Pictured with the Kennedy-Lemass Medal, the wife and son of the late Dr. Pearse Lyons, Deirdre Lyons and Dr. Mark Lyons.
Late Irish-American entrepreneur and scientist Dr Pearse Lyons awarded the 2018 Kennedy-Lemass Medal
Wednesday, 4 July 2018:
Celebrating the collaboration, experience, expertise, talent, and passion that makes the US-Ireland relationship so unique, the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland marked Independence Day 2018 with six hundred members of the Ireland-US business community attending the annual 4th
of July lunch at Dublin’s Clayton Hotel.
Welcoming Minister Paschal Donohoe TD and assembled guests to the event, Barry O'Sullivan, President of the American Chamber of Commerce announced the late Irish-American entrepreneur and scientist, Dr Pearse Lyons, as this year’s recipient of the Kennedy-Lemass Medal. The award honours US leaders of Irish heritage who have helped to strengthen the Irish-US relationship.
In the late 1970s Dundalk born Dr Lyons emigrated to the United States, where in his Kentucky garage he established his company Alltech with an initial investment of $10,000. Focused on improving animal, crop and human health and performance, Alltech today has a global team of more than 6,000 people. In Ireland, Alltech has its European Bioscience Centre in Dunboyne, Co. Meath, and the Pearse Lyons distillery in the Liberties, Co. Dublin.
During his lifetime Dr Lyons was awarded many honours, including the Ireland-U.S. Council Award for Outstanding Achievement and the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal in recognition of the creation of a global business based on scientific research. Dr Lyons also received the RDS Gold Medal Award for Enterprise for his contribution to Irish business.
Speaking about his achievements, Barry O'Sullivan described Dr Lyons as someone who “truly lived the American Dream,” and that, “we will continue to be inspired by the legacy of individuals such as Dr Lyons who had the courage and skills to turn a vision into a reality.”
The American Chamber of Commerce Ireland President also spoke about the importance the US-Irish relationship in the current global political and economic environment.
“From Brexit to cyber security, there are a number of external risks which make Ireland’s relationship with the US more important than ever.”
In the context of Ireland acting on a global stage, he commented on the importance of the country thinking ahead and planning for the future by focusing on innovation, inclusion, and international collaboration.
“One of the greatest strategic decisions Ireland has ever taken was to open our economy and innovate our way to prosperity. Ireland’s support for R&D is today helping businesses around the country to grow, demonstrating the continued commitment to an environment that encourages innovation.
“Ireland has also outpaced better resourced international competitors by welcoming people, capital and best-practice technology from overseas, demonstrating that inclusion is essential for progress. To sustain our Irish Advantage, all hearts and minds are needed, so that together we can be the best we can be. This means realising our full STEM potential for both males and females while also building capability in disadvantaged communities.
“The other area that is critical to our continued competitiveness is investment. Ireland needs Dublin to be a city of global importance and Dublin needs investment in its infrastructure. Balanced regional development is also key to a sustainable Capital and a sustainable Ireland, but for this to happen the National Planning Framework must be implemented now with the greatest speed.
“Let’s make bold choices for the common good and drive on without delay.”
Minister Donohoe said that it is his “great pleasure to be able to mark Independence Day at the American Chamber event with so many leaders of US owned companies based here. I am delighted that Ireland has been successful as a location of choice for so many US companies. This is a testimony to consistent investment by successive Governments in realising the strong potential of the Irish people and a competitive open business friendly environment”.
He also said that he is “honoured to be asked to present the Award in recognition of Dr Lyons’ achievements”, who he described as “a great Irishman who embodied the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit which I believe is inherent in Ireland and which this Government works hard to encourage and foster amongst our people.Dr Lyons’ achievements are an example and inspiration to others, not least among his own family, who are continuing on his legacy in driving Alltech to new heights”
Dr. Mark Lyons, President of Alltech and son of Dr Pearse Lyons said:
“My father was passionate about Ireland and the United States and spent his life promoting both countries around the world. He had an extraordinary ability to bring people from all walks of life together to make a difference in the world, this was especially true when it came to cultivating and supporting scientific, ag tech and agricultural endeavours between both countries,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, president of Alltech.
Independence Day Highlights
Barry O'Sullivan Speech
Minister Paschal Donohoe Speech