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March 23, 2007

Paisley To Meet Blair For Further Talks

News about Ireland & the Irish

BN 03/23/07 Paisley To Meet Blair For Further Talks
IT 03/23/07 NI Executive May Not Start Work Until May
BT 03/23/07 DUP Silent As Devolution Talks Reach Critical Phase
BB 03/23/07 Clarity Call Urged On £1bn Pledge
BB 03/23/07 Take Last Devolution Steps - Bush
DJ 03/23/07 'Sickening' Vandalism Attack On Bogside Museum
BT 03/23/07 'Mad Dog' RTE Spot Rubbished
BT 03/23/07 Stakeknife May Be The 'Republican Haddock'
BB 03/23/07 UDA 'Still Involved In Extortion'
RF 03/20/07 RFJ: Photos And Clips From Philly
DT 03/23/07 Bishop Launches Website To Help 'Undocumented Irish'
IV 03/23/07 Kennedy Takes Lead As McCain Steps Back
IV 03/23/07 CNN: O'Dowd- Immigration Debate Not About Borders
BT 03/23/07 Opin: Tough Road To Devolution Best Route For Ulster
BT 03/23/07 Opin: Too Soon To Be Shocked, Worse To Come
BG 03/18/07 Boston: Boom Times, Crackdown Slow Emerald Wave
BG 03/19/07 Boston: Going Full Circle
FH 03/23/07 GOAL Present Cheque to Holy Cross School
SO 03/19/07 John Duddy And Grainne: A Love Story
BN 03/23/07 President To Meet Pope In Vatican
IT 03/23/07 Cheaper Flights Across Atlantic Predicted After Deal
IT 03/23/07 Rolling Stones Return To Slane Castle
DJ 03/23/07 Bishop Daly Celebrates 50 Years Of Priesthood


Paisley To Meet Blair For Further Talks On Power-Sharing

23/03/2007 - 11:31:17

DUP leader Ian Paisley is due to hold unscheduled talks with
British Prime Minister Tony Blair today as uncertainty continues
to surround the planned restoration of devolution in the North.

The talks come as the DUP's executive prepares to meet tomorrow
to make a decision on whether to enter a power-sharing Executive
by Monday's deadline.

Last night, the party's officer board held talks late into the
night on the matter, but the discussions ended without any
decision or comment being made.

The DUP has so far failed to commit itself to meeting the
deadline, which some observers believe is just a ploy to get more
concessions from London.

The British government has insisted that the DUP and Sinn Féin
must be sitting together in a power-sharing Executive by Monday
or the whole devolution project in the North will be scrapped

However, Northern Secretary Peter Hain hinted yesterday that some
kind of fudge deal may be agreed to give the DUP breathing space
due to its continued reluctance to share power.

Such a delay would anger Sinn Féin and the SDLP, but the DUP
claims it is needed for unionists to ensure that republicans are
committed to the rule of law.


NI Executive May Not Start Work Until May

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor
Fri, Mar 23, 2007

The first meeting of a powersharing executive involving Sinn Féin
and the DUP could be delayed until May under current Assembly
arrangements, reliable Stormont sources have said.

If ministers are nominated, devolution restored by the Northern
Secretary and powers transferred to Stormont by Monday's
deadline, it may not be necessary for the executive to hold its
first meeting for at least five weeks.

This could fulfil the British and Irish governments' insistence
that devolution proceed next week and satisfy the DUP's desire
for a "bedding-down" period.

Such a possibility may be central to ongoing DUP discussions with
the British government and also internally when the party meets
tomorrow to discuss going into government with Sinn Féin.

Assembly sources told The Irish Times that Northern Secretary
Peter Hain will restore powers to Stormont effective from
midnight on Sunday if he is satisfied the parties will nominate
ministers to the 10 government departments.

The sources said this needs to happen by midnight tomorrow. This
would pave the way for Monday's crucial meeting of the Assembly,
at which an executive would be appointed.

If this does not happen, sources said there is no alternative in
law to Stormont's closure.

However, it is possible that a "bedding-down" period could then
commence, which may help meet the concerns of unionists sceptical
of Sinn Féin's stance on policing.

Under the terms of the St Andrews Agreement there will be no
Assembly meeting on Monday if Peter Hain does not sign a
Restoration Order.

But if events go to plan it is hoped that the d'Hondt formula to
allocate ministers to departments will be run during Monday's
meeting, a process that could take up to 90 minutes.

If the process runs smoothly members will have just three more
items on the Order Paper to address - the nomination of a new
Speaker, the election of a business committee to handle Assembly
affairs, and appointments to the Assembly Commission, which runs

It is understood a further plenary session of the Assembly is
unlikely before the Easter recess. Assembly members gather again
on April 16th but no plenary session is planned. Members instead
are expected to deal with proceedings of the Business Committee.

A plenary session is planned for the following Monday but no
questions are to be put to ministers in the chamber. Ministers'
questions are not scheduled to take place until Monday, April
30th, a full five weeks after ministers will have been appointed.

It is thus possible that no meeting of the executive would be
deemed necessary until that time at the earliest.

Government sources have insisted repeatedly there will be no
extension of Monday's deadline in the face of DUP pressure for
more time to test Sinn Féin delivery on policing.

However, if there is no meeting of the executive for some weeks
after ministers agree to take up office this could provide
sceptical DUP members, including East Derry MP Gregory Campbell
and North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds, with some time in which to
"test" republican delivery on PSNI support.

Mr Campbell told BBC Radio Ulster yesterday he was unhappy on
several counts with Sinn Féin and the British government.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said: "Our strategy has been to
hold out to get the best deal that we can. That's why there will
be more meetings right through the next 48 hours. Only then will
we be deciding what we do next Monday."

Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness said: "Come the end of Monday you
will see a first and deputy first minister and 10 other ministers

c 2007 The Irish Times


DUP Stays Silent As Devolution Talks Reach Most Critical Phase

[Published: Friday 23, March 2007 - 11:07]
By Noel McAdam

The DUP's senior officers team broke up without comment early
today as negotiations to secure the restoration of devolved
government entered their most critical phase.

The party's officers board is expected to meet again later today
ahead of the crunch meeting of its 120-strong Executive tomorrow.

As last night's meeting broke up after midnight, leader Ian
Paisley said it had been "positive", but refused to make any
further comment.

Detailed discussions with the Government on a range of issues -
including a possible 'default' mechanism to exclude Ministers,
primarily aimed at Sinn Féin - are ongoing.

The party is also maintaining contact with Treasury officials in
an attempt to improve the extra œ1bn package offered by
Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown.

Ian Paisley jnr said more progress had "got" to be made. The
Chancellor would not be "getting away" with the current package.

The North Antrim MLA said the party was continuing to attempt to
work towards success rather than failure.

"We are working extremely hard to make sure all the ducks are in
a row, " he said on BBC Northern Ireland's Hearts and Minds
programme last night.

But Mr Paisley added he "really did not know" what decision the
Executive will reach.

His party colleague, Jim Wells, said going into a power-sharing
administration with Sinn Féin would be a "bitter pill" for many
members of the party to swallow.

Sinn Féin chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said it was apparent there
are people within the DUP who are not reconciled to the idea of a
power-sharing Executive.

He said his view was that the Chancellor had also failed to "step
up to the plate" and the only real new money in the package
unveiled yesterday was coming from the Irish Government in an
unprecedented move.

Referring to the description of the main parties meeting with Mr
Brown as a " crunch brunch", he said: "There wasn't as much
crunch and brunch as people expected."

But he said the important factor was that the door remained open
to further discussions in the future.

The Chancellor confirmed œ400m of the extra funds was being
provided by the Irish government.

The Government has also signed a retail consortium agreement
involving Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, B&Q and Marks & Spencer to
create 5,000 jobs in the province.

And while Mr Brown failed to meet the parties' key demand for a
cut in corporation tax in the province to 12.5%, he announced
plans for the former head of the Inland Revenue, Sir David
Varney, to head a review of future taxation policy in Northern

It is believed the additional œ1bn will be used to stop plans for
the introduction of water charges on April 1.

The Treasury also agreed, significantly, to sever the link
between the borrowing of low-interest loans for the Northern
Ireland Executive and the raising of extra revenue through local
taxation including rates hikes and water charges.

c Belfast Telegraph


Clarity Call Urged On œ1bn Pledge

Business leaders in NI have urged clarity over œ1bn from the
government to help seal a deal on devolution.

Chancellor Gordon Brown pledged the cash if devolution is back
next Monday.

The CBI said the "true extent" of his commitment needed to be
known and the NI Manufacturing Focus Group said Mr Brown was a
"financial conjurer".

The Ulster Society of Chartered Accountants said cash should not
be used to ease water charges or other "short term consumer

The Confederation of British Industry held its annual meeting in
Belfast on Thursday evening.

Its Northern Ireland chairman, Declan Billington, said
politicians should deliver on their commitments and ensure "peace
and political stability are underpinned by an economy that gives
hope, and creates opportunities for a better life for all".

Commenting on Mr Brown's announcement he said: "Amazingly the
chancellor's headline grabbing offer of a further œ1bn is taking
the credit for œ400m donated by the Republic to a future devolved
assembly, for additional infrastructure spend.

"And as for the œ600m balance, is it simply a coincidence that
this is the same number as our 2.3% share of the national
spending plan increases, announced in the budget?"

Basil McCrea, a spokesman for the Northern Ireland Manufacturing
Focus Group, which has been calling for a cap on manufacturers'
rates bills, said Mr Brown was one of the "greatest financial
conjurers" of modern times.

"We need absolute clarity about what is on offer," he said.

"People should be under no illusion, failure to address the
crisis for manufacturing will destroy the economy.

"We must all remember that this deal is a one-off, it's our one
chance to secure the financial future of Northern Ireland and we
must not squander it."


The chairman of the Ulster Society of Chartered Accountants,
Colin Johnston, said the money secured from the chancellor should
be directed towards investment which would improve the
competitiveness of Northern Ireland business.

"Money should not be diverted into simply easing the impact of
the water charges or other short term consumer benefits," he

"It is clear that water charges will be recovered eventually from
the consumer and that any relief will therefore only be

"By contrast, moves to improve our competitiveness and capital
infrastructure could bring a permanent benefit to the local

The Northern Ireland Assembly has been suspended since October
2002, amid allegations of an IRA spy ring at Stormont.

A subsequent court case collapsed. Direct rule has been in place
since that date.

The two governments have given the parties until 26 March to set
up a power-sharing executive, otherwise Stormont will be

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/23 06:49:42 GMT


Take Last Devolution Steps - Bush

US President George W Bush has telephoned Ian Paisley and Gerry
Adams urging them to reach a deal by Monday to share power in
Northern Ireland.

A White House spokesman said Mr Bush "urged them to take the
final steps to reach agreement by 26 March on a new government
for Northern Ireland".

He said they should "work together to build a future of peace and
prosperity for the people of Northern Ireland."

Mr Bush praised "the steps they have taken to advance the peace

Meanwhile, DUP leader Ian Paisley has said late night talks with
senior members of his party had gone well.

The meeting in east Belfast went on until after midnight on

The party's ruling executive is expected to meet on Saturday to
decide whether or not they will nominate ministers to an
executive on Monday.

It is understood Mr Paisley is to hold a further meeting with
Prime Minister Tony Blair in London later on Friday.

Sinn Féin's Mitchel McLaughlin said there were still those in the
DUP who did not want power-sharing.

He told the BBC on Friday that if Monday's power-sharing deadline
was not met, the assembly should be dissolved and all assembly
members "sacked".

The Northern Ireland Assembly has been suspended since October
2002, amid allegations of an IRA spy ring at Stormont.

A subsequent court case collapsed. Direct rule has been in place
since that date.

The two governments have given the parties until 26 March to set
up a power-sharing executive, otherwise Stormont will be

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/23 07:13:48 GMT


'Sickening' Vandalism Attack On Bogside Museum

The Bloody Sunday Trust have described an attack on the Museum of
Free Derry as a "major threat" to its future.

Vandals caused substantial damage to the waterproof covering on
the roof of the Bogside museum sometime late on Wednesday night.

A spokesperson for the Trust said those responsible "obviously
came well equipped to do some serious damage."

He added: "Some of the holes in the roof covering indicate that
spades and iron bars were used. "We're not too sure if the damage
was just mindless or a serious attempt to break into the museum.
We have set this museum up on a very tight budget and, as we are
still struggling to keep it open, this will have a very serious
impact on our ability to sustain it.

"The damage caused could run into thousands of pounds to repair
and, while there is no way that anyone can get into the museum
through the roof - it is solid concrete underneath the covering
that was damaged and the building includes a sophisticated alarm
system - rain has been pouring through the holes throughout the
night and could have ruined many of the historically priceless
artefacts on display.

"We can't understand why anyone would want to attack the museum
like this. This place has been set up with the full support of
the local community, and most of the precious artefacts on
display here have also come from within the community. The items
we have on display, while of major historical and local
importance, do not have any real financial value as such, and we
don't keep any cash in the building, so anyone breaking in would
not have got anything worthwhile; all they've managed to do is to
put the future of this museum at risk."

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed on Bloody Sunday,
and whose family have donated items to the museum, said he was
"totally sickened" at the attack.

"This is an absolutely senseless attack on a facility set up to
be a positive legacy from the events of Bloody Sunday and to
educate people about what happened on that day. The museum has
many items on display that mean so much to all of the families
that lost loved ones that day.

"For example, just this week, the family of Bloody Sunday victim
John Young presented us with the clothes he was wearing when he
was murdered - clothinig they have kept for 35 years; these items
could have been destroyed on the first night they were in the
museum. Could you imagine the devastation of the families, and
others who have donated precious items to the museum, if these
items had been destroyed?


"Those that committed this act should be totally ashamed of
themselves. This was an attack on this community and on something
that means so much to this community."

23 March 2007


'Mad Dog' RTE Spot Rubbished

[Published: Friday 23, March 2007 - 09:18]
By Lisa Smyth

RTE last night rubbished claims that loyalist killer Johnny Adair
was due to appear on The Late Late Show tonight.

A number of newspapers have claimed that the former UFF boss
(below) was to appear on RTE's flagship programme to promote his
autobiography, Mad Dog.

But a RTE spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph Adair has never
been scheduled to appear on the show.

"Johnny Adair has never been booked or confirmed to appear on the
show this Friday or for any subsequent show," he said.

He said he could not comment on whether plans are under way to
invite the exiled terror boss to be interviewed by Pat Kenny at a
later stage.

It has been reported that executives at the channel gagged the
show, preventing it from interviewing the controversial loyalist

c Belfast Telegraph


Stakeknife May Be The 'Republican Haddock'

[Published: Friday 23, March 2007 - 09:14]
By Brian Rowan

The latest collusion investigation by the Police Ombudsman could
reveal yet another spy scandal.

This time it involves an Army informer - the one-time senior IRA
figure Freddie Scappaticci - whose code name was Stakeknife.

A senior intelligence source has accepted that the latest
investigation could produce findings similar to those that
emerged in the Ombudsman's report on the Special Branch handling
of the Mount Vernon UVF informer Mark Haddock.

That report - at the end of Operation Ballast - linked the senior
loyalist to a range of crimes, including multiple murders.

And the intelligence source, who spoke to this newspaper, agreed
that Scappaticci could be revealed as "the republican Haddock".

The Belfast republican - now in hiding - is under the spotlight
because of a complaint by the parents of John Dignam, who was
murdered along with two other men by the IRA in July 1992. All
three were labelled as informers.

Dignam's parents believe that Stakeknife - then a senior figure
in the IRA's internal security department - is linked to what
happened to their son.

Scappaticci was an Army agent, but the Special Branch knew of his

"He was military run - purely military," the intelligence source
told the Belfast Telegraph. "I remember the whole talk about him.
The whole talk was that he had topped (killed) people to keep
himself in place."

Keeping himself in place is a reference to Scappaticci's then
role in IRA internal security.

The intelligence source who spoke to this newspaper said the
Ombudsman would find it difficult to get to the truth of

He believed the military and MI5 would try to "push her away from
it" .

The investigation is still in its initial stages after the
complaint was received last month.

c Belfast Telegraph


UDA 'Still Involved In Extortion'

The Ulster Defence Association are "still significantly involved"
in extortion rackets, a senior police officer has confirmed.

It comes a day after the government said it was to give œ1.2m of
public money to a project aimed at moving the UDA away from
violence and crime.

Det Supt Esmond Adair of the PSNI's anti-extortion team said only
1-3% of extortion was reported to police.

He said there was "significant evidence the UDA are involved in

"We have a number of successful operations carried out this year
so far, where we have mounted three operations and 11 searches
and 10 people have been arrested."

The officer told the BBC's Nolan Show that millions of pounds is
being extorted by paramilitary groups.

It doesn't have to be paid - we have taken massive steps to
encourage members of the construction industry and small
businesses not to pay extortion

Det Supt Esmond Adair

"We are very aware that extortion is rife in Northern Ireland,"
he said.

"It is a vastly under-reported crime. We reckon that only 1-3% of
extortion is actually reported to police."

Det Supt Adair said the perception that victims who contacted
police would be attacked was not the case.

"It is a very heavy burden for someone to take that first step
forward, but when they do, we successfully prosecute those
persons who are involved in extortion.

"In my six years in dealing with extortion, we have never had any

The detective said some extortionists visited building sites and
"give a price per unit" or a "price per contract".

'Business plan'

The police have seen cheques for as much as œ100,000 being paid
to extortionists, he said.

"It doesn't have to be paid - we have taken massive steps to
encourage members of the construction industry and small
businesses not to pay extortion."

The PSNI have set up a new extortion helpline (02890922267).

It's madness - it's like the Americans handing the mafia œ1m or
œ1bn to go away

Building contractor

The œ1.2 funding for the "UDA project" was announced by Social
Development Minister David Hanson on Thursday.

The Ulster Political Research Group has spent the past six months
drawing up a business plan to persuade the government to fund a
3-year project.

Mr Hanson said: "I expect that this additional support will
deliver a quickening in pace of the work of the UPRG in their
conflict transformation work that the latest IMC report
identified was required."

The œ1.2m will be used in six areas where the UDA has a strong
presence, and to employ up to a dozen staff.

A developer who contacted the BBC's Nolan Show on Friday said he
personally knew a contractor who was paying the UDA œ700 a week
in protection money.

"It is a big contract and by the time that site is finished, he
will have paid œ92,000.

"This is going on as we speak. I had four men on that site at one
time, and they were put off that site because of their religion.

"The protection money is collected on a Friday and handed over in
an envelope in cash."

He said the building foreman was "scared for his life".

"They (the UDA) are taking about their areas being deprived -
they have put their own people out of business.

"It is so corrupt in every shape and form, and then they (the
government) turn round and give them a million quid.

"It's madness - it's like the Americans handing the mafia œ1m or
œ1bn to go away."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/23 10:20:14 GMT


RFJ: Photos And Clips From Philly

Relatives for Justice Collusion Delegation in USA

20 March 2007

Photos And Clips From Philly

Our new friends from the Irish Philadephia have sent videos and
photos of the event in Philadelphia.

They have put us on YouTube!

The links are as follows:

Raymond McCord

Paul McIlwaine

Clara Reilly

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson & Raymond McCord

Mark Thompson with cards

Mark Thompson

Theresa Slane, Clara Reilly and Pauline Davey

Sean Pender

Paul McIlwaine

Raymond McCord, Paul McIlwaine & Malachy McAllister

Raymond McCord

We all look a bit tired but as can be seen, the discussion was
very indepth and covered a lot of important ground. There is no
substitute for people hearing first hand the issues and the
experiences of people.

Also pictured is Sean Pender from the AOH National Executive, his
work along with Mike Glass, this week was faultless.

Both of these men came to Belfast the week of the publication of
the Ombudsman's Report into the killing of Rayond McCord jnr and
we all decided that we should get this visit organised. The
burden of work lay with them and they did a tremendous job. Go
Raibh M¡le Maith Agaibh.

Posted by Mark Thompson at 00:47


Derry Bishop Launches Website To Help 'Undocumented Irish'

DERRY BISHOP Dr Seamus Hegarty has launched a new website
dedicated to helping the "undocumented Irish" in the United

The updated Irish Apostolate site - - aims to
provide up-to-date analysis to ensure that Irish people will have
access to information on proposed legislative reforms for
immigrants living in the US.

Dr. Hegarty said: "I would encourage anyone with an interest in
this very important issue to sign up for our monthly newsletter
available on the website. Our own Director of the Bishops'
Commission for Emigrants, Fr Alan Hilliard, attended the Irish
Lobby for Immigration Reform organised rally in Washington DC
last week. The purpose of the rally was to call for immigration
reform on behalf of the 'undocumented' Irish in the United

"It is clear that more work is needed to ensure that the
'undocumented' receive a comprehensive reform package. We should
continue to pray for such an outcome."

Bishop Hegarty added: "While a lot of emotion surrounds Irish
emigration, we must be mindful that migration, in itself, is a
structural phenomenon of today's world. As the bishops and Irish
Church marks 50 years of service to Irish emigrants in Britain,
we must continue to rise to the challenge to be at the service of
'people on the move."

The Bishop also thanked all those who have supported the Bishops'
"Supporting Irish Abroad" (SIA) awareness campaign over the last
three years. Each year this campaign has focused on pastorally
supporting Irish emigrants in different ways.

More than 50% of the monies received over the last three years
have been allocated."

20 March 2007


Kennedy Takes Lead As McCain Steps Back

By Ray O'Hanlon

First it was McCain/Kennedy, now it's Kennedy/McCain, or even
just Kennedy. Senator Edward Kennedy was emerging this week as
the atlas of immigration reform, carrying on his shoulders the
reform lobby's effort to guide a comprehensive bill through the
booby-trapped corridors of Capitol Hill.

The emergence of Kennedy as a solo running reformer follows
reports that Senator John McCain, up until now Kennedy's main
Republican partner in the reform push, was apparently stepping
back from his front line position as a bill sponsor.

An apparent immediate consequence of McCain's new reluctance was
a failure to unveil the expected revised McCain/Kennedy bill in
advance of St. Patrick's Day, or during the visit to Washington
last week by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who talked up immigration
reform at every opportunity.

Nevertheless, observers were emphasizing that while there has
been a change in political lineup, the reform case will still be
presented to the Senate for a vote, while the House of
Representatives is also poised to consider its own bill, one that
is strongly supported by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

According to sources, Kennedy, who is describing his own position
as "determined," is this week moving to present a reform bill to
the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been given the green light
to do so by its chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy.

This bill will be a dusted down version of the McCain/Kennedy
measure passed by the committee a year ago.

The committee, which now has a Democratic majority, will consider
Kennedy's bill "shortly," according to one source.

Senator McCain is being seen this week as not necessarily less
supportive of reform, but more wary, this because he has been
taking criticism from GOP supporters on the campaign trail.

"Immigration, an issue that has divided Republicans in
Washington, is reverberating across the party's presidential
campaign field, causing particular complications for Senator John
McCain of Arizona," the New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Times reported that McCain said he was "reconsidering his
views" on how immigration law might be changed and "appeared to
distance himself" from Kennedy.

One particular proposal that seems to be crating distance is that
of "touch-back." The original McCain/Kennedy bill envisaged a
path to earned legalization for illegals and undocumented while
they remained in the U.S.

The "touch-back" idea would mean applicants having to first quit
the U.S. in order to get back in. McCain seemed to be favoring
that position as of this week. A call to his Senate office had
not been returned by presstime.

Confirmation that McCain was suddenly in a quandary over
immigration reform was separately confirmed to the Echo last week
by Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Dean said that McCain had "backed away" from the revised bill and
Kennedy was now "carrying it."

Dean said he still expected passage of reform but said it would
be "tough."

He cited "complications of Republican presidential politics" as
the reason why McCain was now reconsidering his position, a view
backed up by Tuesday's Times report.

Kennedy, meanwhile, could look for a Senate Republican co-sponsor
for his bill who is not running for president. Lindsey Graham,
Chuck Hagel or Mitch McConnell are possibilities. Sam Brownback
of Kansas, who is seeking the GOP nomination, is another.

Brownback supports reform and spoke at an Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform rally in Washington last summer. He released a
St. Patrick's Day message last week and took part in the parade
in Des Moines, Iowa.

Kennedy, meanwhile, is nothing if not experienced when it comes
to immigration reform battles.

"Senator Kennedy has shifted tactics and wants to go with the
bill that came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It's a
stronger bill than what [ultimately] passed the Senate last year,
and quite frankly, it's faster," said a spokeswoman.

"This is a bit like the Northern Ireland peace process. It ebbs
and flows and you can have a bad week. There's a need for the
dust to settle," said an informed Washington observer.

After the Echo went to press Tuesday, Senator Kennedy released a
statement expressing support for the Flake/Gutierrez reform bill
in the House.

"I applaud my friends Rep. Flake and Gutierrez for moving forward
on immigration reform and introducing their bill on Thursday,"
Kennedy said.

"They are our valued partners in this effort to forge a tough but
fair bill that strikes the right balance between protecting our
security, strengthening our economy, and enacting laws that
uphold our humanity.

"While we're still negotiating in the Senate, I'm optimistic that
soon we will have legislation and I'm determined to make 2007 the
year that we fix our broken system. The American people have
waited long enough."


O'Dowd: Immigration Debate Not About Borders

CNN's People you Should Know:


(CNN) -- Conversations concerning modern-day immigration, legal
or otherwise, tend to focus on the steady stream of immigrants
from Latin America.

But restricting the discussion of immigration in the United
States to one group of people from one area of the world,
oversimplifies what is a much broader topic, Niall O'Dowd,
chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, told CNN.
"This isn't just a Hispanic problem, or an Asian problem, or any
kind of problem," he said of immigration. "This isn't something
to fear, but something to embrace. This is a country of

As the chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration, an
organization with 28 chapters across the country, O'Dowd is
looking for immigration reform to help thousands of undocumented
Irish in the United States. Specifically, he said, the group
wants legislation to provide work visas and a process for
undocumented workers to become legal.

"What we want is a work-based system whereby people who are
providing services, who are in a position to work hard, who are
in a position to give back to this economy, can do so in a legal
fashion," he said.

According to O'Dowd, there are about 50,000 undocumented Irish in
the United States, primarily on the East Coast, most of whom came
with tourist visas and overstayed in order to work. O'Dowd's
motives are largely personal. In 1979, as a 25-year-old, he left
Ireland to come to the United States, and was undocumented for a
time. "Once you've walked in the shoes of being undocumented, you
never forget it," he said. "I think if native-born Americans knew
how great their country looked, or how tremendous the opportunity
looks to people who come here, they'd have a very different view
of immigration," he said.

"I feel I have had my chance at the American dream, and it ... is
very important to me to allow other Irish people to experience
the greatest country in the world and live their version of the

In addition to leading the Irish Lobby for Immigration, O'Dowd
also founded Irish America Magazine and Irish Voice newspaper in
New York.



Opin: Tough Road To Devolution Is Best Route For Ulster

[Published: Friday 23, March 2007 - 11:36]

I hope that next week sees the end of Direct Rule in Northern
Ireland. Decisions about the NHS, schools or local taxes in
Northern Ireland should be taken by politicians who are
accountable to people here.

I don't blame unionists for being cautious. It's difficult enough
for Conservatives to regard Sinn Féin as political opponents
rather then terrorists.

We remember the Brighton bomb and the murder of Ian Gow.

Unionist leaders have lived for years with the IRA's threat to
their lives. They have followed the coffins of relatives and
friends slaughtered by terrorists.

Little wonder that they want proof that Sinn Féin's declared
support for democracy and the rule of law is permanent and

But unionists can also now point to major political success. The
Dublin government has dropped its constitutional claim to
Northern Ireland.

Republicans have accepted that Northern Ireland remains part of
the United Kingdom unless the people vote otherwise.

The IRA has decommissioned its arsenal. Sinn Féin has, at last,
agreed to support the police and the courts.

Each week at Westminster, I receive a stack of papers dealing
with every aspect of government in Northern Ireland. Often, these
policies are not debated in Parliament at all.

At best, we get a 90-minute debate in committee, with no scope to
propose or vote on amendments. It is a travesty of democratic

Northern Ireland faces huge challenges. The economy is far too
dependent on the public sector. Politicians need to find ways to
help enterprise flourish in a fiercely competitive global

In that context, economic partnership between north and south and
east and west are not alternatives. Each is essential and
complements the other.

The education and health services need reform.

We need to build a world-class system of vocational education and
training and have an NHS where we trust doctors and nurses, not
government targets.

It would be so much better for reforms to be driven from within
Northern Ireland rather than by Direct Rule Ministers.

To create a stable, power-sharing Executive is a tough challenge.

To build a shared future for Northern Ireland is a still more
daunting task.

It won't be easy.

The scars of 35 years of violence will not heal quickly, at least
a start can now be made.

By working together on the practical decisions that affect
people's lives, Northern Ireland's politicians can establish a
basis on which, over time, real trust can be built.

c Belfast Telegraph


Opin: It's Still Too Soon To Be Shocked, Because There Is Worse
To Come

[Published: Friday 23, March 2007 - 09:16]

The two meetings I had were almost 11 years apart - the first
with masked men from the IRA and the second with Freddie
Scappaticci, the agent known as Stakeknife.

Both were in Belfast.

Now, all these years later, in the playing out of our post-war
peace, the two have come to be linked.

Indeed, we may just be at the beginning of something on the
republican side that will match everything that emerged recently
when the Police Ombudsman dug deep into the activities of the
loyalist Mark Haddock.

Haddock - a senior member of the UVF in north Belfast - was a
Special Branch agent who was paid tens of thousands of pounds.

He was also a serial killer.

And just months after all of those revelations, we now have the
possibility of a similar scandal linked to Scappaticci or
Stakeknife - "the republican Haddock", as an intelligence source
described him.

The Police Ombudsman is once more about to dig deep into our
dirty war.

This time the investigation is linked to a complaint from the
parents of John Dignam who was murdered by the IRA in July 1992.

His parents, Irene and Patrick, believe that Stakeknife - then a
senior figure in the IRA's internal security department and an
Army agent - is linked to their son's murder.

"The military will push her (the Police Ombudsman) away from it,
and MI5 will push her away from it."

This is an intelligence source suggesting that the Ombudsman's
investigators will find it difficult to get to the truth of

In July 1992, from behind balaclavas, the IRA described to me the
court martial and execution of three of their men - John Dignam,
Aidan Starrs and Gregory Burns.

The night before, I was in south Armagh where the bodies had been
discovered at different locations.

And, hours later, on the journey to that meeting with the IRA, I
was accompanied by the journalist Eamonn Mallie.

We didn't know the driver of the car, our eyes were covered with
sticky tape and we wore dark glasses.

At a house we were frisked before being allowed to remove the
glasses and the tape. In the room two men from the IRA wore

The statement on the executions of Dignam, Starrs and Burns was
written on tissue paper, and it was full of detail.

All three men were members of the IRA, all were alleged to be
informers and all were said to be linked to the murder of a
Portadown woman called Margaret Perry, who had been missing from
her home for over a year.

Her body had just been discovered in a shallow grave in Co Sligo.

The IRA statement claimed that Burns was "trained and handled" by
British Military Intelligence.

It gave details of what he was paid - a monthly salary of œ200, "
plus regular payments of between œ100-œ300 for specific pieces of
information ".

The IRA listed the codenames of his handlers - Neil, Nick, Jeff
and Sue, as well as an MI5 "overseer - an Englishman codenamed

Starrs and Dignam, the IRA claimed, worked for the Special

"Dignam was handled by a man codenamed Marty, whom he contacted
by phone at Portadown RUC barracks on a telephone number with six
digits," the IRA told us.

We were also told that Dignam had provided information that had
led to the seizure of rifles, and he had helped the Special
Branch "build a picture of the local IRA structure in north
Armagh as well as the arrangements and general locations of IRA
training camps."

This is more of the stuff of the dirty war and it is about to be
examined once more by investigators from the Ombudsman's office.

How much of what the IRA claimed back in July 1992 at the time of
that triple execution will stand up to scrutiny?

When the men in the balaclavas finished reading the statement, I
left with Eamonn Mallie, our eyes again covered with tape and
dark glasses.

We were driven to where we had been picked up.

Eleven years later by arrangement I met the republican Freddie
Scappaticci who had just been revealed as the Army agent

He denied that of course, but I didn't believe him.

Now there's a question to be answered. Is he "the republican
Haddock" ?

And is this the next scandal waiting to be revealed?

What if Scappaticci can be linked to the interrogation and
executions of Dignam, Starrs and Burns?

And what if that only begins to scratch the surface of a story of
another agent linked to multiple murders?

The questions are the same as in the Haddock case.

Who knew what and when?

And was all of this the norm in a war with no rules?

At the time of the Haddock revelations, I wrote that it was too
soon to be shocked.

Now, the Ombudsman's investigators are about to shine a torch on
another dark place, and, when that happens, we will see more of
the secrets and the scandals of our dirty war.

And it will still be too soon to be shocked, because, in this
place, in the peace after the war, there is more and worse to

c Belfast Telegraph


Boom Times, Crackdown Slow Emerald Wave

By Kevin Cullen, Globe Staff
March 18, 2007
First of two parts

A couple of months ago, David Knox and his girlfriend, Elaine,
threw in the towel. After seven years in the Boston area, they
were tired of looking over their shoulders, tired of being told
there was no way they could become legal residents, and so they
decided to move back to Ireland.

About 100 of their friends gathered at Bad Abbots, a Quincy pub,
to bid the couple farewell. A band, Tara Hill, serenaded them
with the appropriately titled "Leaving on a Jet Plane." Knox
hugged his teammates on the pub's soccer team. Elaine's eyes

The bittersweet celebration, full of laughs, heartfelt toasts and
not a few tears, was reminiscent of the "wakes" the Irish held
for those sailing off to America a century ago, never to return.
But these days, the wakes are held in pubs in Dorchester and
Brighton, or in apartments in Quincy and South Boston, for those
heading home.

Ireland's booming economy and the crackdown on illegal
immigration that followed the September 11, 2001, terrorist
attacks have combined to produce a reversal of migration patterns
for those who have long made up the biggest, and most
influential, ethnic group in Boston.

Put simply, more people are returning to Ireland, and fewer are
replacing them, reversing a pattern of immigration that was
established in the late 1840s, when Ireland's potato blight
killed 1 million people and sent 2 million others scurrying for
the ships.

In one generation, Boston was transformed from an overwhelmingly
Protestant city in which most of the inhabitants traced their
ancestry to England, to a largely Roman Catholic city in which
thousands had roots in Ireland. The Irish came to dominate Boston
and the metropolitan area -- first its politics, then its
commerce -- like no other ethnic group, putting their stamp on a
place that is universally regarded as the most Irish city in

But today it is a paler shade of green; the city is fast losing
its distinctive Irishness. Some will mourn the change, and some
will not.

There are many immigrant stories in the new Boston. The Irish
experience is one of them.

The successive waves that made Boston a famous outpost of Irish
culture, from traditional music to Gaelic games, have suddenly
ebbed. According to FAS, Ireland's training and employment
authority, only 1,700 Irish went to the United States last year
looking for work, many of them headed for Boston. That compares
to 23,000 in 1990.

Trades once dominated by the Irish worker -- often undocumented,
but who was checking? -- are increasingly the domain of other
ethnic groups. The painters, roofers, house cleaners, and elder
care workers who so often were Irish are now more likely to be
Brazilian. And the number of Irish brogues that once greeted
people at restaurants in the Boston area, and especially on Cape
Cod during the summer, have dwindled, as the number of Irish
college students taking summer jobs here has been halved since

The cachet and freedom, both economic and social, that drew young
Irish immigrants even as Ireland's economy boomed has been
diminished. In its place are the unsettling realities of life for
immigrants of any nationality who outstay their visas.

No longer do Irish newcomers get the break they often did, even
in Boston, where first- and second-generation Irish-Americans
dominated law enforcement. Deportations, once almost unheard-of
except for those arrested for serious crime, are increasingly
common. In 1993 only six Irish people were deported from the
United States; in 2003 it was 75, and the number has continued to
rise at about that rate.

The numbers aren't large, and no one is saying the old double-
standard was ever fair. But for the Irish, the message is loud --
and startling.

"The deportations were a slap across the face, a wake up call,"
says Brian O'Donovan, the host of WGBH radio's weekly "Celtic
Sojourn" program.

Culturally, O'Donovan said, the result is an immigrant community
that is less confident, more wary, less outgoing, more confined
to the margins -- the opposite of the Irish experience in Boston.

Boston's myriad Irish pubs -- where immigrants have historically
lined up jobs, formed sports teams, and staved off homesickness
by listening to music or watching sports that remind them of
Ireland -- are less busy and have assumed a new, telling role:
hosting legal clinics to advise immigrants how to navigate living
in a place that is less hospitable to them than it was to members
of their parents' and grandparents' generations.

Christopher Lavery, an immigration lawyer, is constantly telling
his clients that the days when the Irish could expect a break in
Boston are long gone.

"It's a new world since 9/11," Lavery says.

Another telling barometer of change in the Irish community is in
its beloved diversions. Several teams that play the Gaelic games
of hurling and football have folded or consolidated for want of
players. And the once ubiquitous traditional music sessions in
the city's pubs are fewer in number and now more common in the
suburbs, where Americans increasingly make up the circle of

Larry Reynolds, the Galway-born fiddler who is chairman of the
local branch of the traditional music society Comhaltas Ceoltoiri
Eireann, says Irish-Americans have filled the void left by so
many Irish-born musicians returning home. But he worries for the
future. He believes Boston's Irishness has depended as much on
the constant wave of immigrants as it did on those with Irish
parents or grandparents who have settled, assimilated, and moved
to the suburbs. Immigrants provided an authentic tie to the old

"We're losing that, and that's very worrisome for the future," he


Even as Irish influence in cities like New York, Chicago, and San
Francisco waned with the influx of other ethnic groups, Boston
remained the last of the big American cities thought of as Irish.
But the Irish ancestral makeup of the city shrank 27 percent
between 1990 and 2000, according to the US Census, and will
continue to shrink, given current immigration trends.

According to the 2000 US Census, there are nearly 35 million
Americans who claim Irish ancestry, almost nine times the number
of people in Ireland. Nearly 25 percent of Massachusetts
residents make that claim, the highest of any state and double
the national average.

Assessing the number living here illegally is harder. The Irish
government estimates there are about 25,000, most of them in the
New York and Boston areas, while immigration advocates say the
figure is twice that.

In the 1980s and 1990s, some 70,000 Irish immigrants benefited
from visa programs aimed specificially at them. Named for Brian
Donnelly, the former congressman from Dorchester, and Bruce
Morrisson, the former congressman from Connecticut, those
programs eased the crunch on thousands of Irish people living
mostly in the New York and Boston areas. But there has been no
ready path to legal status since then, and now Irish immigration
activists are joining with other immigrant groups supporting a
bipartisan bill sponsored by US senators Edward M. Kennedy of
Massachusetts and John McCain of Arizona that would open the
possibility of legalization.

Raymond L. Flynn, who was mayor of Boston during the mid-1980s,
says the community's history of assimilation, and the role of
Irish immigrants to US military service, should count for
something in that debate. He considers the Irish, who encountered
discrimination and animosity when they arrived in Boston in the
19th century, not only a success story, but also a cautionary
tale for anyone who would dismiss any new immigrant group as
being unable to assimilate.

"There's much more hardship in the Irish immigrant community than
there was when I was mayor," Flynn says. "There's also less of a
sense that this is an Irish town. And that's because that sense
of the Irish community renewing itself, over and over again, is

In scores of interviews with Irish Bostonians, that sense of
decline comes through clearly. Especially those caught in the
legalization vise are a disillusioned, frustrated lot, whose
perceptions of America in general, and Boston in particular, have
changed, even as their desire to live here has not.

Like many an Irishman before, Paul Ladd decided that his future
lay in America.

And like many a romantic before, he wasn't leaving until the love
of his life agreed to go with him.

Jenny Ladd told the idealistic young man who would later become
her husband to get lost.

She had a delivery job in their native County Cork that she
wanted to keep. Paul impulsively bought her a Shannon-to-Boston
airline ticket, anyway. Again, she said no. Months passed, and he
bought a second ticket. That, too, expired, unused.

But then Jenny unexpectedly lost her job. She didn't want to go
on the dole. Paul bought another Aer Lingus ticket, and the third
time was the charm.

Paul and Jenny landed at Logan Airport in 1995, with $250 in cash
between them and paperwork indicating they could stay for 90

"We had only one thing on our mind: Get work fast," Paul says.

Following the advice of others, they hit the pubs in Brighton,
asking where they could find jobs.

"I had work the following morning, roofing," Paul says. His first
job was putting a roof on Shoppers World in Framingham.

Within a week Jenny had a painting job. Within a year she had her
own business, cleaning houses. She got a second job, in the
afternoon, serving as a nanny for a family in Brookline, which
also secured them a place to stay, rent-free.

Jenny called home and told her mother they were living just a few
blocks from where John F. Kennedy was born.

Within three years, Paul had opened his own roofing business. He
got a general contractor's license and a tax number, following
the unwritten code that Irish immigrants who overstay their
visitor visas lived by: If you pay your taxes, and keep your nose
clean, the government leaves you alone.

By 2001 Jenny had given up her cleaning business so that she
could run the roofing company books. Paul had 16 employees,
mostly a mix of Irish and Brazilians.

But 9/11 changed everything. A change in the law after the
terrorist attacks made it impossible for illegal immigrants to
get, or as with the Ladds, to renew driver's licenses. Last
August Paul and Jenny got pulled over in New Hampshire in his
roofing truck, a routine commercial vehicle check. His driver's
license had expired last March. They were arrested and now face

A few days before Christmas, they stood before a federal judge in
a building named for their hero, John F. Kennedy. Their case was
continued to next month. The Ladds love America and don't want to
leave it.

"Our American dream," Jenny says, "became our American


That the Ladds even got a chance to fight their deportation in
court is unusual. Like those from 26 other countries, the Irish
forfeit their right to challenge allegations that they have
overstayed their three-month visas. It is a trade-off that
Ireland and other friendly nations have with the United States:
easy access to the country, but summary deportations for most
people who stay on longer than allowed.

What happened to Niall Breslin is far more typical.

About a year ago Breslin and another Irishman, Brian McGovern,
drove north from Boston to New Hampshire. A man in Boston who had
a vacation home had heard that Breslin and McGovern were house
painters and offered them a side job.

Up near Littleton, N.H., Breslin turned onto a country road and
slowed to take a turn at a red light. A police officer pulled him
over, saying he hadn't come to a complete stop before taking the
turn. As he explained why he didn't have a valid driver's
license, he briefly hoped that the police officer, with her Irish
surname, might cut him some slack.

But his lifelong belief that New England was something of a New
Ireland was dashed when he and McGovern soon found themselves in
chains. Because they were arrested within 100 miles of the
Canadian border, Breslin and his friend were treated as high-risk
prisoners and placed in a high-security prison in Vermont.

"We had cash in our pockets," Breslin says. "We said we'd pay for
our flights home."

But he had entered, unaware, a changed world, one without the
wink and nod for certain visitors.

Breslin, 28, had grown up in Northern Ireland during a virtual
civil war, but said he had never got in trouble with the law and
stayed clear of the paramilitary groups.

"During the Troubles I got stopped by the police and the
[British] army but never got lifted," he said, during an
interview in Ballymena, in Northern Ireland's heartland. "Never
did I think I would go to America and end up in jail."

After a month in detention, Breslin and his friend were deported,
their belongings left behind in an apartment in Dorchester.
Breslin admitted he had stayed in the US five years longer than
allowed, but he said he worked, paid taxes, and would have done
anything or paid anything to be legalized.

He considers his treatment degrading.

"I grew up hearing people say there are more Irish in Boston than
in Ballymena," he says. "I don't think that's true anymore."


They sat at one of the red formica tables in the Eire Pub, the
bar in Adams Village where Ronald Reagan won over the blue-collar
Irish Americans who always voted Democrat, a demographic Bill
Clinton took back with a similar populist putsch a decade later.

"I worry about him all the time," Teresa Ferry said, glancing at
her 25-year-old son, Dennis, who sat next to his mother. "He's
looking over his shoulder all the time. It's no way to live."

Donal and Teresa Ferry were in from Donegal, visiting their son,
who moved to Boston three years ago. As they sat, trading gossip
about home, there was an unspoken tension. The Ferrys were
worried desperately about their son, about his unsettled, illegal
status in Boston, but they didn't want to come right out and tell
him to come home.

"He's a big lad," his father said, when Dennis was briefly out of
earshot. "He can decide things for himself."

Teresa Ferry's eyes told another story. She wanted him home. And
for two weeks, while they visited Dennis's new world, shopping at
Filene's Basement, strolling along Wollaston Beach, her eyes
pleaded with him to come back.

But Dennis mostly avoided her gaze.

Like a lot of young Irish men, Dennis came here on a lark, just
to play Gaelic football. But he got some work. He was an Aer
Lingus carpenter -- that is, he decided to be a carpenter on the
flight from Shannon. Some young men have given up playing Gaelic,
which is as rough as American football but played without helmets
or pads. They can't afford getting hurt and not being able to

"I could never give up football," Dennis said wistfully. "It
makes me feel alive."

Dennis says he knows it is risky playing such a physical sport
without health insurance, or a green card.

"A fellow I know fell on a job and broke his back," he said. "We
had a time for him. I broke my hand playing football last year. I
lost three months of work."

His mother bolted up.

"You never told me you broke your hand," she said, accusingly.

Dennis shrugged.

He is one of seven siblings, ranging in age from 12 to 30. Two of
his brothers are working in Dublin. But Dennis, like a lot of
rural Irish, doesn't like Dublin, seeing it as too expensive and
not as enticing as America.

"You can live better in the States," he said. "I like the
freedom, the mix of cultures, the strong Irish community, the

Across Adams Street, in Greenhills Bakery, they were baking brown
bread as good as any back home. All the Irish newspapers are for
sale at Gerard's, next to the bakery. In the Eire, Johnny
O'Connor, who left Sligo 30 years ago but whose accent is thicker
than his bushy mustache, is behind the bar, pouring Donal Ferry a
pint of Smithwick's, a beer brewed in Ireland.

"Now," O'Connor sang, taking a $5 bill, handing back $1.75 in
change so that a pint of Smithwick's, like just about everything
else, is about 50 percent cheaper in Dorchester than it is in
Dublin. "You're welcome, you are."

Dennis says he will stay and take his chances, hoping both that
Congress passes immigration reform and that his football team has
enough members to field a team this spring.


There was no happier patch in Boston on the afternoon of Sept. 17
than Peter Nash's unpretentious, eponymous pub in Dorchester.

Nash is a native of County Kerry, in the west of Ireland, as were
nearly all of the 50 people who sat around the dark wood bar,
toasting Kerry's thrashing of Mayo in the All-Ireland Gaelic
football final.

But even amid the "Up Kerry!" shouts, Nash put aside his cider
and his euphoria, turning wistful.

"You know," he said, folding his arms, glancing around a pub that
wasn't even half full, "five or six years ago, we would have had
two or three hundred people here on a day like this. But they're
all gone."

It is hard to accurately measure how many Irish have left Boston.
But the anecdotal evidence can be found in places like Nash's
pub, and in Bad Abbots, the Quincy pub that in the 1990s was one
of the Irish hot spots in the Greater Boston area.

When Peter Kerr opened Bad Abbots 10 years ago, 95 percent of his
customers were Irish. Now he estimates that the Irish make up
less than 20 percent of his clientele. Today, half the members of
what was the pub's all-Irish soccer team hail from Trinidad. Last
year, Kerr started sponsoring a Quincy Fire Department softball

"At least most of the firefighters have Irish names," Kerr

Last year, Kerr hosted about 10 "wakes" for returning immigrants,
like the one two months ago for David Knox and his girlfriend.

It's the only part of his business that is growing.

Last summer, some 200 people gathered at St. Columbkille's Church
in Brighton for a memorial Mass for a 35-year-old housepainter
who had killed himself shortly after moving back to Donegal.
Sniffles rose from the congregation as Rev. John McCarthy, a
Limerick priest from the Irish Pastoral Center, gave the homily.

"We should not judge a life on the way it ends," Father McCarthy

A young woman with flaming red hair and an angelic voice stood
and sang an A Cappella version of "If Tomorrow Never Comes."

As soon as they were outside the church, some of the young people
stood in a knot and lit cigarettes. No one could say for sure why
their friend had killed himself. He left a young son behind in
Brighton. Was it the prospect of not being able to see the boy
again? Was it because he was a stranger in the place he left for
Boston more than a decade before?

"We'll never know," said Donal, a friend and former roommate.

The inability of the Irish to make themselves legal residents has
created, for them as for other immigrants, a lot of heartache and
some hard choices. Young people talk of not daring to return to
Ireland to visit sick or dying relatives, to attend weddings and
funerals, to meet newborn babies. Most often, their families tell
them to stay put, rather than risk getting snared at immigration.

In December, Harry Moore had to make a decision. He had a wife
and two children in Brighton, but he had a family in Ireland
aching, because his brother had just died. Moore flew home, but
when he he tried to clear US Immigration at Shannon Airport, US
officials detained him.

Lavery, the immigration lawyer, said the only record US officials
had to identify Moore as having been in the United States as an
undocumented immigrant were his W-7 tax identification forms. The
government that barred him from getting a driver's license had
freely issued a taxpayer ID.

"He only got caught because he paid his taxes," Lavery said.


On a frigid Tuesday night, Chris Lavery sat in a horseshoe-shaped
booth at the Half Door, a Quincy pub. Pop music filled the bar,
and young people sat around, writing down answers to trivia
questions read out by quizmasters, a popular pastime with the
young Irish. With a cup of tea at his elbow and manila folders
spread in front of him, Lavery looked a businessman catching up
on some work.

But as Kieran O'Sullivan, a soft-spoken immigration counselor
from the Irish Pastoral Center, led supplicants to him, amid the
din of the quiz, Lavery dispensed free legal advice in his genial
Belfast accent.

"We used to do this at community centers, but people were
reluctant to show up," O'Sullivan explained.

The bustle of the pub offers a kind of anonymity, and a comfort
level for people deeply worried about their future. Tim Coffey
and his wife, Siobhan, brought their 4-month-old daughter, Leah,
along to the legal clinic. Siobhan is a US citizen, and their
recent marriage offers Tim an avenue to a green card. But until
that paperwork is processed, which could take years, Tim risks
being scooped up and deported. A construction worker, he
minimizes his risk by not driving.

In the last few months, he's heard, several Irish people married
to US citizens have been deported, their eligibility for green
cards not saving them. As her parents assessed their options,
Leah rested in her car seat, her bright blue eyes darting between
neon signs on the wall.

"We've got to get this sorted," Tim said, looking at his
daughter. "I can't leave them."

Standing in the bleachers at the bucolic grounds at the Irish
Cultural Centre in Canton last October, Connie Kelly watched
intently as two teams of women -- one from Brighton, the other
from Dorchester -- battled each other in a game of Gaelic
football. The players' thighs and cheeks were a rosy red in the
fall air.

Kelly came here from Tralee, in County Kerry, 40 years ago. He
worked as a bartender, but his real passion is Gaelic games. An
iconic figure around the GAA pitches, with his thick glasses and
snow-white hair and beard, Kelly has done as much as anyone in
the Boston area to promote and build the games of hurling and
Gaelic football.

He spoke of Boston's deep connection to the games, an umbilical
chord between Ireland and its emigrant diaspora.

"Kerry and Galway played Gaelic football on Boston Common in
1886," he said. "It was the first football match outside of

By the 1950s, Boston fielded four or five clubs, and by the 1960s
that number had doubled. Thousands flocked to Dilboy Field in
Somerville in the 1980s to watch the matches. And by 1995, the
four new fields in Canton, with eight spacious dressing rooms,
made the local GAA the envy of the organization outside Ireland.

But the economic boom in Ireland and the post-9/11 crackdown on
illegal immigration has hit the GAA here hard.

"We're in decline now," Connie Kelly said. "Clubs are struggling
to get players, players are going home, and a lot fewer are
coming over."

Over the years, Kelly and his wife let hundreds of young hurlers
and footballers sleep in their Belmont home until they got
settled. But now the GAA is adamant about players staying only
the 90 days allowed by law.

"We don't want any kid to sacrifice their chance of coming back
to America," Kelly explained.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Kelly said, there were about 1,000
hurlers and footballers in Boston. Now there are fewer than half

As Americans have helped save traditional music and dance here,
Kelly said, the GAA hopes to get more Americans playing their
games. It's an ambitious plan. But Kelly believes that without
immigration reform, the GAA, like other markers of Irish life
here, is fighting an uphill battle at best.

"America has always been good to the Irish, and the Irish have
been good to America," Kelly said, shaking his head. "I don't
understand why it has to come to this."

Kevin Cullen can be reached at


Boston: Going Full Circle

Native land's new prosperity has many reversing their exodus

By Kevin Cullen, Globe Staff March 19, 2007
Second of two parts

DINGLE, Ireland -- Once there was a neighborhood near the
Brookline-Boston line known as Little Kerry because so many of
the residents hailed from this lush, rustic county in the
southwest of Ireland.

Today, here on Kerry's Dingle peninsula, there is a concentration
of so many families who once lived in Massachusetts that the
locals call it Little Boston.

A 19th-century famine made the Irish the world's most storied
nomads, creating a diaspora numbering 70 million. But now
Ireland's sudden prosperity is luring back those who would rather
live and raise children in the land of their birth.

After a century and a half of wandering, the Irish are coming
home. And the country they've come back to, like the places
they've left behind, is changing indelibly as they move.

The Irish government estimates that, worldwide, about 150,000
Irish-born people have moved back to Ireland since 2001, up to
20,000 of them from the metropolitan areas of Boston and New
York. US Census figures document the American exodus: There were
160,000 Irish-born living in the US in 2000; since then the total
has dropped by 20 percent, to an estimated 128,000.

In the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, Irish soldiers went to the
European continent to fight other people's wars. They called this
exodus the Flight of the Wild Geese. In the 19th and 20th
centuries, the term was used to refer to the immigrants who left
a colonized, impoverished Ireland to build other countries --
America, in particular.

With Ireland now one of the richest countries in the world, with
a standard of living and quality of life that top more than one
financial index, the Wild Geese of this generation are returning,
in droves. Boston, once referred to in the west of Ireland as
"the next parish over," is supplying many of those returnees.

The Irish government says several thousand who have lived in or
around Boston have moved back since 2001; immigrant advocates
suggest the figure is much higher. Among the biggest advertisers
in the Irish Emigrant, a weekly newspaper distributed mostly
through the city's Irish pubs, are freight services that ship
containers back to Ireland. And one of the fastest growing cable
TV outlets in Ireland is the North American Sports Network, which
allows returning Irish expatriates to get their Red Sox or New
England Patriots fix.

Some are going back because they're homesick. Others to avail of
the opportunities in a newly prosperous country. Still others
because of an increasing hostility toward immigrants in the
United States, a hostility -- or at least an unwelcoming wariness
-- that many Irish are stunned to encounter in Boston, long seen
as America's most Irish-friendly town.

Mary and Robbie Griffin had a great life in Boston. He worked in
construction, she worked taking care of elderly people. They
would meet other immigrants, many of them from Kerry, down at
Peter-Dick's, a Dorchester pub where they easily mixed with other
regulars -- police officers, firefighters, teachers, and
construction workers, many of them the children and grandchildren
of Irish immigrants.

But they longed for home. They knew that the poor, repressed
Ireland they left in the 1980s had been transformed, and decided
to give it a go. Seven years ago, they bought a piece of land
overlooking Dingle Harbor. At $80,000, it was a bargain by
American standards, and even by Irish standards today. They spent
$200,000 to put up a sprawling 10-bedroom house, running a bed
and breakfast business to support their three daughters, aged 6
to 14, who were born in Boston.

Mary misses Boston a bit, but she likes the pace of Ireland
better, and the support of an extended family. Like many Irish
immigrants who lived in Boston and other parts of the United
States in the 1980s and 1990s, she and Robbie had become legal US
residents, taking advantage of special visa programs steered
through Congress by New England politicians of Irish ancestry.
They moved back to Ireland not because they had to, but because
they wanted to.

"We came home, because this is home," she said.

There are only about 1,500 people living in and around Dingle.
There are, by some accounts, more than a dozen families that have
moved back here from the Boston area in the last five years, and
nearly two dozen children who were born in Boston now going to
Dingle area schools.

"If this is Little Boston," Mary Griffin mused, "it's not so
little anymore."


Some who have moved back never intended to spend the rest of
their lives as expatriates, no matter how comfortable they felt
in Boston. Dennis Murphy is one of them.

Murphy, 42, moved to Boston in the Irish immigrant heyday of the
mid-1980s, when the town was crawling with young, ambitious Irish
folk. He got a job rehabbing kitchens. One day, in the early
1990s, he and some other Irishmen were taking apart an old bar in
Kendall Square, in Cambridge. It was snowing, and Murphy had
parked his pickup truck out front, illegally. When he came out
with a section of the bar to put in the pickup, he saw a
Cambridge police officer standing on the sidewalk.

"Jayzuz," the officer said, shaking his head, betraying an Irish
accent. "We'll miss this place."

Then the officer looked at Murphy sternly.

"You know you're illegally parked here," he said, as Murphy
recalled the encounter.

"I'm sorry, sir, but. . ."

"Ah," the officer said, his eyebrows arching. "Where ye from?"

"County Kerry, sir."

"Christ," the officer told him, "I'm from West Cork meself."

Dennis Murphy left the truck parked illegally for three hours. He
didn't get a ticket.

That Boston is gone -- or mostly so -- and so is Murphy. He moved
back home a decade ago, but has returned several times to visit.
After Sept. 11, 2001, he noticed a distinct change. The accent
that used to draw smiles now can draw furrowed, suspicious brows
from immigration officers and even ordinary Bostonians. The young
Irishmen who took Murphy's place in the construction crews
wouldn't dare park illegally, knowing that a routine license
check could land them in handcuffs and on the next flight out of

"There's a hostility," Murphy said. "It's intimidating. I never
thought I'd say that about Boston, of all places, but it's true."

The return to Ireland has its bumps as well.

Some of those returning home who made their living in the
building trades or service industry in America say they face
stiff and unexpected competition back home from Eastern
Europeans, especially the Polish. Talbot Street, one of Dublin's
most famous thoroughfares, is now lined with Polish shops and
cafes. Young women who made good tips working tables on Cape Cod
and pulling pints in Brighton have returned to Ireland to find
those jobs have been filled by other Europeans. Throughout
Ireland, a visitor is as likely as not to be served by a waiter
or waitress whose accent was honed in Gdansk rather than Galway.

Dennis Murphy, who now runs a guesthouse in Dingle, said he does
not begrudge the Polish anything.

"The Polish are doing for our economy what we did for the economy
around Boston in the 1980s and the 1990s," he said.

Seamus Brennan, the Irish Cabinet minister for social affairs,
said in an interview that about 20,000 Irish people are moving
back to Ireland every year. The country's population of just over
4 million people is growing at a rate not equaled since just
prior to the potato blight of the 1840s, when there were 8
million people in Ireland.

The country needs the influx to feed an economy that has been
Europe's fastest-growing for more than a decade. In January the
Irish government established its first "green card" system, which
allows employers to recruit highly skilled workers from outside
the European Union. Michael Martin, the minister in charge of
trade and employment, said he expects about 10,000 such green
cards to be issued each year.

But there is in Ireland, for the first time in its history,
concern about inward immigration, not from its natives streaming
back from Boston, New York, and London, but from eastern Europe,
especially Romania, and from Africa, especially Nigeria.

The Irish government's attitude about immigrants, both its
returning citizens and foreigners who want legal status, has
shifted dramatically. In the 1980s and '90s, the government
basically took a hands-off approach. Now the government is
encouraging people to come home, while for the first time taking
an active role in lobbying for the undocumented in America.

Brennan said the government had funded research projects to
assess the needs of returning Irish, and last year published a
"Returning to Ireland" guide, outlining existing health and
welfare benefits.

Last year the Irish government also created an "Irish Abroad"
unit and has thrown its weight behind the Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform, a US-based group that is advocating passage
of a bill sponsored by US senators Edward M. Kennedy of
Massachusetts and John McCain of Arizona that would grant amnesty
for some illegal immigrants and create a system by which others
could apply for legal status. The bill has the support of the
Bush administration, but it is opposed by many Republicans, who
have framed the immigration issue as one of law and order.

"There is a wider recognition by the government of the
contribution successive waves of Irish immigrants have made both
to their new homelands and to Ireland, where many sent money back
to their families, and our obligation to these communities," said
Austin Gormley, a spokesman for the Irish government.

Ray O'Hanlon, author of "The New Irish Americans," said that
while he has no doubts the Irish government wants its native-born
to return, he is less sure of how well they understand the plight
of the undocumented in America.

"There are many undocumented Irish in America who have too much
to lose that they won't even risk traveling back to Ireland when
relatives are sick or have died, or for weddings and births,"
O'Hanlon said.

Throughout the 1980s and even well into the 1990s, when Ireland's
unemployment rate hovered around 20 percent, successive
governments did little to prevent up to 30,000 people from
leaving the country each year. But now, as the Irish government
acknowledges its obligations to citizens who felt forced to leave
the island, politicians have had to deal with what they call "the
mammy factor," mothers in Ireland whose children are living
illegally in the US, demanding the government do more to assist

But most of those returning to Ireland are doing so willingly.

Tom Griffin was one of 52 civil engineers who graduated from
University College Dublin in 1986; 49 of them left Ireland.

Griffin went to Boston, where he married his American wife,
Ellen. Their marriage made him a legal US resident. They lived
first in Watertown, then Dorchester. Griffin became a US citizen
nearly a decade ago, but a few years ago the couple decided to
move to Ireland, near Lispole, a small village in Kerry where
Griffin grew up. In Ireland, there is a great demand for

"We liked Boston, but we decided this was a better place to bring
up a family," Ellen explained.

With five children, two of whom were born in Boston, the Griffins
pay about $1,500 a year for health insurance; in Boston, with
three fewer children, they were paying $10,800.

A recent United Nations study ranked Ireland ninth among the 21
most industrialized countries in child well-being, using 40
indicators to measure how well children are educated and cared
for. The United Kingdom and the United States were dead last in
the rankings based on, among other things, poverty levels and the
quality and cost of health care.

"The weather can get to you; the winters are dark," said Ellen,
whose father was from County Mayo but settled in Connecticut.
"But there's a good quality of life here."

Two of their children are citizens of both Ireland and the United
States. All five of their children are citizens of the European
Union, which means they can live and work in at least 27
countries, a number that will likely grow as the children do.

"The world has changed so much," Ellen said.


Maurice "Mossy" Murphy left Dingle for Boston in 1985, when he
was 19. He stayed in Dorchester with an aunt, who was a nurse. He
got a job in construction and got lucky by landing one of the so-
called Morrison visas, named after the former Connecticut
congressman Bruce Morrison, making him legal.

"They made an exception for me then," said Murphy, home in Dingle
for a wedding. "I don't know why they can't make an exception for
people now."

Now 42, with a green card and a little money in his pocket,
Murphy can afford to return to Ireland for regular visits, while
so many of the younger Irishmen he works with are unable to
travel back, because they wouldn't be able to get back into the
United States.

Murphy blames the Irish government for not doing more for
undocumented immigrants. He notes that the Irish government has
taken heat from its citizens for allowing Shannon Airport to be
used as a stopover for US troops going to and from Iraq, but that
such an unpopular gesture has produced no tangible benefits for
Irish people looking to move to or stay in the United States
legally. He thinks the Irish government should push for a
bilateral visa deal with the United States. Last year, for
example, about 5,000 Americans moved to Ireland to work,
according to FAS, the Irish job training agency; about a third of
that number of Irish went to the United States looking for work.

Murphy said that despite his legal status, he is almost always
treated with suspicion and sometimes disrespect by US immigration
officials when he returns to Boston from trips home to Ireland, a
creeping hostility he says did not begin until after Sept. 11.

"Every year, the hostility seems to get worse," he said.

Hostility, however, is a two-way street. Anti-Americanism is a
relatively new phenomenon in Ireland, its growth fairly
contemporaneous with Ireland's growing prosperity -- an irony,
given that the US investment has fueled Ireland's rapid ascension
to the ranks of the world's richest countries. There are more
than 600 US companies operating in Ireland, their more than
90,000 employees accounting for 5 percent of the Irish workforce,
and 70 percent of those working for non-Irish companies.

The Irish, like most Europeans, are overwhelmingly and vehemently
opposed to the war in Iraq. James Kenny, who last fall completed
a three-year posting as the US ambassador to Ireland, suggests
the Irish hostility he experienced was more anti war than anti-

"I think the relationship, both ways, was sort of taken for
granted, by both sides," he said during an interview in Dublin
before leaving his post. "We're going to have to work at this."

Kenny worries that the growing trend of the Irish "giving up on
America" -- that is, fewer moving to the United States and more
moving back to Ireland -- is not a temporary phenomenon. He said
that as the Irish look east, toward the European continent, where
they are legally entitled to work and settle as members of the
European Union, or to Australia, where the Irish are welcomed
with the laissez-faire attitude they enjoyed in the United States
for more than a century, "There is a real danger that the Irish
will simply not come to the US in anywhere near the numbers they
have for nearly two centuries."

Even those who are allowed to enter the United States legally on
three-month work visas are increasingly declining to take
advantage of that program.

In 2001, a record number of college students from Ireland --
13,405 -- went to work in the United States on so-called J-1
visas. Traditionally, about half of the students who came for
summer jobs came through Boston, and many worked on Cape Cod. By
2006, the number of J-1s had been cut in half, to 6,800. Many
Irish students say they avoid the United States because of the
difficulty of getting Social Security numbers they need to work,
the hostility directed at immigrants, and the horror stories they
hear about summary deportations and intimidating interrogations.

"It's not worth the hassle," said Elizabeth Walsh, a 20-year-old
Irish student who last summer got a waitressing job in Brussels
instead of on Cape Cod, where her sister and many of her older
friends had worked legally in previous years.

Sipping a cappuccino outside a cafe in Dalkey, an upscale seaside
town south of Dublin, Walsh described how a friend two years ago
sought a J-1 visa to work in Boston. She said because of
bureaucratic delays, her friend's request for a Social Security
number was not processed by the time she tried to board her
flight. She said her friend was reduced to tears by an
immigration officer who detained her at Shannon Airport and
interrogated her, accusing her of trying to sneak into the
country. Her friend missed her flight to Boston.

"She had done everything properly," Walsh said, "and they still
treated her like a criminal."

The blooming affluence in Ireland has dramatically altered the
relationship with "the next parish over" and the rest of the
United States. Instead of seeing America as a place to start a
new life, an increasing number of Irish see it as a place for a
vacation or a bargain hunt. An all-time high of 500,000 visited
last year -- a 30 percent increase in just three years -- meaning
that, when measured by a percentage of national population, there
are more Irish visitors to the United States than from any other
nation, according to the Department of Homeland Security. When
measured in sheer numbers, Ireland, with just 4 million people,
ranks 14th among nations sending visitors to the United States.
Some of those numbers reflect repeat visitors: It is now common
for Irish women to spend just a few days in New York or Boston to
shop, their savings on designer clothes more than paying for the

Citing those annually increasing visitor numbers, Aidan Browne, a
Dublin-born Boston-based attorney who does business in both
countries, believes the talk of anti-Americanism is exaggerated.
He said the Irish are unlike any other Europeans: They are
European by birth and political outlook but American in their
economic views because of the historical links between the
countries, especially immigration. While some in Ireland view
America as a behemoth too quick to use its military might, there
are just as many who admire American respect for individual
rights, creativity, and the opportunity that lured Browne and so
many of his generation to the United States.

But Browne, who became a naturalized US citizen two years ago,
said the Irish practice business like Americans, favoring low
corporate taxes to stimulate economic growth instead of the high
taxes in most other European companies.

"The Irish are more like the Yanks than they'd care to admit,"
Browne said.


The Gaelic Athletic Association pitch in Kerry's Gaeltacht, or
Irish-speaking region, sits just outside of Baile na nGall, not
far from Dingle. On a misty summer's evening, Padraig Fitzgerald
stood in the spartan dressing room, minutes before the Gaeltacht
team he manages took on Killarney in Gaelic football. His friends
call him Paudie Fitz. His three children -- Aidan, 10; Roisin, 9;
and Maeve, 5 -- meandered outside the locker room.

Paudie Fitz and his wife, Caren, lived in Boston for 17 years,
half their lives. They had, like many immigrants, gone over,
thinking they'd stay just a couple of years, make a little money,
move home. But they got very comfortable in Dorchester. Paudie
built up a successful painting business.

Still, they believed their children could have a better life in
Ireland. And so, in the late 1990s, Paudie bought a piece of land
in Garfinny, just outside Dingle, for a little more than $20,000.
They built a house for a little more than $100,000. And they
moved back to Ireland a few years ago.

Paudie manages the Senior B football team. Some of his players
are teenagers. The rock of the team is Miceal "Mickey" Chournear,
who at 36 is an ancient in an ancient game. While intercounty
matches and those involving premier squads draw huge crowds on
Sunday afternoons, the B teams like the one Paudie Fitz coaches
play matches whose spectators are usually dictated by the time of
play and the weather.

Besides Paudie Fitz's children, and Mickey Chournear's 5-year-old
son, there was no one else watching the match on this rainy,
summer's evening.

The next day the weather cleared and Paudie Fitz and three other
families headed off to a remote beach. Their children -- a dozen
of them ranging in ages 5 to 13, most of them wearing green and
yellow Kerry football jerseys -- frolicked on the slate-gray

"You see those kids?" Paudie Fitz said, pointing to the newest
Wild Geese, the ones who came back. "Every single one of them was
born in Boston."

Some of the Wild Geese complain about a greed and materialism
that they don't remember in the Ireland they left 20 or more
years ago. They see gangland murders -- five in six days in
Dublin in December -- and carnage on roadways clogged with fast
new cars. Housing prices have skyrocketed in Ireland, higher than
Boston. And they wonder if they have made some Faustian deal with

Maidhc (Mike) O Se, 64, is not one of them. He remembers the
poverty that drove him to leave Kerry in 1955. He joined two
brothers and a sister in Chicago. He drove trucks to Boston.

"I was never one day out of work," he said.

He worked in a Sears distribution center. He traveled to Alabama
and marched in civil rights protests in the 1960s. He came back
to Dingle about 10 years ago. He is well known here as one of the
best traditional musicians around, a virtuoso on the button

"I wish I could have stayed in my native country," he said. "No
one should have to leave their native country just to find work."

Now, the Irish don't have to. That reality has dramatically
altered their relationship with the United States in general, and
with Boston in particular. The Irish are increasingly coming to
America as affluent visitors, not economic refugees. But as the
Irish experience in America continues to change, some Irish
complain that their long history in, and contributions to, the
United States will be forgotten.

Two years ago, Dick Spring, Ireland's former deputy prime
minister and foreign minister, arrived in Chicago to deliver a
speech to an international affairs conference. During an
interview in Dublin, Spring recalled that US immigration officers
at O'Hare Airport were not impressed by his diplomatic passport.
They put him in a room and interrogated him.

"I saw the ugly side of America for two hours," said Spring, who
is married to an American and who is close to Bill Clinton,
having played a prominent role in the Northern Ireland peace
process in the mid-1990s. "It was easier, and more pleasant, to
get into China."

Eventually, Spring was given a stamp, and a stern warning not to
stay more than three days. He then left to deliver his speech.

His topic?

Why America is losing its friends abroad.

Kevin Cullen can be reached at


Annual Novena A Hit With The People

By Nuala McAloon

The ever popular 'Novena of Hope' at The Graan is once again
drawing crowds from all ends of the country this week.

Speaking to the 'Herald' on Monday night, Father Brian D'Arcy,
CP, the Rector at the Graan reported that despite the inclement
weather conditions and the festivities that ran throughout the
Bank Holiday weekend, the Novena was proving a hit with the
flocking crowds.

"It's phenomenal. We started on Saturday night and Sunday morning
and I thought with it being St. Patrick's weekend, and Mother's
Day, that we would be struggling but the Church was full five
times over the weekend, and I mean packed to the door.

"Today (Monday) I did the ceremony at 12.30pm and once again we
had to put on the (close circuit) television to make sure
everyone got in. The Church couldn't hold all the people that was
there. And, I'm sure if you go out to the Church tonight, you
would discover that even half an hour before it starts, the place
is packed."

At Monday night's Mass, Father Brian presented guest speaker,
John O'Shea of GOAL with a cheque for 10,000 euro. GOAL is one of
the charities to benefit from the proceeds of Brian's hugely
successful book, 'A Different Journey'.

A cheque for 4,000 euro was also presented to GOAL on behalf of
Father Gary Donegan and the children of the Holy Cross School,

An integral part of the Novena will take place today with a
service for the sick at 2.30pm. Tonight's guest speaker at 8.00pm
will be former GAA President, Peter Quinn.

The Novena will continue for the rest of the week at 12.30pm and
8.00pm daily, on Saturday at 11.00am and 6.30pm and on Sunday at
9.00am 10.30am, 12 noon and 4.00pm.

There will be an additional healing service on Saturday at


John Duddy And Grainne: A Love Story

By Thomas Hauser: Fans watch fighters in the ring and see the
blows. That's very different from getting hit. And while fans
often identify with fighters, they rarely consider what watching
a fight is like for someone who has close personal ties to one of
the combatants and loves him.

Grainne Coll loves John Duddy, the Irish middleweight with
piercing blue eyes who is unbeaten in 19 fights and is causing a
sensation in America. Like Duddy, she's a native of County Derry,
Ireland. Her mother works at The Harbour Museum. Her father is a
retired bus driver. Grainne is 26 years old; pretty with long
brown hair and partial to casual clothes. "But I wear dresses
when necessary," she says.

John and Grainne met seven years ago. The first time they saw
each other was at a credit union in Derry. Grainne was working as
a sales assistant at Marks & Spencer and went there to deposit
her pay. John had a job as a lifeguard at a swimming pool around
the corner.

"I was walking out of the credit union just as John was coming
in," Grainne remembers. "He was wearing a lifeguard uniform, and
I thought he was gorgeous. We stopped, looked at each other, and
said hello. And that was it. He was coming; I was going; so I
went back to Marks & Spencer."

Grainne couldn't have known it at the time. But after John put
his pay in the credit union, he went back to the swimming pool
and told one of the other lifeguards, "Something strange just
happened. I saw this girl. We stopped and said hello. All we said
was 'hello', and it was a crazy feeling."

"A month or two later," Grainne recounts, continuing the story,
"I went to a bar called The River Inn with my friend Kristy. We
walked in and, right away, I saw John sitting at the bar with
some friends. He was wearing a blue shirt and his arms were
folded. I told Kristy, 'I don't care what it takes, I'm going to
get him.' So I walked over and sort of shoved against him, which
got his attention, and said, 'Hello; how are you?'"

"I'm good. How are you?" Duddy answered.

But still, there was no exchange of names or telephone numbers.

"After that," Grainne continues, "we passed each other one more
time on the street. It was driving me mad. Then, finally,
finally, John came around Marks & Spencer with a friend. He'd
found out where I worked and he asked me if I wanted to go to a
barbeque with him. My face turned bright red and I said, 'Yes, of

"She had a nice face and a nice smile," Duddy reminisces. "I said
to myself, 'I'd like to get to know this person.'"

At the time, Duddy was boxing as an amateur. "I thought he was
just a lifeguard," Grainne recalls. "He didn't tell me for a
couple of weeks that he was a boxer. And when he did, I thought,
'He must not be very good because I've never heard of him.' We
were football in our house. I'd never been to a fight in my

John and Grainne grew close to one another. They were a good fit.
But in the ring, Duddy was struggling. He was suffering from
burnout and the feeling that he was going nowhere, that he had
learned all he was going to learn. "He was thinking seriously
about giving up boxing," Grainne remembers. "Then, one night, he
said to me, 'I think I should go to America. That's the only way
I can learn my trade. Do you want to come with me?'"

"No problem," she answered.

In 2003, John and Grainne relocated in New York. They're now
engaged and live together in Queens (one of the city's five

"It takes a lot of dedication to be a fighter," Grainne says.
"You can have all the talent in the world, but you have to want
it and work really hard for it. I've never met a man who wants
something so bad as John wants to succeed in boxing."

"In the days before a fight," Grainne continues, "John gets
really quiet. He stays in the house and doesn't go out or talk to
people much. I understand it. He's focussing on what he has to
do. The night before a fight, I pretty much leave him alone. We
don't talk much. John reads or watches a film and goes to bed
early. The day of a fight, I get up, get my breakfast, give John
a kiss, and leave the house. I don't see him again until he's
walking to the ring that night."

As for the rest of their time together, Grainne says, "John is
genuine, down-to-earth, loyal, thoughtful, considerate, and good
fun. There's nothing phony about him. What you see is what you
get. It's half-and-half with the housework. He does the laundry
and some of the cooking. He loves reading and watching old black-
and-white movies. John wants to be a poet. John wants to be a
writer. He has a way with words; he could do those things. He
just has to believe in himself."

"Grainne knows the best and worst of me," Duddy notes in
response. "She sees me when I come home from a bad day at the
gym. As much as she'd like to think that I'm thinking of her
twenty-four-seven, she knows that, coming up to a fight, my mind
is somewhere else. It's frustrating for her when I go into my
shell, but she understands what I'm going through. And I wouldn't
be where I am today if it weren't for Grainne. She saw me through
when I was down as an amateur and not feeling very good about
myself. People ask me sometimes whether I'm married or single. I
just tell them I'm in love with Grainne."

When will they get married?

"Maybe next year," Duddy answers. "We're in no rush. We're as
good as married now."

But Grainne isn't the only one with affection for John. There are
times when it seems as though all of Ireland in America is in
love with Duddy.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about "Duddy-mania" is that
Team Duddy is building a star without broadcast television, HBO,
Showtime, or a big-name promoter. A lot of savvy marketing has
gone into the process. Eddie McLoughlin is John's promoter.
Anthony McLoughlin (Eddie's brother) is the manager of record.
They began by building alliances in the local Irish-American
community and selling tickets in bars; the way ring heroes were
developed in the 1930s and 1940s when boxing mattered.

The coming out party for Team Duddy occurred on March 16, 2006
(the night before St. Patrick's Day), when Duddy scored a first-
round knockout over Shelby Pudwill. The fight took place at The
Theater (a 4,955-seat venue adjacent to the main arena in Madison
Square Garden). It was only the second time in history that The
Theater sold out for a fight.

"A lot of people came from Ireland," Duddy remembers. "There were
people who came from Scotland that I didn't even know. I thought
I was prepared for it. But after the fight, it was a tidal wave
of people going crazy, screaming my name and jumping for joy. It
wasn't a dream come true because I never dreamed such a thing. It
was more than I could ever dream of. It was a very special moment
for me."

Two months later, Duddy flew to Las Vegas to attend the annual
Boxing Writers Association of America awards dinner. "I can't
believe it," he said during the cocktail hour. "Wayne McCullough
[a silver medalist for Ireland at the 1992 Olympics and later the
World Boxing Council bantamweight champion] came over and said
hello to me. I remember watching him on television when I was a

"I've heard a lot about John and wanted to meet him," McCullough
said afterward. "He's a nice fellow."

The next day, they were text-messaging back and forth.

"I think we're doing a pretty good job on the promotional end,"
says Eddie McLoughlin. "But the reason for the success we're
having is John. He's the whole package, in and out of the ring.
He has this charisma about him."

Well and good. But once the bell rings, charm and charisma don't
matter. The key to it all is that Duddy is an exciting fighter
who has survived every ring challenge to date. His sternest test
came last September when he triumphed over veteran Yori Boy
Campas in a scintillating brutal twelve-round slugfest. John
suffered deep gashes above each eye; the first time he'd been cut
since being hit by an elbow while sparring as an amateur. He was
also wobbled by Campas's punches and, at one point, appeared on
the verge of being knocked out.

"I'd never been in a position like that before," Duddy
acknowledges, "where my back was against the wall and I was
fighting an opponent who took everything I threw at him and hit
just as hard as I did. That's the first time I was ever really
asked in the ring, 'Do you want to be a professional fighter?'
And the answer was 'yes, I do'."

Duddy walked through the fire against Campas and emerged with a
unanimous-decision triumph. "Now the snowball is getting bigger,"
he says. "Things are catching on. I won't use the word 'star' but
I know that, as of late, I've become an attraction."

The cuts that Duddy suffered against Campas kept him out of
action for five-and-a-half months. The obvious coordinates for
his return to the ring were the night before St. Patrick's Day
2007 and Madison Square Garden. Equally obvious (but unanswered)
were the questions, "What had John learned from the Campas
fight?" and "Could he correct that flaws that allowed Campas to
hit him so hard and so often?"

"The Campas fight showed me that I have to fight with my brain,
not just my heart, and make defense more of a priority," Duddy
acknowledged. "Yory taught me with his fists, 'Look, kid; you
can't fight like that or you're going to lose.' I'm trying to
break some of my bad habits. Hopefully, in my next fight, I'll
show a bit more experience and maturity. I have a good boxing
brain, but I don't always use it as well as I should. The smart
thing would be to use my boxing skills a bit more so, I guess,
this time we'll see how smart I am. I know Harry [trainer Harry
Keitt] can teach me. The question is, 'Can I learn?' I've got to
fight smart. That's what makes champions."

The opponent chosen for Duddy's 2007 St. Patrick's Eve test was
Anthony Bonsante; a tough gritty club fighter with 29 victories
to his credit. Two years ago, Bonsante achieved a measure of fame
as one of the boxers on the TV reality show The Contender. The
highlights of his career were a win over Matt Vanda and a draw
against Prince Badi Ajamu. But he came up short against Kingsley
Ikeke and Allan Green, lost four times to Contender opposition,
and (more troubling) was defeated by Danny Thomas and Tocker

Duddy arrived at his dressing room for the Bonsante fight at 8:00
PM. "The weather is terrible," he said. "Sleet, snow, rain,
everything." Wearing black sweatpants and a long-sleeved gray
shirt, he did several minutes of stretching exercises; then took
off the gray shirt and put on a white T-shirt with large green
letters that read, "Legalize the" Beneath that, in
smaller type, the message continued, "Irish Lobby For Immigration

Duddy likes a quiet dressing room where he can sit alone with his
thoughts. His team leaves him alone in the hours before a fight.
But the higher a fighter climbs, the more intrusions there are.

At 8:10, referee Steve Smoger entered the dressing room to give
Duddy his pre-fight instructions. Smoger was followed by
representatives of the World Boxing Council and International
Boxing Association, both of which had belts on the line. Then an
MSG Network camera crew taped an interview that would air during
the telecast.

At 9:00 o'clock, the interruptions ended and Duddy was alone. The
solitude of his dressing room contrasted markedly with the scene

Duddy-Bonsante had become more than a fight. It was a
celebration. Once again, The Theater was sold out. Joe Frazier
and Jake LaMotta were at ringside. So was novelist Tom Wolfe.
Irish dancers performed in the ring between bouts accompanied by
Irish musicians who stood on a stage behind the press section.

Two months earlier, Duddy had noted, "I have people calling to
complain to me that they can't get tickets for the fight. That's
because tickets aren't on sale yet." Now John said simply,
"Seeing all the excitement on a night like tonight, knowing that
I'm responsible for a large part of it; that's a good feeling."

The crowd had become a character in the drama.

At 9:30, Grainne entered the arena, wearing a black skirt, a red-
and-black silk blouse, and high-heeled red shoes. Her parents,
who had come from Ireland for the fight, were with her. Making
her way past well-wishers, she settled in a third-row ringside
seat beside her father.

The arena was jammed; every seat taken. The undercard fights had
been what are known in the trade as "cowboys and Indians." In
each bout, there had been a clear favorite who the promoter
expected would win. Six of the bouts featured an Irishman against
a lesser foe. Now, to the consternation of many in The Theater,
one of the "Indians" triumphed. Five-time Irish National Amateur
Champion James Clancy (9-0 as a pro) was knocked woozy by Rodney
Ray of Brooklyn at 1:20 of the second round.

It was a reality check for the crowd and for Grainne. This was
boxing. Anything can happen. The fights aren't scripted, and the
brutality is real.

Normally, Grainne laughs a lot. Now there was nervous chatter.
"I'm completely nervous; I can't concentrate," she told her

At 10:20, the singing of the Irish and American national anthems

At 10:32, almost unnoticed, Anthony Bonsante walked to the ring.

"When I'm watching John fight," Grainne had said earlier,
"there's every type of emotion. As soon as I hear the bagpipes, I
get nervous and have butterflies in my stomach. Then the fight
starts and I'm scared; I think of the worst that might happen.
But it's exciting to see your man up there doing what he loves to
do and hear the crowd shouting his name."

At 10:34, Duddy began his walk to the ring. Bagpipes sounded and,
as John, came into view, the crowd exploded.

A rhythmic chant of "Duddy! Duddy!" filled the air.

The fighters were introduced. There were boos for Bonsante and a
thunderous roar for John.

Grainne clasped her hands and rubbed her palms together

No matter how stable an environment a fighter tries to create, he
is forced by his trade to live life on the edge. One moment of
violence can change everything.

As for the fight; Bonsante threw only a handful of punches in the
early going, opting for a defensive strategy that allowed Duddy
to move forward with abandon. Anthony is a survivor but he lacks
power. John is relentless against opponents of that caliber and
was the aggressor from the opening bell.

Grainne leaned forward in her chair during the fight, fidgeting
with her fingers and watching intently. She was largely silent
but joined in when the crowd chanted, "Duddy! Duddy!" An
occasional "Ohhh" escaped her lips when either fighter landed
solidly. "I think I'm sweating more than John," she said at one
point. Then she cupped her hands on either side of her mouth and
shouted, "C'mon, John."

Duddy showed the same defensive flaws he's shown in the past. He
didn't move his head enough or bend at the knees. There wasn't
much need to retreat; but when he did, he often moved straight
back while standing straight up.

In round four, there was an accidental clash of heads and
Bonsante emerged with an ugly gash high on his forehead. The cut
bled for the rest of the fight, dripping into his eyes and onto
his gloves whenever he tried to clear his vision.

"He kept wiping the blood away with his gloves," Duddy said
afterward. "Every time he hit me, I got splattered with his

In the middle rounds, Bonsante landed some good shots (better
than John should have allowed), but they didn't have much effect.
Meanwhile, Anthony's blood was streaming down his face. It
stained both fighters' trunks, their socks, even the undersoles
of their shoes as they moved around the blood-splattered ring
canvas. After round nine, the cut had worsened to the point where
Bonsante was no longer able to continue. Because it had been
caused by an accidental head-butt, the winner was determined by
the judges' scorecards. This observer gave every round to Duddy.
The judges favored him by a 90-81, 89-82, and 88-83 margin.

When the decision was announced, a happy smile crossed Grainne's
face. Then she put two fingers between her teeth and let out an
ear-splitting whistle.

But there was an unanswered question: "What had Duddy learned
from fighting Yori Boy Campas?" Bonsante didn't truly test him.
Eddie McLoughlin says that he wants John fighting in the main
arena at Madison Square Garden for the middleweight championship
of the world on St. Patrick's Day weekend 2008. But despite the
hype, Duddy isn't a legitimate title contender yet.

"We're not jumping over mountains here," trainer Harry Keitt said
in the dressing room after the fight. "We take things one fight
at a time. A win is a win. John did what he had to do tonight."

Meanwhile, Grainne was on her way a nearby bar to have a beer
with her father. "John has to change clothes and talk to the
writers and television people," she said. "If I'm there, I'd just
be in the way. A beer with my da will calm me down." She fingered
her cell phone. "I'll wait for the call; John saying, 'It's over.
Meet me out back; we're going home.'"

* * *

John Duddy isn't the only fighter with a noteworthy demographic
who plied his trade at Madison Square Garden this month. On March
3rd, Roman Greenberg won a ten-round decision over Michael Simms
to raise his record to 25-0 with 17 knockouts.

The 24-year-old Greenberg is a rarity in boxing. He's white,
Jewish, a heavyweight, and an Israeli citizen. He also brings to
mind a quote from Mark Twain, who wrote, "Wagner's music is
better than it sounds."

Like Wagner's music, Greenberg is better than a lot of people
think he is. He has fast hands, moderate power, and reasonably
good defensive skills (but drops his right hand at inopportune
moments leaving himself open to a quick left hook). He has yet to
face a world-class opponent, but his record against the usual
suspects is comparable to the performances of better-known

Greenberg knocked out Marcus McGee in four rounds. McGee went the
distance with Jameel McCline, Malik Scott, and Michael Grant, and
lasted into the eighth round against Sultan Ibragimov. Similarly,
Alex Vassilev went the distance with Nikolai Valuev, Sergei
Liakhovich, and Vassiliy Jirov. Roman stopped Vassilev in six

Greenberg's stoppage of Vassilev earned him the IBO Inter-
Continental heavyweight title, which he defended successfully
against Alexei Varakin. "But I read recently that someone else
was fighting for it," Roman says, "so I guess I vacated it or was
stripped. To be honest, I don't know which."

In the dressing room before his fight against Michael Simms,
Greenberg displayed all the urgency of a fighter who was readying
for a sparring session. He chatted amiably with the members of
his team, New York State Athletic Commission personnel, and
anyone else who happened by.

"I try to relax before a fight," Roman says. "It's no good
working myself into a state. By the time I get to the arena, I've
thought about the fight a lot. I know what I have to do. In the
dressing room, I want to take my mind off it for a while. If I
think about it too much, I'll become a nervous wreck."

Simms is a slick counterpuncher, who came into the bout with a
19-6 record and 13 knockouts. He's reluctant to take risks and
has never been stopped. Roman made the fight (such as it was),
using his jab effectively and doing some good body work with his
right hand. Then he got into a comfort zone, stayed there, and
cruised to a 99-91 victory on each judge's scorecard.

As for what lies ahead; Greenberg is likeable and well-spoken;
traits that mean nothing once the bell rings. And there's danger
in the fact that he appears to be too trusting in the ring. He
pulls out of clinches with his hands low, leaves himself
unnecessarily vulnerable to headbutts on the inside, and drops
his guard at the bell ending each round.

Also, Greenberg has the reflexes of an elite athlete but not the
body type. That's partly because he only recently began paying
proper attention to conditioning and diet; and it's partly Mother
Nature's doing. The bottom line is that he has 17 percent body
fat (which trainer-manager Jim Evans hopes to reduce
significantly this year). Unless corrective action is taken, he
might find that some opponents are simply too physically strong
for him.

The short-term future for Greenberg involves physical therapy and
possible surgery on a chronically-injured right hand that has
bothered him for several years. Then he'll return to the wars. "I
want to fight for one of the four major belts within the next few
years," he says. "Right now, I think that Waldimir Klitschko is
the best of the heavyweights. Maskaev and Briggs won't be there
for long. Valuev is underrated as a boxer. I would love to fight

One can envision a bout between the 6-foot-2-inch Israeli and the
7-foot-2-inch Russian being marketed as "David against Goliath",
but Roman has a different view. "Greenberg against Valuev sounds
better to me," he says.

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at


President To Meet Pope In Vatican

23/03/2007 - 07:30:18

President Mary McAleese is to meet Pope Benedict today during her
official visit to the Vatican in Rome.

It will be the third time the President and the Pope have met -
previous meetings include the inauguration of Pope Benedict in
April 2005 and a private meeting in September of the same year.

The President's Vatican visit is the high point of a five-day
trip to Belgium and Italy.

Arriving in Brussels on Monday, the President's engagements began
with a meeting with King Albert II.

President McAleese visited Bobbio Abbey, founded by St Columbanus
in the 7th century on the Italian leg of the trip.

The President arrived in Rome on Wednesday, meeting the President
of Italy, Giorgio Napoletano, before visits yesterday to the
Pontifical Irish College and the Dominican Community in Rome.

Today's engagements include talks with Pope Benedict, a meeting
with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and an address to the EU Bishops
Conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.


Cheaper Flights Across The Atlantic Predicted After Deal

Jamie Smyth in Brussels
Fri, Mar 23, 2007

An era of more choice and cheaper flights for travellers has been
predicted by EU transport ministers who yesterday signed a
landmark deal to liberalise transatlantic air services.

The agreement sweeps away existing national restrictions that
limit the number of destinations which EU and US airlines can
serve on transatlantic routes.

The European Commission predicts that the deal will boost the
number of transatlantic passengers by 50 per cent to 75 million
people in five years and lead to consolidation in the airline

"The deal is of great political and economic importance . . . I
am delighted to have piloted this agreement to its destination
with all passengers still on board," transport commissioner
Jacques Barrot, who chaired negotiations on behalf of the EU,
said yesterday.

The agreement, which follows several years of tough negotiations
between the EU and the US, is due to take effect from March 30th,
2008. Irish consumers, however, should benefit almost immediately
from the accord, which enables a transitional arrangement on new
routes agreed last year between the US and Ireland to take
immediate effect.

Minister for Transport Martin Cullen said Aer Lingus had informed
the Government that it planned to offer three more transatlantic
routes, Orlando, San Francisco and Washington, in September and
October this year.

Further expansion by Aer Lingus and other airlines is expected
once the Open Skies deal comes into effect, he said.

The deal will mean the phasing out of the Shannon stopover which,
under the Irish-US bilateral air services agreement, forced a
certain number of flights to land at the airport. Over the next
12 months the number of transatlantic flights landing at Shannon
will be reduced from a ratio of 1/1 to Dublin and Shannon to 3/1,
before being finally abolished when the Open Skies deal takes
effect next spring.

Mr Cullen said the new EU-US agreement would offer opportunities
to Irish airports, including Shannon, to exploit the US market.
He said pre-immigration clearance for the US at Shannon gave it
an economic advantage. The Government is also finalising an
economic and tourism development plan for the Shannon region.

Agreement was reached yesterday when Britain dropped its
opposition to the Open Skies agreement after achieving a five-
month delay in its implementation.

EU ministers had wanted the deal to take effect in November 2007.
However, British concerns over congestion at Heathrow airport
were accepted by other ministers.

Existing restrictions preventing European airlines from buying
control of US airlines will not be lifted under the deal.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Rolling Stones Return To Slane Castle Intent On Making A Bigger

Jim Carroll
Fri, Mar 23, 2007

The Rolling Stones are to play at Slane Castle on August 18th.
The band previously played there in 1982, when they were the
first international act to headline the Co Meath venue.

The Slane show comes exactly a year after the Stones were due to
appear at Dublin's Phoenix Park. However, a legal challenge taken
by MCD Promotions against a decision by the Office of Public
Works to award the contract for the concert to a rival promoter
led to the Phoenix Park show not proceeding.

Yesterday afternoon, Mick Jagger announced details of the Slane
event and other dates on the band's European tour.

The Irish gig is one of 27 dates the band will be playing across
Europe this summer. This leg of their "A Bigger Bang" tour will
kick off in Belgium on June 5th and includes a rare festival
appearance for the Stones on the Isle of Wight on June 10th.

Tickets for the Irish show, priced from ?86.50 to ?156.50, will
go on sale next Friday morning (March 30th).

It will be the first big gig to grace Slane since Madonna played
there in 2004. The following year, Eminem's mooted appearance at
Slane and his entire sold-out European tour were scrapped due to
medical problems the rapper was experiencing at the time.

Slane Castle owner Lord Henry Mount Charles said he was "very
excited" at the prospect of the veteran band returning to the
venue after 25 years. However, he believes it will be "somewhat
different" to the band's 1982 show in many respects. "It's going
to happen in the dark," he said, "so it's going to be a big
production with a big light show. This is big stuff." He also
said that the promoters will be putting in a quantity of seats
for the show which will reduce the venue capacity to 60,000.

Music industry observers believe this may not be the only Slane
show this summer. There is increasing speculation that The Police
may play there in September.

For the Rolling Stones, though, the Irish gig should be another
lucrative night out. Since the tour kicked off in 2005, the band
has visited 16 countries and played 110 shows to 3.5 million
fans. According to music trade magazine Billboard, the tour has
generated ticket receipts of $437 million (?328 million).

c 2007 The Irish Times


Bishop Daly Celebrates 50 Years Of Priesthood

The "heroic and inspiring faith" shown by the people of Derry
during the terrible days of the Troubles has been praised by the
retired Bishop of Derry, Most Rev. Dr. Edward Daly.

Speaking at St. Eugene's Cathedral on Sunday during a Mass to
celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the
priesthood, Dr. Daly also paid tribute to Nobel Laureate and
former SDLP leader John Hume who he said had been "a shining
beacon" and a wonderful support to him during a time of great

Dr. Daly was the principal celebrant of the Golden Jubilee Mass,
assisted by his fellow bishops, Most Rev. Dr. S‚amus Hegarty,
Bishop of Derry, and Most Rev. Dr. Francis Lagan, the Auxiliary
Bishop of Derry, and 70 priests from throughout the diocese. The
Mass was a celebration of the immense contribution Bishop Daly
has made to the Derry diocese during his 50 years as a priest
and, as the Mass came to a close, Dr. Daly was given a standing
ovation by the large congregation.

Those in attendance included the Mayor of Derry, Councillor Helen
Quigley, Nobel Laureate John Hume, the former Church of Ireland
Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Right Rev. Dr. James Mehaffey, and
his wife Thelma, and Bishop Daly's three sisters, Anne Gibson,
Marion Ferguson and Dymphna Gallagher. Dr. Daly's brother Tom was
unable to attend as he is presently recovering from surgery.

The Bishop of Derry, Most Rev. Dr. S‚amus Hegarty read a letter
of congratulation and a Papal Blessing sent by Pope Benedict XVI
and a message of congratulations from the Papal Nuncio to
Ireland, His Excellency Most Reverend Dr. Giuseppe Lazarotto.

Bishop Hegarty said that, on this important milestone on Bishop
Daly's spiritual journey, he wished to express congratulations on
behalf of the bishops, priests, religious and people of the

"Coupled with our congratulations, accompanied by our prayers for
you today, we also avail of this opportunity to thank you for
your zeal, commitment and courage in living out you priestly
ministry as priest and bishop during the very difficult and
traumatic period which was contemporaneous with your tenure as
Bishop of Derry. Your leadership as Bishop during these years is
well recorded for posterity and is well documented. We thank God
for your ministry, witness and leadership."

And, referring to Bishop Daly's ministry as chaplain to the Foyle
Hospice, Bishop Hegarty remarked: "In your retirement you have
continued in the sensitive and much valued priestly ministry to
the guests in the Foyle Hospice. Your generosity and commitment
in this regard is greatly appreciated and admired. Long may it be

In his message of congratulation, Pope Benedict wrote: "To our
venerable brother Edward Kevin Daly, emeritus Bishop of Derry,
celebrating the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination,
mindful of his fruitful sacred ministry unto the glory of God and
the salvation of men and women, We beseech many blessings and We
gladly impart the Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of heavenly
gifts and a sign of Our fraternal love for and communion with him
in Christ the Lord."

Dr. Daly's three sisters took part in the Liturgy along with
representatives of parish groups from throughout the diocese.
Important dates in Dr. Daly's priesthood were recalled during the
Offertory Procession and those taking part included Maeve
McSorley, the first child to be baptised by Bishop Daly, Joseph
Feeney and Angela Whelan, who were among the first group of
children to be confirmed by the Bishop, Fr. John Forbes, PP, the
first priest to be ordained by Dr. Daly and Dr. Tom McGinley,
director of the Foyle Hospice, where Dr. Daly now ministers as

In his homily, Bishop Daly reflected on his 50 years in the
priesthood and said four quite contrasting events had the most
profound influence on his life as a priest - and each determined
the future direction of his life.

"Just one of those events was planned or anticipated; that was my
ordination to the priesthood 50 years ago this weekend in my home
parish of Belleek - an event that I had carefully considered and
prepared for over the previous years.

"The second life-changing event occurred down the street from
here 35 years ago on a Sunday afternoon in 1972; 30 or so minutes
that changed my life and the lives of many Derry families
irrevocably - it was an outrage that few had anticipated;
something that I had not chosen, but it had a profound influence
on the future direction of my life; two of the people, Hugh
McMonagle and Charles Glenn, who accompanied me with the dying
Jackie Duddy in the fearful dash along Chamberlain Street on that
day, accompany me here today also. I am pleased that two of
Jackie's sisters Kay and Bernie are here, too.

"The third event that changed my life was my ordination as bishop
33 years ago this month, here in this very cathedral - an
appointment that I had never, for a moment, anticipated. I was
subsequently privileged to serve as bishop of this diocese for
almost 20 years.

"The fourth life-changing event was also unanticipated - a stroke
on a February morning in 1993 - the event that obliged me to
resign my position as bishop and led me to discover a whole new
life, a new ministry in the Foyle Hospice with Dr Tom McGinley,
who is here today; an experience that has been a wonderful grace
and blessing. Looking back, while at least two of these events
could have been perceived at the time as disastrous, I see them
now as part of God's bountiful and mysterious plan for me".

'Most difficult ministry'

Dr. Daly said the most difficult ministry he had to carry out was
his ministry as bishop.

"There were many wonderful and memorable occasions during those
twenty years - I was graced to confer the Sacrament of Holy
Orders on 75 priests, open 17 new churches and officiate at
countless Confirmation ceremonies around the diocese; my visits
to the parishes on pastoral visitation have many wonderful
memories for me. Whilst it was a great privilege to serve as a
bishop, it was also a frightening and, at times, a lonely
responsibility. Nothing can fully prepare a priest for episcopal
office. It is like many positions of responsibility in the Church
and elsewhere in the modern world - everyone thinks that he or
she could do it much better than the incumbent.

"When I was a curate, I thought being a bishop was relatively
easy! However, the view from inside is much different than the
view from the outside. 'Bishoping' is incredibly difficult and I
believe it is much more difficult now that it was when I was in
the position. Those who are called to take on that
responsibility, like Bishop S‚amus and Bishop Francis, deserve
our prayers and our understanding. May I take this opportunity to
thank both of them for their great personal kindness to me."

Stating that he regarded the Golden Jubilee Mass as a celebration
of priesthood, Dr. Daly thanked the priests of this diocese who,
he said, had been his faithful friends and loyal brothers and had
served with him and supported me. He also thanked the religious
men and women of the diocese and, paying tribute to the lay
people of the diocese, he said they had enriched and deepened his

"They have taught me about charity and courage and love and
tolerance. I can never forget the people of this parish and their
heroic inspiring faith in a time of conflict when this community
was being torn apart."

The Bishop also thanked Bishop Mehaffey and leaders of other
Churches for their friendship and, expressing his gratitude to
Nobel Laureate, John Hume, and all the other civic leaders of
this community over the years, Dr. Daly added: "John Hume was a
shining beacon and support at a time of darkness. I am honoured
that he is here today."

Fr. Francis Bradley was Master of Ceremonies at the Mass and the
beautiful singing was provided by the Choir of St. Eugene's
Cathedral, under the direction of Sister Perpetua McNulty,
accompanied by organist, Conor McLaughlin.

After the Mass, refreshments were served in St. Joseph's Boys'
School, Creggan, where Bishop Daly had an opportunity to meet
personally with members of the congregation.

20 March 2007

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