Bernadette Kelly Di Giorgi, volunteer with the Irish Tourist Assistance Service, ITAS, is honoured for her dedicated support to Guido Nasi, the young Italian student who was assaulted in Ireland in 1999


During an official ceremony which took place today, H.E. Paolo Serpi, Ambassador of Italy to Ireland, conferred the decoration of “Cavaliere” (Knight) “Ordine della Stella d’Italia” (Order of the Star of Italy) on Bernadette Kelly Di Giorgi, which was bestowed upon her by the President of the Republic of Italy.


Bernadette received the award in recognition of the assistance she provides to Italian tourists in her role as volunteer with ITAS and in particular for her tireless and dedicated support to Guido Nasi and his mother Simonetta, when the then 17year old Italian was the victim of an assault in 1999, which left him requiring 24hour care. Guido has returned to Ireland a number of times since the incident but most recently in 2019, when he, his mother Simonetta and Bernadette met President Higgins at a special event in Áras an Uachtaráin, to mark ITAS’ 25th anniversary.


After the ceremony Bernadette said, “I am very honoured and proud to receive this award for my work helping Italian tourists and in particular for my support to Guido Nasi and his mother. What happened to Guido is every parent’s nightmare and to have a support structure like ITAS in place to help tourists and their families in times of trauma can make a world of difference. The volunteers in my branch helped me enormously during this time and I would like to thank them for their ongoing support and friendship”.


Lisa Kennedy, CEO of ITAS said “we are delighted that Bernadette has been recognised for her contribution assisting Italian tourists as a volunteer with ITAS and specifically for her enduring support to Guido. This is the third award associated with the Service. Bernard Lavelle, former Manager, received a similar “Cavaliere” award in 2008 and Ann Meade, founding member was awarded an MBE in 2004. These awards are a positive reflection on ITAS and the many people and organisations involved with it”.


ITAS, set up in 1994, offers support and practical assistance to international visitors who experience crime and other trauma while visiting Ireland and works with the Gardaí, embassies and tourism industry to offer an immediate and comprehensive response. ITAS is the only dedicated Service in Europe to offer this specialist support and has assisted over 18,000 tourists from 110 countries around the world. The support provided by ITAS enables on average 9 out of 10 tourists to continue their holiday.


For further information contact:

Lisa Kennedy, Irish Tourist Assistance Service

Tel: 01-661 0562; Mob: 087-6717821

Bernadette Kelly, ITAS Volunteer: 086-2076552

About the Award:


“Ordine della Stella d’Italia” (Order of the Star of Italy) was established with Law n. 13 dated 3 February 2011 (Official Bullentin n. 49 of 01.03.2011) which updated the denomination, aims and classes of the “Stella della Solidarieta’ Italiana”. The new denomination of “Ordine della Stella d’Italia” responds to the changes which have occurred since the second World War when the Order was established to honour Italians abroad or foreigners who helped in the reconstruction of Italy. The Decoration is conferred by the President of the Italian Republic, at the proposal of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in consultation with the Council of the Order. It is presided by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Council is composed of another four members one of whom is, by rights, the Head of Protocol of the Italian Republic. The order is conferred on Italian citizens abroad and on foreign citizens who have contributed significantly to the prestige of Italy, undertaking a primary role in the promotion of relations of friendship and collaboration between Italy and other Countries and in the promotion of Italian culture, in the teaching of Italian, in supporting voluntary, humanitarian and health associations, in intensifying the relations with the Italian communities in the world. The President of the Italian Republic establishes the number of annual concessions of this decoration with a relevant Decree. This Order has five grades (from the highest): “Cavaliere di Gran Croce”, “Grand’Ufficiale” “Commendatore” “Ufficiale”, “Cavaliere”.