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March 18, 2006

Ahern: Irish & UK To Make NI Decisions

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 03/18/06
Governments To Make NI Decisions
BT 03/17/06 Loyalists Claim ‘Devices’ & Threat Issued To Republicans
BB 03/18/06 Delay Scuppers Adams' US Speech
BT 03/18/06 Senator Joe Biden Urges DUP To Share Power
SF 03/18/06 US Politicians Back Adams
BT 03/17/06 Talks With Loyalist Chiefs Urged
BT 03/17/06 £250,000 Facelift For Assembly
BN 03/17/06 Labour: Ahern Not Doing Enough For Illegal Irish In US
LA 03/18/06 ILIR: Irish In U.S. Moving Home
SA 03/17/06 ILIR: Many Irish Are Returning To The Emerald Isle
TJ 03/18/06 ILIR: Yonkers Mayor Wants Illegals Out Of The Shadows
BT 03/18/06 Hain Sparks 'Poison Pit' Housing Row
BT 03/18/06 Unionists In A Flap Over Flags
BT 03/18/06 Dad's Fury At PUP's Police Role
AP 03/18/06 Bush, Irish PM Discuss Northern Ireland, CIA Flights
BT 03/17/06 Opin: Forty Shades Of Green - And Some Of Them Orange
BT 03/17/06 Opin: 'Let's Get Real' About The UUP
DO 03/17/06 Opin: ILIR - Immigration More Complex Than We Admit
FR 03/18/06 Opin: ILIR - Green In The Face
BT 03/18/06 RC Archbishop: St Pat's Message: Respect For All Cultures
IT 03/18/06 Bush Speaks Of American Pride In Irish Heritage
IT 03/18/06 McAleese Speaks Of New Irish Confidence
BT 03/17/06 Triumphant Duddy Claims Top Title
IT 03/18/06 400,000 Turn Out In Chilly Dublin To Enjoy Parade
IT 03/18/06 Lissadell To Get €1.1m State Grant
BJ 03/18/06 Rita O'Connor Foos – Farewell To Ireland Lover
HC 03/18/06 Is The Irish Shamrock A Load Of Blarney? (or is Shawn?)
HC 03/18/06 Houston: Final Toast To KC 40-Year Home Of City's Irish


Governments To Make NI Decisions

The British and Irish governments will take the decisions
on Northern Ireland if NI politicians do not share power,
the Irish foreign minister has said.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Politics programme
Dermot Ahern said London and Dublin would adopt "an
intergovernmental approach".

"It's probably not the preferred option.

"We would far rather people from Northern Ireland have
their hand on the tiller of power," he said.

"But if they decide not to want that, then the two
governments would have to step in and take decisions and
people from Northern Ireland, their representatives,
wouldn't really have any great say in that respect, and
that's unfortunate."

He made his remarks as Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern prepare
to unveil their take it or leave it blueprint for the
political parties.

BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent Martina Purdy
said the Irish foreign minister suggested the stalemate
could not go on indefinitely and the governments would step
in with another plan if the blueprint failed.

"The aim of the blueprint is to restore the assembly, but
with the DUP and Sinn Fein at loggerheads about how it
should operate, its success is far from assured," she said.

The British and Irish prime ministers are to give an
assessment of the political process in Northern Ireland in
about three weeks time.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he and his British counterpart,
Tony Blair, would make a joint statement on the talks.

He was speaking after a meeting with US President George
Bush at the White House on St Patrick's Day.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external
internet sites

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/18 10:18:41 GMT

The Northern Ireland Secretary said the "clock is ticking"
for the suspended Assembly and the time for "opting out"
and politicians arguing among themselves was over.

Mr Hain told a St Patrick's Day function in Washington:
"There are some hard choices going to be faced by all the
politicians this year because there needs to be a moment of
decision made.

"We can't continue with this state of political paralysis
and impasse that we've had for far too long, with an
assembly that hasn't met for nearly four years and with the
whole cost from the taxpayer pouring in to fund that
institution and its members.

"There's got to be a decision made and progress made and we
are determined to do that."

He said President George Bush's message of "get on with it"
was "absolutely right".

Everyone was agreed on the principle of devolution and the
Government was determined to get it up and running, he told

But he added: "We will not be giving any parties in
Northern Ireland any easy choices.

"The time for easy choices and opting out, of not doing
jobs for which people are being paid and the Assembly
sitting there at Stormont costing millions of pounds -
those days are over."

Mr Hain added: "All the parties know that the game is up on
the Assembly sitting idle and the politicians arguing
amongst themselves instead of working together."


Loyalists Claim Devices Left At Parade & Threat Issued To

By Jonathan McCambridge
17 March 2006

A claim was made today that a number of devices had been
left at a St Patrick's Day commemoration in Dungannon.

A caller to the Belfast Telegraph - using a loyalist
paramilitary cover name - also claimed that they would now
be targeting members of Republican Sinn Fein and the
Continuity IRA following the recent disruption of the Love
Ulster rally in Dublin.

The man, who used a code word, claimed to represent the Red
Hand Defenders, a cover name previously used by the UDA and
the LVF.

The statement could not be immediately authenticated, but
the codeword was similar to one used in the past.

It said: "Republican Sinn Fein and the Continuity IRA
disrupted the Love Ulster Parade in Dublin.

"The commemoration at Edendork Cemetery in Dungannon today.
We have placed four devices in and around the cemetery and
will continue to attack Republican Sinn Fein members from
now on."

The Red Hand Defenders cover name was used by the UDA when
they murdered Daniel McColgan, Ciaran Cummings, Gavin Brett
and Daniel Lawlor.

More recently it was used during an incident in which a
Catholic taxi driver had a gun put to his head.

However, since then the UDA issued a statement claiming
that the Red Hand Defenders did not exist and that it was a
cover name used "by criminals".

The Love Ulster rally in Dublin had to be cancelled
recently after republican protesters rioted and attacked
the police.


Delay Scuppers Adams' US Speech

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams missed a St Patrick's Day
event in the US after being delayed at a Washington airport
for "secondary screening".

He had been invited by Congressman Brian Higgins to speak
in Buffalo.

Mr Higgins told the audience Mr Adams was absent because
his name was on a "terror watch list", but Homeland
Security officials would not comment.

They said he had a routine security check and "secondary
screening" but was not arrested or detained.

Mr Adams, who had earlier attended a St Patrick's Day event
at the White House, was due to speak at the Buffalo Irish
Center in New York state.

His name, and that of a travelling companion (Richard
McAuley), appeared on a terror watch list at Washington's
Reagan National Airport, claimed Congressman Higgins.

AP news agency said he told the crowd awaiting Mr Adams'
speech: "When I spoke with his assistant a little while
ago, their luggage was still being, let's just say,

"Gerry Adams should not have been on a terror watch list,"
he said.

"This is a man who has dedicated the past 25 years of his
life to promoting peace and the unification of the 32
counties of Ireland into one united republic," Higgins

"That his name would appear in this untoward manner and
that appearance ruined his ability to celebrate St
Patrick's Day in Buffalo is sad and unfortunate when one
considers Gerry Adams' leadership in the decommissioning of
the IRA's weapons and his commitment to the Good Friday
agreements," Reuters quoted him as saying.

A Homeland Security official refused to comment on whether
Mr Adams' name had appeared on a terror watch list, saying
privacy restrictions precluded them from discussing
individuals on no-fly lists, said AP.

The official also declined to explain why Mr Adams
underwent the secondary screening, which was described as

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/18 09:03:03 GMT

Their luggage was sent to Buffalo but because of the delays
they missed the flight connection.

The US State Department confirmed there had been an
incident at Washingon Aiport, but denied Mr Adams had been


Senator Joe Biden Urges DUP To Share Power

By Rachel Williams
17 March 2006

A leading US senator today urged the DUP to end its
opposition to sharing political power with Sinn Fein.

Joe Biden, who has been tipped as a possible Democratic
contender in the 2008 presidential election, said the Rev
Ian Paisley's party faced a "historic choice" which would
be crucial in the peace process.

And he called on all political leaders to write a new
chapter in Irish history.

Senator Biden made his comments as he accepted an award for
distinguished leadership at a St Patrick's Day gala dinner
held by the American Ireland Fund - the same event where a
year ago Senator John McCain took a swipe at the IRA and
Sinn Fein.

"Last year at this dinner one of my colleagues was
straightforward about the Provisional IRA having to make a
decision," the Delaware senator told around 800 guests,
including Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Northern Ireland
Secretary Peter Hain and Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.

"They made a decision, a historic decision.

"This year the Democratic Unionists face a historic choice.

"Will they share political power with the nationalist
community? That's the question.

"Listening to the Prime Minister (Bertie Ahern) I believe
he and Tony Blair will do all in their power to see that
they see the light.

"Next year when we meet again it's my hope and my mother's
prayer that you will have taken the Government back into
your own hands and Ireland will be again on a road to
permanent peace."

He added: "I challenge the political leaders from Ireland
in this room to follow what Lincoln called 'your better

"This is the 21st century - it's time to write a new
chapter in Irish history."

Mr Ahern told diners he was hoping the Good Friday
Agreement would be implemented by the end of the year.

Mr Paisley was not at the dinner, as the DUP has decided
not to attend St Patrick's Day events in Washington. It
plans a visit in April instead.

Republican Senator Susan Collins, who was also honoured at
the fundraising dinner, said: "We must redouble our efforts
to see tat it's fully implemented not just in letter but
also in spirit."

The Maine senator quoted the words of the late Northern
Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam in 1998 after the province's
referendum, in which she said the people had spoken in
favour of using peaceful means to resolve political


US Politicians Back Adams

Published: 18 March, 2006

Following discussions yesterday with Sinn Fein President
Gerry Adams a number of senior US representatives agreed to
lobby the British government to reconvene the Assembly in
the short term.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP met US President George
Bush at the Speakers lunch on Capitol Hill.

The Sinn Fein President also held a lengthy series of
discussions yesterday with leading Congressional and Senate

Among the Congress members he spoke to where Jim Walsh,
Richie Neal, Carolyn McCarthy, Marty Meehan, Peter King,
Chris Smyth, Joe Crowley, Elliot Engel, Tim Murphy, Mike
Capuano, Frank Pallone, Neil Abercrombie and others.

Mr. Adams also had a brief meeting with Senator John Kerry,
and held two separate meetings with Senators Kennedy and
Dodd and Senator Hilary Clinton.

A Sinn Fein spokesperson described all of the meetings as
"very positive and constructive. The conversations
concentrated on the need to make progress and on our
proposals for breaking the logjam. This means movement by
the British and Irish government‚s before the summer and
well in advance of the marching season.

It means the British government lifting the suspension of
the political institutions. The two governments need to set
out a timetable for the restoration of the political
institutions and delivery on policing, justice, equality
and human rights."

The Sinn Fein President also took the opportunity to raise
two other matters with all those he spoke to. Firstly, the
issue of the undocumented Irish workers living in the
United States and the case of Raymond McCord who is seeking
support for an international based inquiry into the murder
by the UVF of his son, Raymond, in 1998. Mr. Adams
presented the members of Congress and the Senate with a
briefing paper on the McCord case." ENDS


Talks With Loyalist Chiefs Urged

Call for DUP to see leadership head-on

By Brian Rowan
17 March 2006

The DUP could assist peace moves within loyalism by meeting
"openly" with the paramilitary leadership, a senior
loyalist source said today.

The comments follow recent talks involving the DUP MPs
Peter Robinson and Nigel Dodds and the chairman of the
Loyalist Commission the Rev Mervyn Gibson.

The paramilitary source, who does not want to be
identified, made the call for direct talks as the UDA, the
UVF and the Red Hand Commando continue to debate the future
status of their organisations.

He told the Belfast Telegraph the DUP should face the
paramilitary leadership "head-on".

"The right people aren't encouraging anybody," he

The senior paramilitary figure said loyalists needed
encouragement "from the right quarters".

He said they still felt they were "being ignored", and they
were "having problems bringing people along".

The DUP "could break the impasse", he added.

"That (direct talks with paramilitaries) would cause them
embarrassment because of Sinn Fein, and Sinn Fein would use
that against them, (but) somebody is going to have to show
leadership and break the mould," the paramilitary leader

He said one meeting could determine what would be needed of
the paramilitaries for "the talking to continue".

"We need people to say 'if you get to that position, then
we will talk to you'," the senior loyalist figure told this

Peace moves within loyalism have been undermined by the
recent activities of the UDA in north Belfast, but, in a
statement last week, the leadership of the paramilitary
group said its members were "committed to a process of

That is something it is going to have to prove. A source
admitted that the organisation "suffered from a lack of
integrity", and was going to have to get to a position
where people could say: "I believe that for a change."

The senior paramilitary figure, who spoke to this
newspaper, described the recent meeting between the two DUP
MPs and the chairman of the Loyalist Commission as "a
positive step", but argued that the talks now need to go

A spokesman for the DUP said: "Party representatives have
met with the chairman of the Loyalist Commission. We are
looking at a number of ways as to how best we could use our
influence to encourage those within the loyalist
paramilitaries to commit to an exclusively peaceful and
democratic route."

It is not clear for how much longer the talking will
continue inside the loyalist paramilitary groups.

The senior figure who spoke to the Belfast Telegraph
accepted, "it can't go on for ever".


£250,000 Facelift For Assembly

Questions raised over empty arena at Stormont

By Michael McHugh
18 March 2006

The running cost of Ulster's mothballed Assembly was
highlighted again last night fter it emerged that
Parliament Buildings is to receive a £250,000 face lift.

The latest work follows over three years of inactivity and
contributes to the debate surrounding public expense
associated with Stormont.

The Department of Finance and Personnel has advertised for
an experienced contractor. Officials estimate the cost at
£245,000 plus VAT.

While some Assembly members argue that the work is
necessary, with talks on restoring the institutions
continuing, others said it was a reminder of the cost of
having a moribund Assembly to maintain.

Ulster Unionist Billy Bell said serious questions had to be

"They seem to be doing this kind of thing on an ongoing
basis. They have taken away all the brass bannister rails
and have replaced them and they seem to be doing work like
this all the time," he said.

"When we were in the Assembly, the Assembly Commission
actually looked after the building and its precincts, but
since the suspension it has been the Government going ahead
and doing it themselves.

"There's a lot of media hype about the salaries of MLAs,
claiming that we are being paid for doing nothing, which
isn't quite true. But when something like this happens
there doesn't seem to be any reaction."

Northern Ireland's MLAs claim millions of pounds between
them each year in expenses and allowances for running
offices, travel expenses, child care costs and other

According to the latest figures, the bill run up by the 108
members was more than £6.5m for the financial year 2003-04.

"It isn't only the Assembly members who are costing money,
the civil servants are still being paid and still working,"
former Assembly Public Accounts Committee chairman Mr Bell

Although recent Government deadlines for restorating
powersharing have been missed, there is still hope that the
Assembly may have some function in the near future.

Nationalists have opposed plans for a shadow Assembly while
DUP concerns about Sinn Fein involvement are assuaged.

Robert Coulter, a member of the shadow Assembly Commission
which monitors upkeep of the building, said it was a
necessary expense.

"The building has to be kept up for whenever is going to
happen there, the building has to be kept up regardless,"
he said.

"This is an absolutely necessary piece of housekeeping, it
isn't out of the ordinary at all."


Labour: Ahern Not Doing Enough For Illegal Irish In US

18/03/2006 - 09:12:57

The Taoiseach is being accused of not doing enough to lobby
for Irish immigrants in the United States while visiting

In a meeting at the White House yesterday, Bertie Ahern
asked George Bush to help legalise the 50,000 Irish people
living in America.

It comes ahead of a vote on the Kennedy-McCain Bill, which
would give the undocumented Irish a chance to apply for
work visas.

The Taoiseach has suggested that compromises could be made
on the legislation to combat opposition.

But Labour's Michael D Higgins doesn't agree: “I’m not at
all encouraged by what I’ve heard in reports of the St
Patrick’s Day meetings. Unfortunately the point is, whether
or not Mr Ahern has made any progress will depend on how
much of the Kennedy-McCain principles they have been able
to retain.

“It doesn’t look very hopeful, at the moment.”


Irish In U.S. Moving Home

By Ellen Barry
Los Angeles Times

NEW YORK — Up and down the hills of Woodlawn these days are
signs that things are changing. White paper fliers list
furniture for sale. On a Friday night, the bars on Katonah
Avenue have a hollow feeling.

The Irish are going home.

In a neighborhood at the northern edge of the Bronx, they
have lived for generations in an improbable Irish village.
Spices are flown in for Irish bacon, which is cured in the
basement beneath the butcher shop. Grocers stock Original
Andrews Liver Salts and Chives Bramble Jelly.

But in one of the unexpected effects of Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks, Irish immigrants are leaving the United States in
waves; they say the crackdown on illegal immigration,
coupled with a booming Irish economy, has eliminated the
advantages that drew them to this country.

Ten years from now, activists pushing for immigration
reform say, there won't be Irish neighborhoods in New York.

"Watch the various airlines heading for Ireland," said
Adrian Flannelly, chairman of New York's Irish Radio
Network, "and you can see the same type of grief and sorrow
that there has been in the worst days of our history, where
[immigrants] would leave everything behind them."

Recently, 17 buses left Katonah Avenue for Washington,
where Irish immigrants pressed for passage of the Kennedy-
McCain immigration bill. The legislation would allow all
illegal immigrants to apply for legal status after paying
their back taxes and working in the United States for six

The Irish government estimates 25,000 of its citizens are
living illegally in the United States, although
immigration-reform groups say the number is as high as

The push to change U.S. immigration law came from Ireland,
where politicians were hearing bitter complaints from
voters whose relatives were living in the United States
illegally, said Niall O'Dowd, chairman and founder of the
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform. The group received a
grant from the Irish government to pursue its mission.

"There's nowhere in the world where Irish citizens are more
marginalized than the United States," said O'Dowd,
publisher of the weekly Irish Voice.

The Irish-born population in the United States has been
dwindling for years, from 251,000 in 1970 to 169,827 in
1990, according to the census. It has fallen sharply in the
past four years, most notably between 2003 and 2004, when
it dropped from 148,416 to 127,682.

It was not so long ago that new arrivals in the Bronx could
tap into a vibrant cash economy. If a nanny was hit by a
car or a cab driver fell ill, posters went up soliciting

It was easy to get fake identification, said Mary, 38, a
nurse who would not give her last name because she is in
the country illegally. "You knew somebody who knew somebody
who knew somebody" who could get a Social Security card for
you, she said.

But after Sept. 11, drivers' licenses expired and could not
be renewed. Real Social Security numbers were needed to
apply for jobs, open bank accounts, even to join a gym.

Illegal immigrants could no longer take the chance of
flying home to Ireland for family gatherings.

The changes were subtle at first. Mary noticed it was
easier to park. O'Dowd remembers taking an apologetic call
from a Woodlawn mortgage broker canceling his advertising
contract, explaining his clients "were not Irish anymore."

Danny Moloney, who owns Liffey Van Lines, has begun to turn
Irish applicants away because it is no longer safe to hire
undocumented workers. Instead, he is hiring Poles.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company


Many Irish Are Returning To The Emerald Isle

Mar 17, 2006
By Vesna Jaksic
Staff Writer
Published March 17 2006

STAMFORD -- In the five years she has lived in Stamford and
bartended at several pubs, Tilly Cremins has seen fewer of
her Irish friends and customers.

"When I came here, you couldn't even get into the Irish
bars, there were so many of us here," said Cremins, 29, who
is Irish. "Not any more . . . A lot of my friends have
packed up and gone back home."

The change is felt in the ranks of the Stamford Gaelic
Football Team, which lost about half its players. It was
felt last weekend at the St. Patrick's Day parade, when the
Connecticut State Hurling Club could not get enough members
to build a float for the second year in a row.

In Stamford and nationwide, Irish-American communities seem
to be shrinking. Tighter immigration policies after Sept.
11, 2001, and Ireland's booming economy have led many Irish
to return home.

Brendan Brady, 37, of Stamford, estimates that 30 Irish
friends have returned to Ireland in recent years. While
some are young couples who wanted to raise their children
in Ireland, many are 20-, 30- and 40-somethings who did not
have proper documents to stay in the United States, he

Before Sept. 11, 2001, "it was easier to get work, you
could get a license when you were illegal, you could get a
bank account when you were illegal, you could even start a
business when you were illegal," Brady said. "But now (the
government) is tightening everything up."

One of the owners of the Clubhouse Grill at E. Gaynor
Brennan Golf Course, Brady said it shows on the Stamford
Gaelic Football Team, which plays a mix of soccer and

"Every year, we get weaker and weaker because it's the same
players that have been there for years," said Brady, who
retired from the team this year. "There is no new blood
coming in."

In about three years, the team went from the top playing
level to barely making the lowest -- a difference of about
four levels of competition, said Noel McNamara, 33, a
Stamford resident who manages the team.

"Over the last three or four years, we've probably seen
maybe six, seven, eight players move back," McNamara said.
"That's like half the team."

The Connecticut State Hurling Club, based in Stamford,
which has a team that plays the traditional Irish game
resembling hockey, has had a tough time recruiting players.

There are fewer fans at its games in the Bronx, N.Y., said
Keith Hennessy, club secretary. This was the second year in
a row the club could not find enough people to build a
float for the Stamford St. Patrick's Day parade, he said.

"It's a pity," said Hennessy, 31, a self-employed

To help its citizens living in the United States, the Irish
government recently gave $30,000 to help start The Irish
Lobby for Immigration Reform, which has pushed for changes
in immigration law since it formed three months ago.

Last week, the organization led an effort to bring 2,500
people on 200 buses, including two from Stamford, to
Washington, D.C., to lobby for passage of the McCain-
Kennedy bill. The law would help about 50,000 Irish
residents who are here illegally stay in the country.

Niall O'Dowd, the founder and chairman, said there is an
urgent need for change because of the number of Irish who
are leaving. Many who remain now fear traveling to Ireland
for a wedding or a funeral because they may not be able to
re-enter the United States, he said.

"There is no doubt that you can see the disappearance of
Irish communities in 10, 20 years if this continues,"
O'Dowd said.

The Irish have deep roots in the United States. They came
in several large waves, including during the potato famine
in 1845, when a fungus nearly depleted all of Ireland's
potato fields. Today, about 34.5 million people in the
United States claim Irish ancestry, nearly nine times
Ireland's population of four million, according to the U.S.
Census Bureau.

In Connecticut, more than 580,000 residents claimed Irish
ancestry in 2004, according to the bureau. In Fairfield
County, more than 163,000 people have Irish ancestry.

Statistics on most recent immigration patterns vary, but
all point to the same trend. Ireland's Central Statistics
Office said the number of people leaving Ireland was 18,500
for the year ending April 2004, the lowest number since
tracking began in 1987.

"A lot of people are leaving because they are undocumented
and it's becoming more difficult to be undocumented," said
Christina McElwaine, press officer for the Consulate
General of Ireland in New York City. "Others are leaving
because there are opportunities in Ireland, so it's the
lifestyle that they choose."

Days before he closed his shop, Fifth Province Irish
Imports, this summer, owner Mike Murray said Ireland needs
the younger families that returned.

"The majority of these people are well-educated and have
got skill sets, good computer skills," Murray said. "In
years back, they had limited opportunities, but today
that's there."

Murray said he and his wife closed the Summer Street shop
to retire, but the weakening U.S. dollar and strong Euro
contributed to their decision.

Ireland has become one of the most prosperous members of
the European Union. More than 150,000 people are expected
to apply for Irish visas this year because of high demand
for work, Ireland's justice minister announced this month.

Carl Shanahan, an Irish-American in his late 60s, said
that's good news for Ireland.

"Before we never thought of going back," said Shanahan,
president of The Wild Geese, a Stamford group that promotes
Irish culture. "But now (the younger Irish) figure they can
do just as well in Ireland. I think it's healthy."

Still, those whose friends left find it difficult. Ann
Dacres, 41, said half a dozen of her friends have gone.

"It makes me a little homesick," said Dacres, who works for
the Stamford Board of Education. "But at the same time, I'm
settled here and I love Stamford."

Cremins, the bartender, said she can't help but feel sad.

"We Irish people stick together," she said while serving
beers to several countrymen during a shift at Brock's
Restaurant. "You grow close to them."


Yonkers Mayor Wants Illegal Citizens Out Of The Shadows

The Journal News

McCain's visit to Yonkers

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform has invited Sen.
John McCain, R-Ariz., to visit Yonkers on March 31 and
discuss his immigration reform proposals. A venue for the
event has not been chosen. Visit for
an announcement on the event's location.

(Original publication: March 17, 2006)

YONKERS — Mayor Phil Amicone declared his support for
giving illegal immigrants a pathway to legalization at a
St. Patrick's Day event for an Irish dignitary.

Amicone expressed his sympathy for Irish and Hispanic
illegal immigrants during a City Hall reception yesterday
for John Perry, a member of the Irish Parliament who is
visiting the New York area to advocate on behalf of illegal
Irish immigrants and to participate in St. Patrick's Day

Perry, a member of the Fine Gael party in Ireland, visited
Yonkers as the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approached a
compromise yesterday on an immigration reform bill under
which illegal immigrants could stay in the United States.
The committee will reconvene March 27 to continue work on
the legislation, which could allow illegal immigrants to
obtain a six-year visa and pay a $1,000 fine. After six
years, those immigrants who pay back taxes, learn English
and pay an additional $1,000 could apply for permanent

"It would make huge economic sense," Perry said before news
of the Senate deal emerged yesterday. "All the illegal
Irish I've met here are quite proud to feel American."

Amicone said illegal immigrants should given the
opportunity to pay taxes and come out of the shadows.

"My grandfather came over from Italy legally, but I know
many came as illegal immigrants and they integrated into
the fabric of the United States," Amicone said.

According to the 2000 census, about 25,241 people in
Yonkers, or 12.9 percent of the city's residents, claim
Irish ancestry. There are no reliable statistics on the
number of illegal immigrants in Yonkers, but Amicone
acknowledged yesterday that there could be thousands.

Perry's visit to Yonkers also came the same week that the
locally based Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform announced
that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will visit the city March
31 to discuss immigration reform. McCain's office confirmed
the visit yesterday.

Late last year, the House of Representatives passed its own
immigration reform act that offered no pathway to
legalization and instead would make illegal presence in the
United States a felony. Any final immigration reform would
have to reconcile the House and Senate bills.

Kelly Fincham, the Irish Lobby's executive director, said
her group has not picked a site for the McCain visit nor
did she expect to see definitive immigration reform before
the event.

The Irish Lobby estimates there are 40,000 illegal Irish
immigrants in the United States.

As part of the group's lobbying, which is funded by the
Irish government, Fincham will have a St. Patrick's Day
breakfast today at O'Neill's in midtown Manhattan with
Irish actor Gabriel Byrne.

"We're holding a national Legalize the Irish Day," Fincham
said. "Our motto is green cards, not green beer."


Hain Sparks 'Poison Pit' Housing Row

By Noel McAdam
18 March 2006

Fury erupted last night over Government plans to restore
full housing powers to councils in Northern Ireland.

Secretary of State Peter Hain was warned the move could
return the province to the "poisonous pit" of the past.

Insisting the Government abandon the idea, the SDLP argued
it could seriously dent fragile community relations.
Assembly member Patsy McGlone said: "It is incredible a
Labour Government could think of doing this."

A senior Ulster Unionist MLA also called the plans a
"recipe for disaster" and predicted council chambers would
become "sectarian bear pits".

UU Assemblyman Fred Cobain said: "Can you imagine councils
allocating houses along sectarian interfaces? It would be a

Under the blueprint, the seven new 'super-councils' would
have control of housing management and allocations -
effectively dismantling the Housing Executive.

But the proposal will raise the spectre of one of the most
contentious issues - discrimation - which underpinned
events leading to the Troubles.

Mr Hain is expected to announce the potential transfer of
housing powers to local government as part of a massive
shake-up of Northern Ireland quangos next week.

But it is understood he will hold out the prospect of a
completely restored housing function until after the new
councils are up and running by 2009.

But SDLP housing spokesman Mr McGlone said last night:
"This is totally crazy territory. It is incredible to think
the Government could be so stupid and naive."

In a letter to Mr Hain he warned the return of housing
allocation and management to councils would open up every
opportunity for a step back to the "poisonous pit" of

A spokesperson for the review of public administration,
whose blueprint for the unelected quangos is to be unveiled
on Tuesday, said they could not respond.

The Belfast Telegraph yesterday revealed the Housing
Executive could lose a number of other key functions to
councils, including grants, health environmental schemes
and the fuel efficiency programmes.

While it declined to respond, senior Housing Executive
officials were said to be "extremely concerned" about the
operational changes.


Unionists In A Flap Over Flags

By Jonathan McCambridge
18 March 2006

Unionists last night said the St Patrick's Day celebrations
in Belfast were "intimidatory" because of the waving of
Irish tricolour flags.

For the first time, the Belfast parade from the City Hall
to Custom House Square was funded by the council, which had
attempted to ensure that tricolours were not paraded.

But both the DUP and UUP claimed protestant constituents
left the celebrations because they felt they were
intimidatory, casting doubt on future council funding of
the event.

UUP MLA Michael Copeland said the event had proven
"unwelcoming" to unionists.

"Commemorations of St Patrick in Northern Ireland should
reflect the fact that his legacy belongs to all the people
of Northern Ireland, both protestant and catholic," he

"Unfortunately St Patrick's day celebrations in Belfast
have one again proved to be for one side of the community

"Many of my constituents who ventured to the celebrations
did not stay long. They felt uncomfortable and unwelcome.
The sheer number of tricolours and the strong nationalist
look and feel to the parade rule out any sense of a cross-
community event."

DUP representative Diane Dodds said the St Patrick
celebrations were "another disappointment".

She added: "There were not that many people at the concert
but there were plenty of republican flags and it seems that
for republicans it is simply an excuse to wave Irish
tricolours in the city centre.

"It would be good to have a cross-community event in the
city, one where unionists and nationalists can feel safe,
but it is clear that republicans cannot cope with that."

But SDLP deputy Lord Mayor Pat Convery said he thought
yesterday's parade had been a "small step forward" for a
divided city.

"We hope that the diversity of our city will be able to be
included in this parade and concert," he said. "We hope we
will be able to generate a lot of interest in this new
event every year."


Dad's Fury At PUP's Police Role

By Jonathan McCambridge
17 March 2006

The devastated father of a UVF murder victim today
described how he felt "sick to his stomach" when a PUP
representative was appointed to Northern Ireland's Policing

Co Antrim man John Allen spoke of his fury that the
loyalist party which is linked to a terror group would now
have a role in holding to account the police force
investigating his son's death.

But the PUP chairperson Dawn Purvis - who was appointed as
an independent Policing Board member on Monday - said she
would be prepared to meet Mr Allen to assure him that she
did not know who killed his son.

Thirty-one-year-old John Allen Jnr was shot in the back of
the head by the UVF in Ballyclare in November 2003. Nobody
has ever been charged with his murder.

His father told the Belfast Telegraph: "This has been an
awful week. The Government has appointed an unelected
representative whose party is linked to the UVF to tell the
police what to do. I cannot understand how unionist
politicians could go along with this farce.

"I am now supposed to pay taxes to support this Policing
Board. When I heard about this I was left sick to my

"If the party wants to be taken seriously then they should
break their link with the UVF. Only then can they think
about going onto the Policing Board.

"I heard Dawn Purvis saying that if she knew anyone who was
involved in a crime then she would report it to the police.
I challenge her to come out publicly and say that she will
support the police investigation into my son's death."

Mr Allen added: "There is not a day goes past that I do not
think about John.

"I was in Ballyclare a few weeks ago and I saw the man who
murdered him walking about laughing. He is walking about
the streets with complete impunity.

"By making this appointment the Government have shown
contempt towards victims. It is a slap in the face for me
and other people in the same position."

Asked about Mr Allen's comments, Dawn Purvis said: "First
of all I would like to say my heart goes out to Mr Allen
but I know absolutely nothing about his son's murder and I
would never disrupt any police investigation.

"While I understand his anger and frustration I do not
understand what it has got to do with my appointment. I
have never been involved with paramilitaries and I am a
member of the PUP, not the UVF.

"I was appointed as an independent member by the Secretary
of State and I had as much right to apply as anybody else.

"I have no problem with meeting Mr Allen and talking to him
face to face. I could not even begin to comprehend what he
has had to go through in losing his son.

"However, if Mr Allen thinks the PUP has information about
who killed his son then that is something he should pass on
to the police."

She added: "The new Policing Board represents a healthy
cross-section of society and I am looking forward to
beginning work on it."


Bush, Irish Prime Minister Discuss Northern Ireland, CIA

Deb Riechmann / Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern gave
President Bush a bowl of shamrocks on Friday and then asked
the president for more "transparency" about CIA flights
over Europe.

After his St. Patrick's Day meeting with Bush, which lasted
for more than two hours, Ahern renewed his commitment to
seeing the implementation of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace
accord and its central goal: power-sharing between the
province's British Protestant majority and Irish Catholic

The consensus among Irish Americans and political leaders
is that "we just have to move on," Ahern said after meeting
with Bush, who also visited with relatives killed in
murders linked to the Irish Republican Army.

"We've seen the end of the IRA campaign," Ahern said.
"We've seen the end of the arms issue. We're dealing with
the criminality issue. We saw the big raids on the border
last week. The politicians have to get back to the work
that they were elected to, and we have to do that this

Gerry Adams, who has spent the past two decades guiding his
IRA-allied party into Ireland's political mainstream, was
among the Irish visitors to the White House. Last year,
Bush barred all Northern Ireland leaders from the St.
Patrick's Day event to put pressure on Adams.

Bush administration officials said last year that they
withdrew Sinn Fein's White House invitation -- for the
first time since 1995 -- because of the IRA's admission
that its members were involved in killing Robert McCartney
in Belfast last year and that the outlawed group stole $50
million worth of British pounds from a Belfast bank.

Ahern said he asked Bush if there was a way to bring more
"transparency" to the issue of rendition. The European
Union is investigating allegations that CIA agents
interrogated al-Qaida suspects at secret prisons in eastern
Europe and transported some on secret flights that passed
through Europe.

Ahern said that while Ireland facilitates U.S. troop
movements, and is "happy to do it," there is public concern
over the CIA flights.

"We've asked for the president's understanding and
cooperation," Ahern said, adding that it would be easier
for him to explain the flights in his country if he knew
more about them. "We are going to continue to look at,
perhaps, how we might bring more transparency to that
process, if that's possible."

In the traditional trek to the White House, the prime
minister gave the president a glass bowl of shamrocks, a
symbol of warm U.S. relations.

"The Census Bureau tells us there are more than 34 million
Americans that claim Irish ancestry," said Bush, who wore a
pale green tie for the occasion. "On St. Patrick's Day, I
suspect that number jumps a little bit."

Bush and the Irish leader talked about Iraq, Iran, Darfur,
India and the Middle East. Ahern said he expressed support
for immigration legislation that would benefit the
estimated 50,000 to 70,000 illegal Irish immigrants in the
United States.

Ahern said he backed a proposal by Sens. John McCain, R-
Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., which would let illegal
immigrants stay for six years if they remain employed and
pay a $1,000 fine. They would then become eligible for
permanent residency.

Much of their discussion focused on the killings of
McCartney, who was stabbed in the neck and stomach and
bludgeoned with iron bars outside a Belfast pub on Jan. 30,
2005; Joseph Rafferty, who was shot dead outside his home
in Dublin on April 12, 2005; and Pat Finucane, a Belfast
lawyer who was shot 14 times on Feb. 12, 1989, as he sat
down to a Sunday lunch.

Finucane's family and Catholic leaders have demanded a
public probe into suspected involvement of British security
forces in the assassination.

Ahern said he was with Bush when they met with Ester Uzell
and Bart Little, Rafferty's sister and brother-in-law; and
Catherine and Kathleen McCartney and Emily Hamilton,
McCartney's sister, mother and aunt.

"The president is very familiar with the cases -- extremely
familiar -- and very well-briefed on all of the cases,"
Ahern said. "I should say we had quite a long conversation
on the Finucane case.

In a speech Thursday night, Ahern said he hoped "all
parties and all communities will fully accept and
participate the new beginning for policing," a reference to
Sinn Fein and its Catholic supporters, which refuse to work
with Northern Ireland's mostly Protestant police force.

Sinn Fein boycotts a Catholic-Protestant board that is
overseeing a 10-year plan for reshaping the police force,
which requires at least 50 percent of recruits to be
Catholic. The Bush administration has said it won't allow
Adams to raise funds directly in the United States until
Sinn Fein takes its seats on the Northern Ireland Policing

The policy means that, while Sinn Fein's U.S. fundraising
arm can collect funds from supporters, it can't do this at
any events that Adams attends. Adams said this restriction
meant the party had to return about $100,000 collected at a
Washington breakfast that the Sinn Fein chief attended

At that event, Adams took the unusual step of publicly
criticizing Bush's special envoy to Northern Ireland. "I
don't have any high regard for Mitchell Reiss' input in
this process," Adams said. "If it is he who is advising the
president, then it's very, very bad advice."

Reiss, however, got high marks from Ahern.

"I warmly applaud the work of your special envoy,
Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, as well as (U.S. Ambassador to
Ireland) James Kenny."


Opin: Forty Shades Of Green - And Some Of Them Orange

17 March 2006

St Patrick's Day is a bit peculiar, don't you think? In
this part of the island it is associated with celebrations
by one sort which most of the other sort carefully avoid.

It is associated with the game of rugby football - schools'
rugby - which one sort plays but which the other carefully
avoids. And then, to crown it all, it is a sort of holiday
- but not really.

Down south, the heart of the matter surely, the Government
there celebrates by closing the Dail for a week and
decamping en masse to foreign parts, thereby avoiding the
natives (and the problems attending the Celtic Tiger, which
include 1930s Capone-style gangland murder, rampant drug
peddling and hospitals unable to cope). The Taoiseach,
stopping his ears against the crescendo of anti-Americanism
in the Irish media, is at the White House to hand his bowl
of shamrock to his - er - old buddy, George Bush.

Ahern's deputy, Mary Harney, is celebrating the day in
South Africa; the Finance Minister, Brian Cowen is in
Australia and other colleagues are in New Zealand,
Argentina and Japan, not to mention yet others in those
well-known hot-spots of Irishry, Beijing, Budapest, Moscow
and Paris.

It is a custom that is unique. The Americans themselves
straddle the globe; yet, come the Fourth of July, you do
not see their Government ministers rushing to the airport.

The French have a necklace of French-speaking ex-colonies,
from Senegal to Quebec, but on Bastille Day their ministers
are where you would expect them to be: at the review stand
on the Champs Elysses.

By contrast, St Patrick, far from uniting the Irish, turns
out to be a very separatist gentleman indeed.

Even the pedigree of his day is shot through with doubt.
Heavens, he himself was not even Irish at all; but, whisper
it not, he was a Brit!

And the shamrock itself is a bit of a sham. The botanists
tell us that there is no such thing. The sprig we put in
our buttonholes really consists of varieties of wood
sorrel; and every townland is liable to produce a different

This ambiguity chimes harmoniously with our own crisis of
identity: British or Irish - or both? There is a great deal
of dissembling here.

The honest answer, of course is "both", though nationalists
disclaim their British constitutional status and many
unionists, demeaningly, their Irish birth. The Kingdom of
which we remain part may have abused the Irish over the
centuries; but it has since atoned - and continues to atone
- handsomely for the sins of its fathers.

To perpetuate the great green huff against the Union Jack
is to fall into the fraudulent trap of judging past history
by the standards of today. But circumstances alter cases.
Things did not look then as they do today.

In the years after partition in 1922, the fathers of the
new Free State made the mistake of yielding to the
temptation of using St Patrick's Day as a festival to
gather in the faithful. They made a sectarian appeal, in
the sense that the faithful were assumed to be exclusively

But where W T Cosgrave, in the first ten years, had the
vision to recognise the need to be conciliatory towards
Northern Ireland, Eamon de Valera, who succeeded him after
the general election of 1932, did not. He was openly
aggressive over partition and used St Patrick's Day
speeches bitterly to attack the British.

So the day now became highly political: being Irish, to de
Valera, was a special way of being Catholic - and being
Catholic was a special way of being Irish.

Northern Ireland Orangemen accepted this as confirming
their worst fears: that, in the eyes of the Free State, one
could not be really Irish if one were Protestant.

The flags showing the red diagonal cross of St Patrick,
which had customarily been hung outside Orange Halls on the
Day, began to disappear. More recently, in Northern
Ireland, one or two have reappeared; but the damage done in
the 1930s has not been repaired.

De Valera, the creature of his time, was a one-issue
politician. The poor eyesight which afflicted him
throughout his life was reflected in his politics.
Politically, he wore blinkers. Today's indifferent attitude
to St Patrick's Day by many northerners is part of his

The fact that Catholics felt - and feel - the opposite has
only pointed up the sectarian aspect of the occasion north
of the border. The carrying of Irish tricolours, which -
presumably - are to be seen in front of Belfast City Hall
today, expresses de Valera's political philosophy exactly.

There was only one issue at stake; and if St Patrick's Day
provided a platform, then it must be used in furtherance of
the crusade.

The remaining question is: where do we go from here? A
beginning might be made if all the big grammar schools
north of the border played both rugby and gaelic football.
That would mix the crowds on March 17 all right.


Opin: 'Let's Get Real' About The UUP

By Johnny Andrews, Party Officer for the Ulster Unionist
17 March 2006

Where are the UUP? That's the question Lindy McDowell
recently asked in her column in this paper. The clear
thrust of the article was that we were not doing enough.
Unfortunately Lindy has overlooked a series of policy
launches by the UUP that this newspaper largely ignored. We
covered issues such as building a fair society, tackling
our brain drain, free personal care for the elderly and an
early years programmes for young children. We feel that
these and many others that we have in the pipeline are
important issues to large sections of the community.

Our positive contribution to the talks process - where we
have put forward various options for getting devolution
back - is on-going, so too our internal re-invigoration of
the underlying aims and objectives of the party.

Constructive criticism is always welcome from the media.
But being criticised for not doing enough by a writer from
a newspaper that largely ignores your repeated efforts to
raise bread and butter issues smacks of double-standards.

Besides I like to think that the UUP has done a great deal
to transform the political landscape over recent years.
Compare 2006 to 1996 and then try and tell us that we
haven't done enough!

There is of course much more to do. It is no longer good
enough to simply maintain the Union, we must engage with
our fellow citizens in Great Britain and promote and
strengthen the Union.

While we ensured that the Union is more secure than ever,
it is important we sell the benefits of it to new voters
coming here from the enlarged EU and the growing army of

Unionists must reach out to the new and changing ethnic mix
in the voting population and sell the benefits of the
Union. It is only under the Union that our social, cultural
and human rights can be protected and fostered.

The recent rioting in Dublin shows that the idea of a
United Ireland is further away than ever.

Despite assertions to the contrary Northern Ireland
Unionists are by and large a very tolerant people. The
Irish President is free to walk the Shankill Road
unhindered for example.

A Life and Times survey shows that up to 25% of Catholics
are broadly in favour of the Union and that it is the only
practical constitutional arrangement for the forseeable

It also shows only 47% of Catholics see reunification as
practical. We need to build on these figures. In this
regard it is important we engage with nationalists and make
Northern Ireland work.

It is only the UUP that can deliver a united workable
Northern Ireland because we understand that a sectarian
carve-up is not an answer. Our biggest challenge is to
create a united, peaceful and tolerant society. A truly
civic society in line with other modern democracies.

Our competitors thrive on emotional rhetoric and scare
tactics. They create the continual polarisation of politics
that leads to endless circularity and negative argument.
Now they are playing catch-up, ideologically they are back
where we were in 1996.

While they posture and try and find some way of squaring
their circle of promising to stop concessions and tough
talking with the political realities that the lead party in
unionism must face up to, Northern Ireland continues to
suffer under Direct Rule.

Water charges, higher rates and Government attempts to
effectively destroy our excellent education system. These
are but three of the many things that matter to people.
Like the DUP, the media cannot absolve itself of
responsibilities. They too have a role to play.

When a political party makes an impassioned case for
greater time and effort to be spent on these issues then I
feel that the media should at least articulate these
concerns if for no other reason than generating debate.

Far from the obsolete picture that Lindy painted, the UUP
is constantly developing new policies on a wide range of
issues. We do this under our campaign banner 'Let's Get
Real'. And we will keep doing it whether it is deemed more
important than Chantelle's latest exploits or Orlaith
McCallister parading her wares at the opening of an
envelope or not.

Politicians have an inherent duty to engage responsibly and
tackle the many social, economic and other challenges that
the public want us to deal with. Failure to deal with these
issues will ensure the wrath of the electorate and wider
public who will continue to feel disengaged from their
politicians. Equally failure to tackle these issues will
see our continued marginalization within the UK and
increasing joint authority. Nobody wants to see that except
for those parties that don't want Northern Ireland to work
full stop.

Journalists and critics like Lindy McDowell have a choice.
They can either take pot-shots at how bad our politicians
and politics are without offering any insight or solutions
or they can start responding to our lead and focusing not
only on big picture politics but also on the things that
matter to everyone - including politicians - like health,
education, crime, poverty and the economy. We have families
too you know!

We need a proper debate on these issues but we can't do it
if the media don't care or take editorial decisions not to
cover our news conferences or media material.


Opin: ILIR -Immigration More Complex Than We Admit


While the green has been slipping out of the immigration
boom in the last century, you're still likely to hear
"Legalize the Irish" this St. Patrick's Day.

Some 40,000 undocumented Irish immigrants have as much at
stake as 11 million Latinos in the ongoing guest-worker
debate on Capitol Hill. Many of the Irish are working low-
wage jobs in construction and restaurants, or as nannies or
caregivers for the elderly.

This week the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform is using
T-shirts and fliers at community parades to make public the
plight of their brethren's difficulty getting driver's
licenses or opening bank accounts.

It comes as a surprise to many Americans that Irish men and
women are part of the immigration debate. But it won't be
the first time the issue has tricked people into thinking
it was an either/or situation.

America's history of immigration offers a further irony for
the present-minded.

The Irish, too, fled hunger and oppression. And their
reception was less than welcoming. At one time Irish
immigrants were considered unemployable, dirty, shiftless,
and untrustworthy. The slums of America's cities were
inhabited by the "wild Irish," an illiterate group lacking
in morals and posing a burden on the nation's limited
social services. The nativists said they could never blend
in because of their strange, foreign religion and their
nostalgic attachment to the causes of their native land.
Cartoonists like the famous Thomas Nast regularly portrayed
the Irish as monkey-like creatures who threatened American

But times change and the once-feared Irish alien is as
thoroughly American as you can get.

Today, when the American population is ranked by ancestry,
the Irish are second only to the Germans, with a proud
legacy of indelible contributions to the nation's economic,
cultural and political life. They rank as one of the most
prominent and prosperous ethnic groups in America.

Delaware is one of only three states in the United States
where Irish is the leading ancestry group. Massachusetts
and New Hampshire are the other two. About 18 percent of
the Delaware's residents are descendants of the Emerald

So today, as the Americans of Irish descent are joined by
their Irish-for-the-day friends for a celebration of St.
Patrick's Day, it would be worthwhile to reflect on the
immigrant's tale -- today's and yesterday's.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.


Opin: Green In The Face

If an Israeli group wants to march in New York, do you
allow Neo-Nazis into their parade? If African Americans are
marching in Harlem, do they have to let the Ku Klux Klan
into their parade? … People have rights. If we let the
[Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization] in, is it the Irish
Prostitute Association next?

—John Dunleavy, chairman of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day
parade, telling The Irish Times why lesbian and gay
marchers should be kept off the streets, in the closet, on
the other side of the rainbow, etc.

There are rules to follow when making analogies. One is
that they be logically consistent. To my knowledge, there
are no Israeli Neo-Nazis, or African American KKK members.
But there are Irish gays and lesbians — including New
York’s newly elected council leader, Christine Quinn, who
condemned Dunleavy’s remarks.

Just how petty can the parade’s organizers be? They banned
not just the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization but also
the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, an advocacy group
supporting undocumented Irish immigrants (an estimated
40,000 in the U.S.). Perhaps the organizers forget that
many of their ancestors were terribly persecuted immigrants
themselves, who escaped famine in their own land to face
racism and poverty in America — back at a time when
America’s borders were open and there was no such thing as
an “illegal alien.”

That said, I have to admit I can’t get too worked up over
this parade issue, because I find all parades to be boring.
I’m sure there’s something I’m missing here. But really,
what’s so exciting about standing outside in frigid weather
watching grown men in funny costumes walk down the street
and wave? It’s so 19th century.

Which basically sums up the mentality of the parade’s


RC Archbishop: St Pat's Message: Respect For All Cultures

By Alf McCreary
17 March 2006

The Catholic Primate Archbishop Sean Brady has called for a
society that welcomes and respects people of different
cultures and traditions in his St Patrick's Day message.

He said that St Patrick, who had become a symbol of Irish
heritage and history, was a migrant himself, "not once but
twice", and after escaping from slavery in Ireland, he
returned "amazingly" to preach the Gospel.

"Any authentic celebration of St Patrick's Day must somehow
remember and celebrate that fact. A celebration that
belittles or ridicules the values of that Gospel surely
offends the man whose memory it is meant to honour."

The Archbishop also said that to reduce St Patrick to a
symbol of history and heritage "without reference to his
own Christian faith distorts the truth and in no way does
justice to the real stature of the man".

The Primate said the celebration of Intercultural Week next
week will focus on encouraging "a greater sense of
involvement and a greater sense of belonging for people
from minority ethnic backgrounds.

"The civil law lays down the basic standards, but something
more is needed to build a society that is truly inclusive,
welcoming and respectful of people of different cultures,
languages and traditions."

St Patrick's Day services are scheduled at churches
throughout Ireland today. There will be a Communion service
spoken in Irish at the Church of Ireland cathedral in
Armagh at 10am and a similar service in English at noon. In
Downpatrick, a wreath will be laid on St Patrick's supposed
grave, after an inter-church service in Down Cathedral.


Bush Speaks Of American Pride In Irish Heritage

Denis Staunton in Washington


When president George W Bush accepted a bowl of shamrock
from the Taoiseach in the Roosevelt Room of the White House
yesterday, he spoke of the pride Americans feel about their
Irish heritage.

"The Census Bureau tells us there are more than 34 million
Americans that claim Irish ancestry," Mr Bush said. "On St
Patrick's Day, I suspect that number jumps a little bit."

The White House meeting was the culmination of three days
of events in Washington that brought Irish affairs to the
centre of the debate in America's capital.

Accustomed to watching politicians in the North struggling
to find agreement, US legislators this week themselves fell
out over Ireland.

Every year, the Friends of Ireland congressional caucus
issues a St Patrick's Day statement celebrating the
relationship between Ireland and America and commenting on
political events in the North.

The statement is usually a joint declaration from members
of the Senate and the House of Representatives but the two
chambers split this year over a reference to the murder of
Robert McCartney.

Edward Kennedy insisted that the statement should include
the words: "All paramilitaries must end criminality and
intimidation. Justice must also be done in the case of
Robert McCartney."

Congressman Jim Walsh, who heads the Friends of Ireland in
the House of Representatives, argued that mentioning
specific crimes would distract from the statement's primary
message that all parties should implement the Belfast
Agreement and support the PSNI.

"We agreed to disagree," Mr Walsh told The Irish Times. The
family of Robert McCartney was less sanguine, expressing
"surprise" at Mr Walsh's refusal to sign the Kennedy

"His decision to isolate himself from President Bush,
Senator Kennedy and the overwhelming majority of the Irish
people only serves as an encouragement to the unaccountable
groups who seek to murder with impunity, and in no way
furthers the cause of peace or justice in Ireland," the
family said.

Such divisions were absent from most Irish events in
Washington this week, starting with Ambassador Noel Fahey's
party on Wednesday, which the Taoiseach described as "the
best free bar" in town.

On Thursday evening, hundreds of the wealthiest Irish-
Americans and their associates crowded into the magnificent
National Building Museum for the American-Ireland Fund's
annual dinner.

The neo-classical building with its massive Corinthian
columns was once the place where American Civil War
veterans came to verify their pensions, often camping out
for days to get a hearing.

Irish university fundraisers and charity workers fell in
with the building's tradition, waiting patiently until a
potential benefactor became available for flattery and

The American Ireland Fund raised $35 million last year for
projects in every county in Ireland but its focus has been
on reconciliation and economic regeneration in the North.

Thursday's dinner honoured senators Joseph Biden and Susan
Collins as well as Jack McConnell, an Irish-American
entrepreneur who has given $1 million to integrated schools
in the North.

Mr Biden made a speech that sounded mawkish to some native
Irish ears, extolling the virtues of his mother, but the
event underscored the extraordinary commitment of Irish-
Americans to promoting peace and prosperity in Ireland.

American Ireland Fund president Kingsley Aiken said that
the organisation's challenge now was to import American
habits of philanthropy to Ireland, a process that has
hitherto been slow.

The leaders of almost all the North's political parties
were at the American Ireland Fund dinner, although Sinn
Féin's Gerry Adams left ostentatiously early and the
Democratic Unionist Party's Ian Paisley jnr appeared to
hide behind television cameras during the speeches.

Mr Biden directed part of his speech to the North's
politicians, urging them to make 2006 a historic year for
the peace process.

"This is the 21st century. It's time to make a new chapter
in Irish history," he said.

© The Irish Times


McAleese Speaks Of New Irish Confidence

Christine Newman

President's message: President Mary McAleese said Ireland
today was vibrant, cosmopolitan and filled with energy, and
our international relations were playing an important part
in our maturing as a nation.

The President, in her St Patrick's Day message, said it was
a day of celebration in Ireland and for the global Irish

Over many decades, the people of Ireland, resolute in their
belief in freedom, democracy, human rights and the pursuit
of truth, justice and peace, had worked to create the
successful Ireland of today. They could all bear witness to
the arduous trials of our predecessors.

Yet, through it, and perhaps because of it, there was a new
confidence and sense of direction; our collective aim to
create a better Ireland and a better life for our children
and our children's children.

Mrs McAleese said many years of hard work had gone into our
economic development, which had blossomed in recent years.

"We have created a society in which the traditional welcome
for the stranger is extended to people from many countries,
whose endeavours have contributed hugely to our economy and
to enriching our cultural diversity."

New communities were being built, transforming inhabitants
into neighbours and neighbours into friends.

"Our national emblem, the shamrock, itself teaches us to
honour unity in diversity even as it celebrates diversity
in unity.

"Our country today is vibrant, cosmopolitan and filled with
energy, and with our own distinctive national character,
and our international relations are playing an important
part in our maturing as a nation and deepening our
understanding of our place in the world."

The world was ever-changing, and everyone accepted that
there was a need to change. Greater understanding of our
fellow members of the EU, and of the wider world, was a
central part of meeting the challenges and seizing the
opportunities which lay ahead.

"I am confident that the strength of Ireland's culture and
values will stand to us in the future," she concluded.

To Irish people and friends throughout the world, she said
she would use the words of St Patrick himself: A blessing
on their peaks, On their bare flagstones, A blessing on
their glens, A blessing on their ridges.

"I wish all of you a very happy and peaceful St Patrick's

© The Irish Times


Triumphant Duddy Claims Top Title

By Geraldine Mulholland and Ashleigh Wallace
17 March 2006

Ulster boxer John Duddy was the toast of St Patrick's Day
today - after flattening his opponent in 91 seconds to win
a major title at Madison Square Gardens.

As tens of thousands took to the streets of Northern
Ireland today to celebrate the patron saint, Duddy said he
will be doing the same in New York with family and friends
who travelled to watch him win the WBO Continental Americas
middleweight title.

In Duddy's home city of Londonderry, St Patrick's Day
celebrations were set to kick off at 1pm at the family
friendly alcohol- free Guildhall Square live music stage.

The Spring Carnival was due to begin at 2pm from the City
Walls while the parade was scheduled to arrive at Guildhall
Square at 2.30pm.

Alcohol has been banned from the open-air event in Custom
House Square in Belfast. To ensure the no-drink ban is
enforced, Belfast City Council, which is supporting the
celebrations for the first time this year, has hired
private security guards.

All emblems, including tricolour flags, have been banned to
help ensure an inclusive atmosphere.

The procession, featuring participants from community
groups across Belfast, was to leave the City Hall at
12.45pm and arrive at 1.30pm at Custom House Square for the
main event - live music headlined by The Bodyrockers.

There will also be parades in Downpatrick, Newry, Armagh,
Enniskillen and Lurgan.


400,000 Turn Out In Chilly Dublin To Enjoy Parade

Fiona Gartland

Up to 400,000 people turned out on the chilly Dublin
streets to watch this year's St Patrick's Day parade in

High winds closed four of the 16 grandstands along the
route and ticket holders, who had paid €60 each to view the
event in comfort, were accommodated in alternative stands
or at a cordoned-off area outside the GPO.

A spokeswoman for the St Patrick's Festival said they were
very pleased with the turnout considering the weather. The
four grandstands had to be closed for health and safety
reasons, she said.

"They were designed to operate in winds no faster than
20mph. The wind was already that speed in the morning and
was forecast to get worse, so we had to close them. Anyone
who did not get a seat in an alternative grandstand will be
given their money back."

Good viewing spots were still at a premium, despite the
lower turn out. Green, white and orange children perched on
the window ledges of the GPO like birds, while street
traders at their feet peddled coloured pom-poms and
outsized leprechaun hats.

Led by grand marshal Ronnie Drew, some 3,000 participants
in 23 separate lots braved intermittent sleet and icy winds
to entertain the crowds.

A street seller was momentarily caught off balance by a
sudden gust that threatened to lift him by his
multicoloured balloons in to the path of the lord mayor's

But Cllr Catherine Byrne and her family disembarked safely
at the GPO grandstand to join fellow councillors,
dignitaries and President Mary McAleese. The President had
already been serenaded with Yes Sir, That's My Baby and
Baby Face by the Blue Haven Barbershop Choir from Firhouse
in Dublin.

The parade's theme of "Wishful Thinking" extended to more
than just the participants as shivering onlookers longed
for a glimpse of sunshine. But the only sun visible was the
giant orange globe leading the Cosa Meata pageant. The
Donegal arts group imagined what life might be like if
their county was a tropical Gaeltacht. With samba drums,
fiddlers and sheep in sunglasses, the group invited us to
leave the cold of Dublin and visit the sunny northwest.

The Buí Bolg arts group from Wexford brought a bride-to-
be's dream to life. However, the reality turned out to be
not so perfect, with gloating, bloated wedding guests, evil
altar servers and a drunken brawl.

Some 10 marching bands had the crowds bouncing, including
the Denis Yarmouth High School Band from Massachusetts, the
Clover Hill High School Band from Florida and the
Clondalkin Youth Band.

The Lake Highlands Highlandettes Drill Team, from Dallas,
Texas, in red cowboy hats and short skirts, drew whistles
from the crowd. And though their legs were blue beneath tan
tights, they did not win the prize for the parade's most

That honour went to the sequined, bikini-clad girls of the
Dublin arts group MaSamba, who shivered along in high heels
and Brazilian feathered head-dresses.

The most sinister pageant went to 600 students who depicted
a murky underwater world of mermaids.

© The Irish Times


Lissadell To Get €1.1m State Grant

Paddy Clancy and Martin Wall

The owners of Lissadell House in Co Sligo, the former home
of Countess Markievicz, are to receive a €1.1 million State
grant towards refurbishment of its gardens.

The balance of funding for the redevelopment of the gardens
will be raised partly through admission charges for
visitors. However, a condition of the grant is that
tourists have access at a reasonable charge.

Senior counsel Eddie Walsh, co-owner of the house with his
wife Constance Cassidy, said yesterday that, as a result of
the new funding, they would be able to fast-track major

The grant from Fáilte Ireland was made under its tourism-
product development scheme. It amounts to 45 per cent of
the cost of reclaiming and developing the gardens.

Tourism Minister John O'Donoghue said the gardens would be
a significant visitor attraction and an important tourism

A spokeswoman for Fáilte Ireland said: "The heritage value
of Lissadell garden means this is a flagship project which
has the potential to build up attracting at least 50,000
visitors a year in the northwest."

She said every year the owners would have to agree
admission times and prices with Fáilte Ireland.

"The project was fully evaluated and the decision to award
the funding of 45 per cent of eligible expenditure on the
garden was taken by the independent tourism-product
development board."

Mr Walsh, who acquired the 400-acre Lissadell estate and
some of its contents for €4.55 million more than two years
ago, said it was more than 100 years since anybody came to
see the gardens. "They have been on the downward slope for
more than 60 years and were overgrown."

He said the refurbishment included restoring the Alpine
garden, a regency-style walled garden, and the glasshouse

He anticipated that the work would be completed within 18

© The Irish Times


Rita O'Connor Foos – Farewell To Ireland Lover

Irish ancestry at heart of St. Patrick's Day wake

By Marilyn Miller
Beacon Journal staff writer

Irish music.
Irish food.
And Irish language.

All things Akron's Rita O'Connor Foos enjoyed as part of
her Irish tradition.

So it was only fitting that those who loved her honored her
memory with a traditional Irish wake.

``It really helps the bereaved with people coming in to sit
and chat in the comfort of your own home and having your
loved one there and friends to share their memories,'' said
Bernadette O'Hagan of Lurgan County -- in what they would
call the North of Ireland rather than Northern Ireland --
who flew in to attend Foos' wake.

O'Hagan pointed to the clocks in the Ecton Road home. They
were all stopped at 10:37 a.m.

``It's a symbol; that's the time the deceased's life
stopped for them and for their loved one,'' O'Hagan said.

Mrs. Foos died March 11 of cancer. She was 68.

A steady stream of neighbors, friends and relatives came to
the home Friday bearing greetings and trays of Irish
goodies. The food included corned beef, potato soup,
scones, brown bread, pies, cookies and cakes; there was
plenty to drink, too: Irish beers and Jameson Irish

The closed casket sat in the living room with an Irish flag
draped across it.

Several musicians gathered near the casket playing the
accordion, a fiddle, a guitar and a tin whistle. One
gentleman played a tune, then tapped the casket and asked:
``Did you enjoy that, Rita?''

Friends said how remarkable it was that Mrs. Foos, who had
been so active in the planning of the St. Patrick's Day
Parade in Akron for nearly 20 years, died on the day of
this year's event.

They added how perfect it was that her traditional Irish
wake fell on St. Patrick's Day.

``She was so proud of her heritage. She told me, as long as
she could remember, she was always enthralled with the
stories her family elders shared,'' said her husband.

It was no surprise when the former Rita O'Connor opted to
attend college in Ireland, became a leader in several
Irish-American groups, danced competitively among Irish
step dancers, and started teaching Irish-language classes.

Born in Marion, Mrs. Foos attended the University College
in Galway, Ireland. The president of the college tried to
dissuade her from attending, saying most Americans complain
about the food and the buildings being too cold. But she
fit in well.

She even learned Irish Gaelic, which she felt was another
way to bring her closer to the culture of her ancestors.
She hosted Irish exchange students and helped raise money
for prisoners' families in Ireland.

Mrs. Foos also loved gardening.

``She took our yard from just another yard to a smorgasbord
of color,'' said her husband of 38 years. ``In the last few
months, when she found out she was dying, she taught me how
to make Irish brown bread so I'd still be able to enjoy

She was always thinking of others.

``She loved people. She was always involved with something.
She was an advocate of Free Ireland,'' said Pat Glenn of
Akron, who heads Irish Northern Aid, a U.S.-based nonprofit
organization formed in 1970 to alleviate the suffering of
the dependents of Irish political prisoners. ``She didn't
need to be out front. She just got right in there and got
things done.''

Mrs. Foos belonged to the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a
Catholic Irish-American fraternal organization founded in
New York City in 1836.

The mission of the Hibernians then was to help Irish
immigrants find jobs and housing, as well as provide a link
to the Catholic church. Now the focus is on passing on
Irish heritage and culture.

``She was a lovely, gentle, quiet person,'' said Hibernian
member Ellen Orban, a native of Waterford, Ireland. ``She
also had a great interest in dogs, golden retrievers. She
and her husband took care of at least 30 dogs and found
good homes for them.''

Rita and Dick Foos grew up on the same street in Marion.

``There was one house between us. She went to a Catholic
school, I went to a public school,'' Dick Foos said.

They got reacquainted when she returned home from college
and he came home from the Marines.

``We grew up as friends, fell in love, but were afraid to
share our feelings for fear of risking our friendship,'' he
said. ``I didn't want to lose that; I was willing to settle
for that if that's all I could ever have.''

To his surprise, she felt the same way. He asked her to
marry him the day they shared their true feelings.

She was also active with her church and helped with the
daily free-lunch program.

``She was a daily participant of Mass at St. Bernard
Catholic Church for as long as I have been at the parish
for the past 25 years,'' said the Rev. Paul E. Schindler,
pastor at St. Bernard.

Funeral services for Mrs. Foos are at 10 a.m. today at St.
Bernard Catholic Church, 47 E. State St.


Is The Irish Shamrock A Load Of Blarney?

By Shawn Pogatchnik Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ireland — For one week a year, nursery owner Cecil
Geddis is knee-deep in shamrocks, the delicate three-leafed
plant that people the world over associate with Ireland and
St. Patrick's Day.

"You have to move fast in this business. Nobody wants to
buy a shamrock on March 18," said Geddis, whose nursery has
produced 80,000 shamrock plants, most shipped out in
cartons bearing leprechaun decorations and labeled:
"Authentic shamrock _ grown in Ireland."

While wearing a freshly cut shamrock is a fading tradition
in Ireland, a few savvy growers and seed merchants are
wooing foreign buyers and tourists with claims that the
shamrock seeds and plants they offer are unique to the
emerald isle.

"About 10 or 15 years ago, the source of shamrock seeds
disappeared, because there was in fact only one source in
the country, and the man died. He didn't pass it on to
anybody else!" said Thomas Quearney, owner of a specialist
Dublin seed importer, Mr. Middleton Garden Shop.

Quearney claims to have identified a new secret source for
seeds that he soon will sell in packets of 100 for just
under $5. "These grow genuine shamrocks. It's not clover at
all," he said.

Botanists say that's a load of blarney.

"Shamrock only exists on St. Patrick's Day. Every other day
of the year, it's just young clover," said botanist Charles
Nelson, Ireland's leading shamrock expert.

He has identified four varieties of clover _ in layman's
terms: white, yellow, black and red _ that Irish people
label shamrock. Each, he says, thrives in the wilds and as
garden weeds across the globe.

"There's two principal myths about shamrock: that it's
unique to Ireland, and that it never flowers," Nelson said
by telephone.

"But you can find it easily from Tasmania to North America
to the mountains of South Africa. It's probably growing
outside my front door," said Nelson, who's now vacationing
on a volcanic island off the coast of Morocco.

According to legend, as St. Patrick spread Christianity
through Ireland in the 5th century, he seized upon the
three leaves of a clover to illustrate the concept of
trinity _ God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit _ all springing
from the same source.

Historians say the first written references to "shamrocks"
as part of St. Patrick's Day celebrations don't appear
until the early 18th century.

One traveling Protestant minister recorded in his diary in
1726: "This Plant (white clover) is worn by the People in
their Hats upon the 17. Day of March yearly (which is
called St. Patrick's Day.) it being a Current Tradition,
that by this Three Leafed Grass, he emblematically set
forth to them the Mystery of the Holy Trinity."

The name "shamrock" is actually an English transliteration
from the original Gaelic name for young clover: "seamra"
(pronounced "shom-ruh") for clover and "og" for young. In
British royal symbols, the shamrock for centuries has
symbolized Ireland, just as the rose denotes England and
the thistle Scotland.

While people associate the three-leafed shamrock with
Ireland, the Irish Republic's official symbol is the harp,
which appears on Irish coins and government publications.
However, Ireland's tourism board and national airline, Aer
Lingus, use shamrocks as their symbols.

Today's shamrock sellers reportedly rely on imported clover
seeds _ if only because Ireland has no indigenous
commercial seed producer for any plant. Reports that
Ireland's shamrocks are produced by seeds from New Zealand
or Canada have provoked politicians to demand that the
government should somehow make the shamrock exclusively

That appears unlikely. At the Irish Seed Saver Association,
a charity that protects about 650 varieties of apple trees,
grains and potatoes, the future of the shamrock isn't even
on the agenda.

"It's a nice notion, to believe in mythic plants," said
Jill Newton, the seed bank coordinator. "But most of the
clovers we have here are similar to much of Europe. They're
hardly special or endangered."

Nor does she regret Ireland's modern disinterest in pinning
sprigs of the plant to one's chest on St. Patrick's Day.

"I've never worn a shamrock. I wouldn't want to kill a
plant just to wear it," she said. "It's one of saddest
things we do, killing plants just to look at them."

On the Net:

Nelson's guide to shamrocks,

Mr. Middleton shop,

Irish Seed Saver Association,


A Final Toast To 40-Year Home Of City's Irish

Knights hall will close after St. Pat's events, but
members' eyes still smiling

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Matt Meshell, left, Mike Griffin and Jerri Jones joke this
week at Knights of Columbus Council 803's old clubhouse,
which is expected to be razed for Midtown redevelopment.
Dave Rossman: For the Chronicle (Click below to see pic)

It's billed as an "Irish Farewell," and today's St.
Patrick's Day bash will be the last for Knights of Columbus
Council 803's storied old clubhouse. The building, long a
gathering spot for the city's Irish, likely will be sold
and razed for Midtown redevelopment. But don't expect black
crepe or effusions of sorrow.

A treasured annual ritual may be ending, but you can bet
your last shamrock that spirits will be high. Bagpipes will
sound and libations will be poured. And who knows? Maybe a
son or daughter of Erin will dance an impromptu jig out of
sheer delight.

Today's party — the first was held more than 40 years ago —
will start at 5 p.m. at the Catholic fraternal group's
Louisiana Street headquarters. On Saturday, KC members and
friends will return to the clubhouse at noon to board
trucks to ride in the 46th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
A second, post-parade party will be at the hall from 4 to 7
p.m. Saturday.

"This is going to be the last hurrah," said Mike Griffin,
an organizer of today's party and chairman of the St.
Patrick's Day Parade Commission. Griffin, former owner of
Griff's Inn, a popular Irish-themed bar, said plans call
for finding a new home for Council 803, the city's oldest
Knights of Columbus unit, in the Midtown area.

But he fretted years may pass before the St. Patrick's Day
parties are revived.

"It's not going to happen overnight," he said.
"Unfortunately, we may lose a lot of the members in making
the transition."

Inclusive party day

Griffin became involved in Houston's Irish festivities as a
St. Thomas University freshman in the early 1960s. His
arrival in the city from Boston coincided with the efforts
of two Houston radio personalities to reinvigorate the
city's long-dormant St. Patrick's Day parade.

On St. Patrick's Day, Griffin said, "everyone is Irish."

"It's a fun day," he said. "Everyone is waving at you. Hey,
they're glad to be alive. Glad to be in Houston. They're
just smiling and happy — heaven knows we need it."

Houston's St. Patrick's Day Parade, which will start at 2
p.m. Saturday at Hamilton and Texas and this year will
feature about 130 entries, traces its roots to the 1880s.

The Knights of Columbus festivities, Griffin said, were a
natural outgrowth of holiday conviviality.

Parts of what is the Midtown area were an Irish enclave in
the late 19th and early 20th centuries, noted Pete Little,
a former parade grand marshal and host of KPFT-FM's Irish
music program.

Council 803 moved to 2616 Louisiana in 1937, first
occupying a grand old mansion, then, when that building was
destroyed by fire in the mid-1960s, erecting today's low-
slung white building.

The hall has seen jollity, sadness and touching
comradeship. When one member's brother was stricken with
terminal illness, Council 803 Knights staged a "living
wake," at which the ailing man — attending the meeting on a
hospital gurney — was lauded by his friends. Money gathered
at the session helped defray his hospital expenses.

The hall, too, has been touched by quirkiness.

Members insist the new building was constructed using the
blueprints for a local funeral home. And although its front
door now faces Dennis Street, the building still bears the
old mansion's Louisiana Street address.

Knights of Columbus deputy district director Jerri Jones,
who also is past grand knight for Council 803, said that
the fraternal group, which raises money for Catholic
charities, was the club of choice for the city's early
Irish-American leaders. Among them, he said, were the Foley
brothers of department store fame.

Those past members still are remembered, their photos
arranged amid religious icons and names engraved on small
brass plaques set in the dark wood of the back-room bar.

Shifting demographics

Today, the Irish have dispersed throughout the region —
Katy is now home to an Irish cultural group — and the old
neighborhoods rapidly are filling with newcomers drawn by
upscale apartment and condominium development.

Membership of Council 803, which last year celebrated its
100th anniversary, is aging.

And although it claims almost 400 members, about half are
honorary and only about 60 regularly attend meetings.
Monday night hamburger dinners are among the routine social

Increasingly, members are Hispanic — one of the headliners
for today's entertainment, The Irish Accent Band, will
offer a fusion of Irish and Latin music.

Jones cited the area's real estate boom as the primary
reason the group must find a new home. Though the KC hall
has not yet been sold, club officials are optimistic a sale
may soon occur.

"We've got to find ourselves another home," Jones said.
Maybe, he said, Council 803 will find quarters at Midtown's
new Sacred Heart Co-cathedral, under construction, or at a
small venue on Texas.

"Right now," he said, "we're just up in the air."

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