. He knows our community; he takes the time to meet with them; he visits older, lonely people at home and brings a smile to their faces; he raises funds for us; he knows us. He walks the talk in every way.

Well done Dermot”.

Rosaleen Blair CBE, Chair of the London Irish Centre, said: 

“We congratulate Dermot on receiving the Presidential Distinguished Service Award. We are delighted for him and his family. Dermot is a testament to what a patron should be: hands-on, supportive and passionate. He is an integral part of the London Irish Centre, which continues to give a taste of home to the Irish population in London. We are very grateful for all he does. Long may he continue his positive and powerful work as an ambassador for our Centre and the Irish in London”.

The London Irish Centre would also like to send their congratulations to the family of the late Alice Kennedy, a dear friend of the Centre, who has been recognised for her decades of work with the Irish in London.