A BALLYMENA man who is a member of classical music group ‘The Priests’ is among those recognised in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours.
The Very Reverend David Delargy, who is a clergyman in the Newtownabbey area, has been recognised ‘for services to music and charity in Northern Ireland’.
The two other members of ‘The Priests’ – Rev Eugene O’Hagan and Rev Martin O’Hagan – have also been honoured.
The trio have been singing together since they boarded in the 1970s as students at the then St MacNissi’s College, Garron Tower.
Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, said: “These awards, both individually and collectively, pay tribute to the well-deserved contribution of these priests to their respective fields of ministry, pastoral care and the wider community and also to the outreach and role of the Church within society.
“‘The Priests’, who have nurtured their wonderful gifts and talent for music from their early days together as students in St MacNissi’s, Garron Tower, through their period of priestly formation in seminary, and in subsequent years alongside their priestly ministry within the Diocese of Down and Connor, have become known across the world for their harmonious singing.
“Music, the Arts and Culture enable us to transcend and engage with and celebrate the mystery and beauty of life.
“These three priests have been given a platform to reach out to and inspire diverse audiences and communities across the globe, from all faiths and traditions, united in their common love of music.
“The honour that they have received pays particular tribute to their generous charity work effected and realised through the ‘Priests Charitable Trust’ as they continue to reach out in support to those in need.”
Others with local links who are on the honours list include Alastair Hamilton for his work as Chief Executive Officer Invest NI ‘for services to economic development in Northern Ireland’.
Nine-time world champion Michael McKillop was awarded an MBE for services to disability awareness and athletics in Northern Ireland.
Wilma Erskine, who has links to Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort and is well-known for her years of service as Club Secretary at Royal Portrush Golf Club, has been honoured ‘for services to tourism and golf in Northern Ireland’
Dr Tony Stevens – Chief Executive of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust – has been rewarded ‘for services to health and social care in Northern Ireland’.
Alan Ross has been honoured ‘for services to the community in Ballymena’.
Councillor Paul Michael had received recognition ‘for services to Local Government in Antrim and Newtownabbey’.
Others with local links are Cheryl Lamont, from Clough, the Chief Executive of the NI Probation Board.
Also receiving an award is Ian McIlrath, past president of the Irish Rugby Football Union.