Additional awardees went above and beyond the call of duty following Hurricane Sandy

New York, NY- City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Council Members honored actor Liam Neeson during a celebration of Irish Heritage and Culture at City Hall. Speaker Quinn presented Neeson with the Thomas Manton Irish Man of the Year Award for his distinguished contributions to the arts, his humanitarian efforts and his exemplary representation of the Irish community.

The Council also honored New York City Sanitation Department Deputy Chief James McGovern, Peter J.F. Meijer of Team Rubicon and Emerald Isle Immigration Center Executive Director Siobhan Dennehy for their efforts to help the city recover from Hurricane Sandy.

Speaker Quinn said:

“Tonight’s honorees are exceptional New Yorkers who each in their own way exemplify the values of the Irish community across the five boroughs. Liam Neeson is not only one of the world’s leading actors, he continues to give back to his community. For more than a decade, Liam has been a stalwart supporter of a cause close to my heart, the Irish Arts Center – an arts and cultural center dedicated to projecting a dynamic image of Ireland and Irish America. It is also my pleasure to honor three local heroes who went above and beyond the call of duty during and after Hurricane Sandy. These New Yorkers responded with remarkable courage and generosity – honoring them is a small way to show our deep gratitude for all that they’ve done to help New York City recover from Sandy.”

• Following Hurricane Sandy, Sanitation Department Deputy Chief Jim McGovern was given the arduous task to lead cleanup efforts in the Rockaways. Along with a dedicated team of Sanitation Department staff, Deputy Chief McGovern worked diligently day and night to help victims hardest hit by the storm and removed tons of debris. Deputy Chief McGovern and his colleagues continue every day to help keep New York City clean and liveable.

• Peter Mejier and Team Rubicon sprang into action to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Launched as a service project following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti by two former Marines, Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams worldwide. Before Hurricane Sandy even hit, Team Rubicon was out scouting the region for possible trouble spots and within days, the first teams were assessing damage and delivering aid to storm victims.

• As Executive Director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, Siobhan Dennehy mobilized the Irish community to lend a hand in places like the Rockaways during the Irish Days of Action in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Since joining the Center over 10 years ago, Ms. Dennehy has expanded essential services, including mental health counseling, food assistance and ESL classes. The Emerald Isle Immigration Center is a true model of a quality immigration and social services agency.

Guests and honorees also enjoyed a special performance by the Cast of Once, the Tony and Grammy Award Winning Broadway Musical.