Singer Dana receives Papal honour at Catholic ceremony in Galway

Singer and former MEP Dana Rosemary Scallon has been conferred with a Papal honour, in recognition of her service to the Catholic Church.

The Derry born entertainer was formally made a Dame of the Order of Saint Gregory, at a ceremony in Baile Chláir, Co Galway.

The award is given by Pope Francis, following a detailed nomination process.

Less than 100 others living in Ireland have been similarly honoured, with Dana becoming only the 14th Dame to be conferred in Ireland, after her investiture.

Bishop of Galway and Clonfert Michael Duignan, was the chief celebrant at this evening’s mass, during which he conferred the honour.

In his homily he said that it recognised a lifetime of “faith filled service” to the Catholic Church by the 72-year-old.

Bishop Duignan said this was no easy task, in an Ireland that “tends to relegate faith to the margins of life”.

The singer said she was humbled to receive the award, which she wanted to share with many people who had inspired and supported her through her life.

She made particular reference to her mother, describing her as an “incredible woman”.

Now living in Co Galway, Dana was Ireland’s first Eurovision Song Contest winner in 1971.

She contested Presidential elections in 1997 and 2011 as an Independent candidate, and served a five year term as an MEP for the former Connacht / Ulster constituency between 1999 and 2004.

The Order, of which she’s been made a Dame, was established by Pope Gregory XVI, to acknowledge “personal character, reputation and notable accomplishment” on behalf of the church and society, regardless of the recipient’s religious affiliation.