Liam Neeson presented with Distinguished Service Award from Áras an Uachtaráin

The awards highlight work by Irish people abroad

Liam Neeson presented with Distinguished Service Award from Áras an Uachtaráin

Liam Neeson and President Michael D Higgins are pictured as he is awarded The Presidential Distinguished Service Awards for the Irish Abroad at Áras an Uachtaráin | Image: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

Irish actor Liam Neeson has been presented with the Presidential Distinguished Service Award.

The awards highlight "outstanding work" by Irish people living overseas across a range of areas - from sport to science, charity or community support.

The 'Taken' star received his award on Friday from President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Áras an Uachtaráin says this is for his work helping to raise the profile Irish artists around the world, his strong personal support for a variety of initiatives to promote tourism to Ireland and his work with UNICEF.

The awards were formally presented at a ceremony on November 30th, but Mr Neeson was not able to attend that day.

The citation for his award reads: "As an extremely gifted and internationally renowned film actor, Liam Neeson has helped to raise Ireland’s profile and awareness of Ireland and Irish artists around the world, especially in the United States where he is based.

Liam Neeson and President Michael D Higgins are pictured as he is awarded The Presidential Distinguished Service Awards for the Irish Abroad at Áras an Uachtaráin | Image: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

"He is a strong supporter of the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, where he started his career, and the Irish Arts Centre in New York, where he currently lives.

"He has given his strong support in recent years for Irish cultural projects, including for the 2016 commemorations and his central involvement in the highly successful Notre Dame University documentary on the 1916 Rising.

"Liam has also provided strong personal support for a variety of initiatives to promote tourism to Ireland.

"Liam Neeson is also an excellent advocate for highlighting the leading role that Ireland plays in development aid and human rights worldwide, especially through his longstanding work with UNICEF as National Ambassador since 1997."

It says he has also been supporting UNICEF’s 'Believe in Zero' Campaign in Ireland and the United States - which highlights the plight of the eight million children who die before their fifth birthday every year.

Listen to President Higgins remarks below:

Two years ago, President Higgins also presented Liam Neeson with the IFTA Outstanding Contribution To Cinema Award - where the president praised his ‘very particular set of skills'.