Vice-Chair of the Congressional Friends of Ireland Caucus Congressman Tim Murphy was honored along with the Chair, Congressman Richard Neal, at an awards ceremony in Washington last night, where they received the Flax Trust Award for their support of the Northern Ireland peace process.
"As a world-renowned Irish charity with Pittsburgh ties, the Flax Trust has been a bridge-builder, and a beacon of hope for the peace process in Northern Ireland," said Congressman Murphy. "Through rebuilding communities, encouraging enterprise, and harnessing religious and political understanding, the Trust has been an invaluable part of engaging a dialogue of peace, and diluting tensions. The spirit of community development and the growth of business and education are the foundations of a peaceful society, the building blocks for identity. For thirty-three years, the Flax Trust has made rhetoric into reality funding construction and development projects in the North and along Border Counties, and I am honored to receive this award."
The Trust's efforts include creating business centers in Belfast, business schools, affordable housing developments, a community television station, a cultural center that includes the Pittsburgh Bar & Steelers Restaurant which was inspired by the work Dan and Art Rooney II have done with the Trust.
The Wednesday evening ceremony was attended by Ireland Ambassador to the United States Michael Collins, former Speaker of the House Tom Foley, and PBS Newshour pundit Mark Shields. Rep. Murphy was presented the award by former New York Congressman and former Co-Chair of the Friends of Ireland Caucus James Walsh.
Congressman Murphy has been a leading voice for peace in Northern Ireland, meeting with leaders of all the major parties of Northern Ireland. Murphy has participated in four official Congressional Delegation visits to Great Britain, Ireland, and Northern Ireland to work on achieving peace in the region. Murphy is also a member of Division 32 of Ancient Order of Hibernians, and has hosted public meetings in Pittsburgh on Irish issues including a visit from the Irish Ambassador.