Singer Tommy Makem has been nominated as a potential inductee into the Irish American Hall of Fame. “Mr. Makem is a pioneer as far as Irish folk music is concerned, and well deserving of this honour if he is to receive it,” said Mike Shelvin, a member of the Irish American Heritage Center’s board of directors.
In order to publicly and nationally recognise Irish American individuals who have accomplished outstanding contributions in the Irish American community, the Irish American Heritage Center based out of Chicago created the hall of fame in 2010.
“Surprisingly enough, there isn’t this type of hall of fame anywhere else in the United States,” said Shelvin. “It’s an idea we had for quite some time, and it’s another attempt to keep alive and further Irish culture.”
According to Mike, residents across the world submitted their nominations via the IAHC’s website (link below). Nominees are then classified into an array of categories, including arts and humanities, business and industry, public service, sports, religion, education, and science.
“It’s a pretty impressive list,” said Shelvin of this year’s nominees, noting that inductees included in last year’s hall of fame included John F. Kennedy and Henry Ford.
Tommy Makem rose to fame when he teamed up with Paddy, Tom and Liam Clancy and recorded dozens of albums as the The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. He died in August 2007 at the age of 74.
Over the next couple of weeks, a group of individuals who represent academia, government and Irish-affiliated organisations from around the USA will decide which nominees are inducted into the hall of fame by using a tiered point scale that takes into consideration their contributions to the Irish American society as well as the category they are nominated under.
Though he said he is unsure at this point in time how many inductees there will be, Mike Shelvin noted there were 11 individuals inducted last year. He stressed that as Tommy Makem is in a very heavily populated category, there will likely be three individuals chosen from the arts and humanities group of nominees.
The 2012 inductees of the Irish American Hall of Fame will be announced on March 1.