Author Sebastian Barry among those to receive honorary degrees from NUI Galway

Top Irish author Sebastian Barry will receive an honorary degree from NUI Galway next month, the university has announced.

The award-winning author will be one of four people to receive the honour. Journalist Maureen Dowd, businessman Irial Finan, and Canadian MP James Flaherty will also be honoured at the ceremony which takes place on June 29.

President of the university, Dr Jim Browne, said the four receipents were deserving of recognition from NUI Galway.

“NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group,” he said.

“Each one has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of literature, journalism, business, public administration and government. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals.”

Dublin-born Sebastian Barry has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize for two of his novels; A Long, Long Way and The Secret Scripture. His most recent novel, On Canaan’s Side, was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize and the Irish Book Awards, as well as being longlisted for the Booker. He has written 12 plays and his work has been translated into more than 35 languages. He will receive an honorary doctorate degree in literature from NUI Galway.

American journalist Maureen Dowd is well-known for her witty and acerbic observations on American politics. She won the Pulitzer prize in 1999 for her commentary on the Clinton impeachment scandal, and currently writes for the The New York Times. She is the author of two bestselling books; Bushworld: Enter at Your Own Risk and Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide. She will also receive a degree of doctor of literature.

Executive vice president of Coca Cola, Irial Finan, will be conferred with a degree of doctor of laws. Mr Finan has nearly 30 years’ experience in the Coca Cola system of production, and he is president of Bottling Investments Group, which manages the a multi-billion dollar bottling business operating in four continents. In the 1990s Mr Finan was managing director of Coca Cola Bottlers Ulster Ltd and finance director of Coca Cola Bottlers Ireland Ltd. The Roscommon native holds a bachelor of commerce degree from NUI Galway.

James Flaherty PC, MP, will also receive a doctor of laws degree. He currently serves as Canada’s Minister for Finance and is a governor of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. A third-term MP for the Whitby-Oshawa area of Ontario, Mr Flaherty was recently named as Finance Minister of the Year by Euromoney magazine. He practised law for more than 20 years before being elected to public office.

The four will join the ranks of distinguished honorary alumni such as Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Anjelica Huston, and Fionnula Flanagan.

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