Golfer Paul McGinley has been awarded the Freedom of Donegal at a civic reception in the county this afternoon.

Born in Dublin, Mr McGinley has strong roots in Donegal. Both his parents were born in the county, his father Mick is from Dunfanaghy and his mother Julia is from Rathmullan.

The award, the highest which can be given by Donegal County Council, was made at a special function at the Rosapenna Hotel in Downings where the Irish Legends Golf Tour begins tomorrow.

The award to Mr McGinley was made "in recognition of his golf achievements on the European and PGA Tour, his winning captaincy of the 2014 Ryder Cup Team and his enormous contribution in promoting Donegal as a golfing destination".

Mr McGinley said it means an awful lot to him to receive the award because Donegal is in his DNA and he said he spent so much of his childhood and holidays in the county.

"I'm coming here for as long as I can remember and I’m proud to promote it as a great golf destination," he said.

Mr McGinley said his world is golf and he knows how it can benefit a region and he hopes to help shine a spotlight on Donegal in the next few years.

Councillor Ciaran Brogan had proposed a motion last October to give Mr McGinley the honour and it was passed unanimously by Donegal County Council.

He is the tenth person to receive the award and Mr Brogan said Mr McGinley follows in the footsteps of other greats like Packie Bonner and Daniel O’Donnell, all of whom have done great things for the county. He said they all give people a great lift and deserve to be recognised for what they do.

The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Liam Blaney, said that Mr McGinley is known for his love of Donegal and its golf courses and has been unstinting in his support to the county including supporting the development of the golfing sector there.

In particular, he said Mr McGinley was instrumental in bringing both the Irish Open and the Irish Legends events to the county in recent years.

The CEO of Donegal County Council, John McLaughlin, said Mr McGinley has been a great ambassador for the county and his promotion of it as a golf destination fits in with the council's goal for the development of the wider economy there.