Keating received the award for his contribution to the development of the cooperation between Ireland and Bulgaria.
"Through the past five years my wife and I travelled in the country a lot, and we got to know the friendliness and the hospitality of the Bulgarians. We started many friendships. We will certainly come back every time we have the chance."
Geoffrey Keating was the first ever resident Irish ambassador to Bulgaria. He also acted as a non-resident ambassador to Georgia and Armenia. During his term Ireland emerged as one of the top 15 foreign investors in Bulgaria.