IRISH playwright and author Frank McGuinness has been honoured in his hometown for his contribution to Irish literature and culture.
Earlier this month McGuinness was awarded the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award at a ceremony held in Buncrana, Co. Donegal.
“Professor Frank McGuinness is one of Ireland’s greatest living playwrights” said Councillor Nicholas Crossan, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, on the night.
He added: “Frank’s success with plays such as The Factory Girls, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me and Dolly West's Kitchen speaks for itself and we are delighted to have him here with us this evening to receive this award.”
While accepting his award, the playwright thanked his family, friends and his beloved county for providing “constant inspiration”.
Since 2012 the Tip O’Neill award has been presented annually to a member of the Irish diaspora in recognition of their achievements in their chosen field.
It is named after the US politician Tip O’Neil - one of the most prominent of his era, whose maternal grandparents hailed from Buncrana and Clonmany in Donegal.
Describing the late Tip O’Neill as “a complex and high achieving benevolent man” of “great eloquence” McGuinness claimed “kindness was at the root of all that Tip O’Neill did, it was also at the root of the greatest Irish man of my generation and as far as I am concerned of the 20th century John Hume".
He added: “In his glorious, unending, courageous, rough, terrifying fight to obtain justice for all in society not just for the few, I think John was inspired by the actions and behaviour and dreams of the greatest man of the 20th Century Martin Luther King.
“I thank John, I thank Martin Luther King, I thank Tip O’Neill for passing on to me and to other generations that necessity to dream, to believe we can create a better world, a happier world and a world with more light.
"So, all of those men were creatures of light and the three men that stand with me tonight to receive this award are gentlemen of light.”
Other award recipients on the night were the London-based developer Pat Doherty, US based-lawyer Patrick Dunican and US-based businessman Daniel Hilferty.
Tom O’Neill, son of the late Tip O’Neill, added that McGuinness “captures the very soul and spirit of what it is to be Irish - what it is to be an Irish man, what it is to be an Irish woman”.
He explained: “He has been read and witnessed by tens of thousands of people here and abroad and he carries with him the impact of what it means to be a true Irish man.”