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Limerick man honoured as part of British queen's platinum jubilee celebrations


A LIMERICK man has been awarded a top honour as part of the British queen's platinum jubilee celebrations.

David Quinn, who hails from Castletroy and now lives south of London, has been made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for his work with Crown Agents, an international development company.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, he led a programme which saw vaccinations and other aid delivered to British Overseas Territories worldwide.

Among these are some of the most remote places on earth, including St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, which lie up to 3,000 kilometres away from mainland Africa in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Mr Quinn, the humanitarian director of the agency, said his reaction upon hearing he had received an MBE as one of "shock".

"I was very humbled," he admitted, "If you look at the list of other people who have received awards, you don't feel you have a place in there."

An MBE is the third highest ranking order of the British Empire award, and is given to someone for making a positive impact in their line of work.

Ed Sheeran, who played two nights at Thomond Park last month, holds the title.

Mr Quinn moved to England during the height of the recession a decade ago, having studied at Sexton Street CBS, Mary Immaculate College and the University of Limerick.

He has been tasked with leading humanitarian responses in Syria, Phillippines and Libya before aiding the British Overseas Territories during the pandemic.

Speaking this Friday, he revealed he actually heard a number of weeks ago he would receive the honour, but was asked to keep it under wraps until the official announcement, which took place on Wednesday.

He will enjoy a trip to London's Buckingham Palace, which is the administrative headquarters of Queen Elizabeth II shortly to be formally be presented with the honour which is being bestowed for services to the global Covid-19 response.

"We kept some of the most remote inhabited places on the planet stocked with Covid-19 treatments, facilities and diagnosis requirements and facilitated the vaccination of the populations after. At the best of times, these are difficult places to get to, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, these are tourist dependent economies and there were not any tourists. The flights going in and out had stopped. Most supply chains came out of the USA, and there was a lot of competition at the height of the pandemic, so their traditional supply routes were not functioning," said Mr Quinn.

As a result of this, Crown set up new routes, competed for stock for these nations and created new supply lines.

"It was about solidarity and making sure they were not forgotten and left behind amid the pandemic. If you are living in an isolated part of the world and all of a sudden, all routes have stopped - there was no vessels docking, no flights coming in, no organised transport - you are starting to feel very threatened and worry what the future holds. Our role was to ensure hospitals remained functional," he explained.

Having not been able to travel back to Limerick and Ireland for almost two years during the pandemic, Mr Quinn admits he is now back on these shores on a regular basis, such is the backlog of christenings and weddings he has been invited to,  which were postponed during lockdown.