On Tuesday February 25, the St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke announced that the 29th recipient of the Ambassador Award is Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of the City of Boston. The Ambassador Award is presented to a person or group who has worked to promote the relationship between the people of Ireland and the people of the United States. Past recipients include: entertainer, Tommy Makem; author Frank McCourt; philanthropist, Loretta Brennan Glucksman; and editor-in-chief and co-founder of Irish America, Patricia Harty. The 2019 recipient was Dr. Christopher Fox, Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame and co-founder of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies.

Today’s announcement was made in the Eagle Room at Boston City Hall with the Mayor and members of the Parade Committee in attendance. The Committee was especially honored that the Ambassador of Ireland to the United States, Dan Mulhall and the Consul General of Ireland, Laoise Moore, attended the announcement. Ambassador Mulhall spoke about the importance of Americans who celebrate their Irish heritage and the significant benefits this brings to the United States and Ireland. Connecting culturally significant cities like Holyoke and Boston, he remarked, only helps the Commonwealth and he was honored to be a part of this presentation.

Parade President, Marc Joyce, said “The St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke takes great pleasure in traveling to Boston to announce the selection of Mayor Martin J. Walsh as the recipient of the 2020 Ambassador Award. Mayor Walsh joins a distinguished list of past recipients, some of whom, like him, have significant ties to the City of Boston and the Commonwealth. Our Committee looks forward to welcoming Mayor Walsh to Holyoke when he will be honored at the Ambassador’s Breakfast.”

“I want to thank Ambassador Mulhall and the Holyoke Parade organizers for this honor that is an affirmation of our relationship with Ireland, the values we share, and the work we’ve done together,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “For me, the Ambassador Award affirms our values of welcoming and supporting immigrants and celebrating our cultures. I thank the people of Holyoke and the Parade organizers for living by these values and creating this opportunity to show that commitment, and I look forward to wishing everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day in Holyoke on March 22.”

The 54th Mayor of the City of Boston, Martin J. Walsh was born and raised in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston to Irish immigrant parents. Since his youth, he has often visited Rosmuc, Connemara, the source of his deep Irish roots. In 2014 he formally committed Boston to a sister-city relationship with Belfast. This has resulted in outcomes such as the Cinemagic program, which that last year saw 10 young people from Northern Ireland produce a short film about life inside the Boston Public Schools. Mayor Walsh has been a powerful advocate for Irish-American business relations and navigation of a resolution of Brexit that preserves peace and prosperity.

Mayor Walsh is the recipient of numerous recognitions and honors in Ireland, including in 2018 Galway City’s “Freedom of The City Award” and honored as a “Freeman of County Galway”, bestowed upon visiting dignitaries, celebrities and valued members of the community.

Martin J. Walsh is a lifelong champion of working people and a proud product of the City of Boston. Mayor Walsh’s vision is of a thriving, healthy, and innovative Boston — a City with equality and opportunity for all, where a revolutionary history inspires creative solutions to the challenges of the 21st century.

Before taking office, Mayor Walsh served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he was a leader on job creation and worker protections; substance abuse, mental health, and homelessness; K-12 education; and civil rights. Mayor Walsh also made his mark as a labor leader. After following his father into Laborers Local 223 in Boston, he rose to head the Building and Construction Trades Council from 2011 to 2013. He worked with business and community leaders to promote high-quality development, and he created a program called Building Pathways that has become a model for increasing diversity in the workplace and providing good career opportunities for women and people of color.

As a child, Mayor Walsh survived a serious bout of Burkitt lymphoma thanks to the extraordinary care he received at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. His recovery from alcoholism as a young adult led to his lifelong commitment to the prevention and treatment of addiction. And while working full-time as a legislator, he returned to school to earn a degree in Political Science at Boston College. Mayor Walsh continues to reside in Dorchester, where he shares his life with longtime partner Lorrie Higgins.

Mayor Walsh will be honored at the Ambassador’s Breakfast the morning of the Parade on Sunday, March 22 at the Holyoke Senior Center. To purchase tickets, please contact Jacki Reardon at

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