Last night, Thur. 9th June 2011, before an attendance which included representatives from all strands of maritime life in Cork, Gradam Meitheal Mara was presented to Tom MacSweeney. Quoting from the citation, Cathy Buchanan of Meitheal Mara referred to Tom’s lifetime of work and commitment to the maritime in Ireland; his reporting on television, radio and print covering all aspects of this vital but undervalued sector of Irish life; the quality of his research; his courageous advocacy of more far-seeing policies for the marine; his past achievements and his continuing work on behalf of all who go down to the sea in ships.
In a wide-ranging and eloquent reply Tom spoke of his vision of Ireland as the last island of Europe in a world named ‘Earth’ but which consist mainly of water and of the neglect of the our potential as an island nation by politicians and others whom he envisaged as standing on the sea-shore, facing inland, with their backs to the sea. He called for more enlightened policies and hioghlighted the need for persistence by those interested in a maritime future for Ireland.