Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ed Sullivan/Clancy Bros/Dancers Identified

Ed Sullivan Show in the 1960s

Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem
accompanied by
champion Irish dancers from the New York United Irish Counties Feis

Perhaps faces will be recognized!

Courtesy of Irish American GOP Activist, Virginia

Dancers Identified

With the help of Felix and Joan Dolan who were in the audience that night and who were very much a part of the traditional music and dancing scene at that time through the Gaelic League and the McNiff Dancers, I have the names of the dancers on the show in the clip. Peter Smith, Mike Bergin, Cyril McNiff and Jimmy Erwin were the gents and Joan McNiff, Anna O'Sullivan, Peggy Buckley and Eva McManus were the ladies. All of them would have been very involved in teaching and promoting Irish step and ceili dancing back in the 1950s. Some of them were founding members of the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America. A little history for you!

Paul Keating

Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann agus New York County Clare Association

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Irish Bust

The Irish bust
Learning to make do and mend
Nov 26th 2009

From The Economist print edition

The Bankers: How the Banks Brought Ireland to Its Knees. By Shane Ross. Penguin Ireland; 312 pages; £14.99. Buy from
Follow the Money. By David McWilliams. Gill & Macmillan; 298 pages; £14.99. Buy from
Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger. By Fintan O’Toole. Faber & Faber; 240 pages; £12.99. To be published in America by PublicAffairs in March. Buy from

FOR over a decade from the mid-1990s until 2007, Ireland’s economy grew more rapidly than any other in western Europe. Foreign investment poured in. Success at selling abroad made Ireland one of the world’s largest exporters per head. Opportunity attracted the enterprising. In less than a dozen years, a country long known for exporting its people welcomed immigrants in droves. From having few foreign residents a decade ago, by 2008 one in eight of the population was foreign-born—a far higher proportion than Britain and France where large-scale immigration has been taking place for decades.

As the boom continued, a certain sense of invulnerability seemed to take hold. The Irish took to buying property with such abandon that there was soon a credit-inflated bubble in property prices. Since that bubble burst in 2007, everything has changed. The economy has shrunk by a tenth—economists’ definition of a depression. The rate of joblessness has tripled. Banks are hobbling and Ireland’s public finances are in tatters.

Weekly GOP Address by Pete King

Weekly GOP Address - 01/09/10 - given by Congressman Pete King (R-NY)

Click below:

Collins 22 Society - January Newsletter

Collins 22 Society

Get the Collins 22 Society January Newsletter
Click below:

Collins 22 Society Mission Statement

To perpetuate the name of Michael Collins

To honour his ultimate sacrifice

To aspire to his life principles

To actively campaign for the erection by the State of his statue in the courtyard of Leinster house by 2022 (the centenary of his death)

To be non-denominational and non-sectarian

To abide by the Constitution of Ireland

To extend the influence of Michael Collins by promoting an interest in his life, his work, his writings, and in the ethos he bequeathed to the Irish people, primarily among the youth of Ireland.

The foregoing represents the Society’s Mission, the reason for which is the fact that the prevailing ideology and value system of modern politics is failing people in so many ways. Michael Collins offers us a vision of a healthy society based on our God-given human dignity.

Obama's Transparent Government

Courtesy of Waterford GOP Man

Click below:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Only Mad Dogs and' . . . Irishmen

‘Only Mad Dogs and’ . . . Irishmen

By Patrick Hurley

Published in the the Irish Examiner 01/19 - 01/25/10

It is the rare issue over which arch left winger Niall O’Dowd and ourselves could come to a meeting of the minds. We rendezvoused with the darling of the expatriate Irish Left for Fox News Channel's Fox and Friends early on the morning after Christmas. O’Dowd and ourselves quickly concurred that we were probably the only lucid Irish men abroad at that unearthly hour on St. Stephen’s morning. “You’re on alien territory now,” we jibed at the Obama zealot from County Louth, alluding to the descriptives with which the irrational Left endeavor to label the Fox News Channel. O’Dowd chuckled in response. We continued on in a cordial manner. Hell hadn’t frozen over: It wasn’t cold enough yet. Perhaps the spirit of Christmas past, present and future had overwhelmed both of us.

Our presence on Fox real estate led us to banter over a circulating anecdote regarding the October visit of Irish foreign minister, Micheal O Martin to Fox Business News. Apparently, Micheal’s accompanying entourage of Foreign Affairs mandarins were all trid a cheile agus ruille a buille in trepidation about exposing the good minister to the “right wing” channel. Ah, the Iveagh House mandarins! They’re innocents really! There are no flies on Micheal. He’s no vulnerable debutante. Micheal’s “rightwing” inquisitioner had been Alexis Glick. As O’Dowd informed, Ms. Glick – the former Alexis Cahill Donnelly – is of Cork origin. That could explain a lot. Perhaps the Iveagh House mandarins are just paranoid about Cork people.

Gorgeous presenter Courtney Friel came hovering towards us like the mystical Speirbhean. Go an alainn ar fad . . . as they say. All she was missing was the wand. “Must be one of ours, with a name like ‘Friel’,” we uttered. O’Dowd nodded in the affirmative. We maintained a vigilant eye lest O’Reilly, Hannitty, Crowley, Skinner or other ideological anti – Christs, who apparently inspire such consternation in the Iveagh House mandarins, might emerge from an office doorway or intersecting corridor. Nothing doing! O’Dowd, Ms. Friel and ourselves were the only identifiable mad dogs of the Celtic breed abroad. Even Fox and Friends regular Steve Doocy was in absentia. On entering the studio, we jabbed O’Dowd in a last reminder, “You’re deep in enemy territory now. Watch out for landmines.”

We had elaborated for the producers an ideological schematic of the Irish media in New York; with the Irish Voice being on the extreme left of the spectrum, the Irish Echo also on the left between the center and the Voice, and with the Irish Examiner, the sole presence on the moderate right. While the other publications, with the anointment of Iveagh House, cater merely to the philosophical whims of the expatriate Irish left, the Irish Examiner endeavors to represent middle class, moderate Irish American opinion. Accordingly, we were perplexed that presenter Clayton Morris did not appear to grasp the inaccurate symbolism of sitting O’Dowd on his right and ourselves on his left. But as one political connoisseur remarked to us later, O’Dowd appeared on the viewer’s left while we appeared on the viewer’s right. So, perhaps, there was method in Clayton’s madness.

What lessons, if any, could Washington draw from the recently unveiled hair shirt Irish Budget? That was the question to be discussed. According to the Washington Post “More than $4 billion in cuts . . . will slash salaries for 400, 0000 government workers while making painful reductions . . . for such groups as widows and single mothers . . . the blind and disabled children. Is this the ghost of America’s future?” Brian Lenihan’s budget, with its public service salary cuts, social welfare reductions and other expenditures was being held aloft as a shinning example of fiscal rectitude. “Such drastic steps have put Ireland on the front lines of a global battle against runaway government spending and exploding budget deficits in the wake of the financial crisis,” continued the piece.

The issues that would be put were essentially: Did we agree with the Irish budget? Should similar measures be applied to the U.S. economic situation? In our brief segment of the 24/7 news cycle where seconds are like gold, Morris, O’Dowd and ourselves would compete for about five precious minutes to issue effective utterances. For our part, we were determined to get in a blow for the hardworking tax oppressed middle class who would pay the penalty for the incompetence and negligence of the governmental elite. The garda, the teacher, the nurse, the postal worker would have their salaries cut but the public service elite, the bankers and financiers who had brought ruin to the country would evade the consequences. In any case, after necessarily and frustratingly curbing our Christmas Day celebrations – one wouldn’t want to be the worse for wear on FNC - we were determined to tear strips of somebody.

O’Dowd kicked off with a bland boiler plate circumlocutory statement, the hallmark of the experienced talking head, designed to hint at a blow about to be struck but in the end offensive to nobody, least of all to the Irish Government. What we gleaned from his inconclusive utterances was that Dublin would prefer “to spend their way out of the recession” but that option was not available to them. Not surprising from O’Dowd: Typical left wing orthodoxy. And as to be expected, he was giving the government a pass. We countered that command economies do not work. Cuts in government expenditure were necessary but that these should be accompanied by tax cuts to resuscitate private enterprise, the engine of the economy. And, so, the discussion bounced back and forth.

Towards the end, as Morris hesitated for one micro second, we jumped opportunistically into the vacuum to score one for the Celtic sans culottes. “I agree that cuts have to be made but where the cuts are applied is the issue. There are plenty of areas in the bloated administration of government to cut without touching the salaries of police officers, nurses and teachers. For instance”. . . we hesitated stupidly . . . as Morris, holding O’Dowd back with a gesture, with an interested look implicitly gave us the green light to continue . . . “the Irish Government has budgeted 10 million euros next year for ‘special advisors’ to senior government ministers. Are these really necessary?” As O’Dowd frantically tried to jump in, Morris blew the final whistle. “Niall, Niall. Sorry Niall. We have to leave it there. Gentlemen, thank you. Okay, we can all agree that cuts need to be made. Thank you gentlemen.” And abruptly, the early morning joust on the national, perhaps, even international, airwaves was over.

We would have liked to have expanded on our few brief utterances. There is plenty of excess in the administration of government. Between tightening up on the wide spread abuse of ministerial and parliamentary expenses – eight million Euros in tax free and unvouched charges in 2009, eradicating the superfluous cadre of special advisors and ensuring that the civil service elite AKA the “permanent government” bear their rightful share of the burden, the wages of the garda, nurse, or teacher, etc could remain untouched. And there really is no justification for Brian Cowen and his ministers to be earning salaries equal to, or greater than, those earned by presidents, prime ministers, and cabinet ministers of other Western countries, including those of the United States. As Fine Gael Senator Paschal O’Donohoe told the Sunday Independent “the level of spending and the way it is spent is absolutely unsustainable . . . there should be a reduction in the number of committees and a ban on all unnecessary foreign travel”.

Several hours later, we had descended from the dizzying heights of FOX News and were back in Woodside. We encountered the ubiquitous Kerryman from Glenflesk out on a stroll. “Go maith an maidin duit, a bhuachaill. I saw yourself and His Lordship on Fox and Friends. The upstart scored one on His Lordship. Ceapann me.”

We had not conceived of our TV interaction with “His Lordship”, O’Dowd, as having been an adversarial contact. Our Kerry friend elaborated, “Mo lear. You got in the last word. That was a killer closing line about the guards and the nurses having their salaries cut while there are still plenty areas of government waste. His Lordship was like a thoroughbred chomping on the bit at the starting line at Listowel Races. He was so eager to respond to you, with your man holding him back."

We countered that perhaps O’Dowd was going to agree with our position. And . . . perhaps, we had been rendered delusional by the Christmas spirit. We were quickly snapped back to reality by the Kerryman “T’anam an Diabhal. Are you gone light in the head? Are you going soft? Sure, everybody knows that His Lordship is the Irish Government’s unofficial spokesman. He who pays the piper calls the tune. He’s not going to bite the hand that feeds him.”

And the Kerryman spoke a truth. O’Dowd, AKA “His Lordship”, dependant, directly and indirectly, in all his manifestations, on Dublin’s largesse , is hardly an independent agent qualified to provide critical objective analysis on the Irish Government. Hang on . . . Dublin’s largesse? . . . Did somebody mention expenditure cuts?

Meanwhile . . . while we were, by dawn’s early light, bearing the battle standard of the Irish Examiner in prosecuting a noble cause over the nation’s airwaves, where was publisher Paddy McCarthy? The Ballyphehane boy was flat on his back in bed where all sane Irishmen should be on a St. Stephen’s morning. An Orwellian quotation came to mind, “People sleep peacefully in their beds . . . only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

Published in the Irish Examiner 01/19 - 01/25

GOP Victory in Mass

I just HAVE to share my delight and enthusiasm about the outcome of the Massachusetts Senatorial election. We took New Jersey, Virginia and now Massachusetts. The margins weren't great but they are victories none the less. However, we have a long way to go in defeating those Senators who are up for re-election throughout the country in 2010. Those politicians who don't give a damn about us.

If you have friends or family members in any of the States where these re-elections are taking place...remind them to vote those Senators OUT!

We are on a roll and we must gather more momentum and keep it up until we replace every Congressperson, Senator, Governor, Mayor who support Obama, Reid, Pelosi and Barney Frank's far left liberal policies and agendas in DC!

Let's make history ourselves in 2010 and then again in 2012, but this time for the good of ourselves, our children and grandchildren's futures and our country!

Irish American Activist
Up Tyrone!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Bridge Too Far?

Judith Miller
The New York terrorism trials could overwhelm the city, warns the NYPD’s top cop.
New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly warned Wednesday that putting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspects on trial for terrorism in New York would place an unbearable financial and security burden on a city whose policing resources were already badly stretched.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Schisms Fears for Gaeilgoiri

Schism fears for Gaeilgeoirí
BRIAN Ó BROIN - Sat, Jan 16, 2010 – Irish Times

A new survey indicates that Gaeltacht and urban Irish speakers are finding each other increasingly more difficult to understand. Could this rift further weaken the language?
RECENTLY, I’VE been meeting a lot of urban speakers of Irish, and was thinking about the Government’s plan to boost the number of daily speakers of Irish from the current 83,000 to 250,000 within 20 years. A threefold increase in daily speakers is a bold proposal, and there’s little doubt that these speakers are going to have to come from the towns and cities, rather than from the Gaeltacht, whose entire population (including several solidly anglophone suburbs of Galway city) is currently 91,000.
This got me thinking. Is there a city version of the Irish language? And if there is, how different is it from Gaeltacht Irish? A conversation I recently had with a speaker from Limerick, who is raising her daughter in Irish, revealed a fascinating fact. She never listened to Raidió na Gaeltachta. Was it that it was a Gaeltacht station and irrelevant to her, I asked? Only partly, she admitted. It was actually because she found the presenters very difficult to understand.
Yet this woman spoke fluent Irish. How could a fluent speaker of Irish have such difficulty with the national Irish-language radio station? What did she listen to?
“Oh, the usual. RTÉ, Today FM, Live95.” Surely she listened to some Irish-language media. Maybe she watched TG4?
“No. Not TG4, sometimes Hector and the sports.” And she let her young daughter watch the kids’ programmes.

My conversations with Gaeltacht people met with a similar bias, but in the other direction. When presenters with so-called “school Irish” came on the radio, my Gaeltacht friends say they tend to tune out, finding the Irish unpleasant, or difficult to understand. They tolerate much of TG4’s output, but grimace or change channels when city speakers come on. As for the hordes of Irish-speaking teenagers and parents who descend on the Gaeltacht during the summer months, they absolutely prefer to speak English with them. They say that the city folks’ Irish is simply too strange.

As a linguist, I find this fascinating. The two groups, while nominally speaking the same language, have almost no points of contact. They prefer to tune each other out or speak English with each other, rather than use Irish together. This seems to have all the hallmarks of a separation.
Linguists tend to examine languages according to several criteria, and I decided to do a comparative analysis of the two types of Irish (Gaeltacht and non-Gaeltacht) using the most common of these criteria: pronunciation, word-order, word-formation, and vocabulary. To do this, I transcribed recordings of news reports compiled and read by Gaeltacht speakers on Raidió na Gaeltachta, and then by urban speakers on the two urban Irish-language stations, Raidió Fáilte in Belfast and Raidió na Life in Dublin.

Next I transcribed segments of chat shows from the different radio stations, in which the speakers were speaking freely. To avoid complicating matters, I chose the speakers at random, electing to ignore whether they were speakers who had learned Irish in the Gaeltacht or not. A comparison of the recordings unearthed significant differences in all areas of analysis.

Phonetics, or pronunciation, is a major feature of any language, and particularly so for Irish, which uses pronunciation to mark things such as the case of a noun or the tense of a verb. Since Irish has very many distinct phonetic features, I chose only three for comparative analysis: slender dentals (the initial consonants of “teas” and “tí”, for example), velar fricatives (the initial consonants of “chaisleán” and “Chonnacht”, for example), and palatal fricatives (the initial consonants of “cheann” and “chiseach”, for example).
NEWSREADERS ON R na G missed these features between 0 and 7 per cent of the time (that is to say, not much), while newsreaders on the urban stations missed them between 21 and 66 per cent of the time, a fairly significant number.
This demonstrates differences in pronunciation between Gaeltacht and city, and suggests a significant difference in the grammar used by Irish speakers in urban areas.
Most linguists agree that syntactic sophistication can be partially marked by the presence of subclauses in sentences. So, one might argue that “Peter died because he was sick” is more sophisticated than “Peter was sick and (then) he died”. A count of subclauses in the texts shows that newsreaders on RnaG produce eight subclauses for every 10 sentences, while their counterparts in urban stations produce five.

Gaeltacht speakers produce 15 subclauses for every 10 sentences, while their urban counterparts produce between six and eight. This is a considerable difference. Furthermore, urban speakers rarely nested subclauses within subclauses, while Gaeltacht speakers did so very frequently. The implications of this are quite serious, suggesting that the sentences of urban speakers are notably less sophisticated than those of their Gaeltacht counterparts.
Given all this, one might expect a lexical analysis of the texts to show that urban speakers have smaller vocabularies, but they actually seem to have much the same vocabulary as their Gaeltacht counterparts. For every 100 words used by a Gaeltacht newsreader, 66 are discrete (that is to say, not repeated). For the urban newsreader, the number is 68. The Gaeltacht speaker has 46 discrete words per 100, while his urban counterpart has 42. The conclusion is that speakers within and without the Gaeltacht have a similar range of vocabulary.
Interestingly, although language activists often decry the presence of English in the utterances of all Irish speakers, the highest level of English for any of the speakers was 4 per cent, from a speaker who used interjections such as “níl aon, really, excitement” and “you know, sin grand”.

This suggests, perhaps, that some (but not all) urban speakers are occasionally thinking partially in English, and translating what comes to mind on an ad-hoc basis.
Irish has a fairly sophisticated morphological system. That is to say, words can change form in several ways. The noun cainteoir, for instance, can mutate to gcainteoir, cainteora, chainteora, cainteoirí, and gcainteoirí, depending on its grammatical function. As we saw earlier, if the pronunciation of these mutations alters or fails, the entire grammatical system of the language becomes endangered.
When I analysed the expected morphological changes in the nouns of newsreaders, I found that newsreaders on RnaG, reading the news and speaking off the cuff, missed a fairly unremarkable 2 to 6 per cent. Newsreaders on urban stations, however, missed 40 per cent of expected changes.

In terms of expected pronunciation, the relaxed urban speakers missed almost every opportunity to lenite or eclipse (“séimhiú” and “urú”), usually failing, for example, to mark any masculine nouns that were in the plural or genitive. This is an extraordinary development, and the urban dialect of Irish seems to have not yet developed any strategies to deal with it.
Urban Irish doesn’t seem to be actually Anglicising, but it is different, particularly in the area of grammar. Some experts might be tempted to call this new entity a Pidgin. Although the term has negative connotations, there is some justification for it. A Pidgin is a relatively unstable language with simplified pronunciation and grammar, created on the fly for purposes of practical communication. By definition, it has no native speakers. Should the Pidgin persist into another generation and further, it gains native speakers, becomes known as a Creole, and develops the hallmarks of an independent language, including a stable grammar.

The number of Irish speakers in Ireland is increasing, according to all census and survey data, and yet the number of Gaeltacht speakers is falling. However, the city dialect of Irish seems not yet to have progressed beyond the level of a second language spoken mostly outside the home by activists, while Gaeltacht Irish is, at least for its broadcasters, a medium through which they are working and thinking for most of the day without the undue influence of other languages.

LANGUAGE PURISTS may claim this as more evidence that Irish is dying, but it must be most vigorously noted that this small study shows quite the opposite. The language is being spoken in all corners of the country (and abroad), and while it might be changing radically, particularly in this current generation, there is no evidence of it dying out. The good news is that there are urban Irish-language radio stations, and that they broadcast a wide variety of programmes directed primarily at young people. There were no such media 20 years ago, and this suggests that Ireland’s towns and cities are reaching a critical mass of second-language Irish speakers who want their own media.

If their language is to move beyond its current unstable stage, however, they will have to consider making the decision to raise their children through Irish. Some, such as my Limerick friend, are already doing so, and we can only wait to see what sort of Irish the next generation of urban speakers will have. Will the urban variety become its own dialect of Irish, or grow further apart from its Gaeltacht cousin, becoming a Creole or new language?

As an Irish speaker and long time supporter of the expansion of its use in the media and in the daily life of the Irish people, I agree with the writer in that there seems to be some significant differences in the Irish spoken in the Gaeltacht and that spoken in non-Gaeltacht areas. The three distinct dialects spoken in the main Gaeltacht areas along the West Coast in Donegal, the Dingle Penninsula in Kerry, and Connemara and the Aran Islands in Galway seem to have become more homogenous in recent years since the inception of alternate broadcasts on Raidio na Gaelteachta from sites in each of those main areas. I have often raved about the resurgence of interest in and use of the Irish language in the North in recent years. I have occasion to visit the North on a fairly regular basis and I have noticed differences in the Irish used there, as well as in urban areas in the Republic, from that with which I am familiar in the Connemara Gaeltacht and Aran. This is not too surprising when one thinks of the colloquial differences when people from these areas are speaking in English. I would like to think that anybody who is interested enough to learn Irish, would also insist on its preservation rather than allowing it to deteriorate into another language altogether. That would, in my view, be nothing short of a tragedy.

Tir gan teanga, Tir gan anam! Gaeilge go deo!
Le gach dea-ghui,
Sean Og O'Miadhachainn

Jack Meehan
Past National President, AOH

Monday, January 11, 2010

IAR Endorses Brown

PRESS RELEASE - For immediate release


The Irish American Republicans, a 130-year old coalition of Irish Americans in the Republican Party, have enthusiastically endorsed State Senator Scott Brown, to be elected as the next US Senator from Massachusetts, in the special election scheduled for January 19th.

"Scott Brown is a respected Irish American legislator, whose family roots go back to County Sligo in Ireland. He is a principled and successful leader, who will help to preserve our freedoms, defend our country, lower our taxes, and represent the best tradition of Massachusetts as an independent and informed voice in the United States Senate," stated Thomas Mason of Lakeville, former General Counsel of the Massachusetts Republican Party, and Chair of the Irish American Republicans of Massachusetts.

"It is important that Massachusetts elect Scott Brown to the United States Senate. Scott Brown has an excellent record of public service and is a real patriot," added Mason, "Scott Brown will vigorously oppose the looming fiscal and health care disaster of 'Obamacare.' Scott's opponent, Martha Coakley, has a sloppy record as a politician who has favored criminals instead of the victims. Her tenure as Massachusetts Attorney General has been sadly embarrassing."

"The Irish American Republicans are proud to endorse Scott Brown, for the US Senate," stated IAR National Chairman Grant Lally. "In these dangerous times, we need a responsible leader like Senator Scott Brown. He knows the dangers in this world, is a serious public servant, and is strongly committed to fiscal responsibility in government. Unlike his clueless opponent, Scott Brown will bring distinction to Massachusetts in the US Senate."

"We are urging all our members to volunteer in Massachusetts, make calls to voters, and contribute to Scott Brown's campaign," concluded Lally, "The stakes for America are too high to sit back. Scott Brown is a great Irish American and a true patriot, and we need him in the US Senate.”

The Irish American Republicans were founded in 1880, and are a group of Irish Americans and those interested in Ireland-US relations and the Irish Peace Process, dedicated to supporting principled and responsible leaders for elected office.

For the Scott Brown for US Senate campaign:
or or 781-444-0200
For the Irish American Republicans contact:
Thomas Mason, Massachusetts IAR Chair: 508-631-1581
Grant Lally, National IAR Co-Chair: 917-686-8440

King will not contest U.S. Senate

Dated: January 11, 2010 For Immediate Release

Sees Republicans Retaking House in 2010

Congressman Pete King announced today that he is reaffirming his decision not to run for the United States Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010. Rep. King has issued the following statement:

"More that four months ago I announced that I would not be a candidate for the United States Senate in 2010. During the past several weeks, however, a number of state and national leaders - as well as many friends and supporters - asked me to reconsider my decision. Because of my great regard for all those people, I told them I would discuss their request with my family and close advisors over Christmas and announce my decision early in the New Year.

While the political situation has changed dramatically in the Republicans' favor since September and I believe that Sen. Gillibrand can and will be defeated in 2010, I will not be a candidate for the Senate.

There are two main reasons for my decision:

1) The time I would have to devote to fundraising and campaigning throughout New York state over the next 10 months would prevent me from doing my job as Congressman and as Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee; and

2) I am increasingly confident that Republicans will retake the majority in the House of Representatives and that I will again have the opportunity to be Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee - a position which, as recent events have dramatically demonstrated, is vital to the safety of our nation and the New York City-Long Island region.

It has been my privilege to represent New York's 3rd Congressional District for more that 17 years. I hope to be re-elected to that position in November."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Shannon - Distorted Headlines Aside

U.S. Military landings at Shannon, a boon to Irish economy

€10m: Shannon security bill for US troops
By Mary Regan

Political Reporter

Monday, January 04, 2010 – Irish Examiner

ALMOST €10 million has been spent in just three years on protecting US troops passing through Shannon airport on their way to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Department of Justice figures show the cost of providing Garda security at the airport was €8.6m between 2006 and 2008. This includes €2.8m on Garda overtime, more than €1m in expenses and subsistence claims by the gardaí and €4.8m in salaries. During the same period, the cost of army patrols at the airport was €964,702, according to Defence Minister Willie O’Dea, bringing the total cost of security at the airport to close to €10m. The latest figures show more than 243,000 US troops passed through Shannon airport in 2009 – or 665 per day. This brings to more than one million the number of military who used the airport en route to US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since the start of 2006.

Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín O Caoláin said the cost to the taxpayer is a "disgraceful situation" and something that should be properly debated in the Dáil. He said the use of Shannon was "totally and absolutely opposed by the overwhelming majority of Irish people who do not accept the legitimacy of the war in Afghanistan". The movement of troops is estimated to have been worth around €7m to the airport in 2009.

Transport Minister Noel Dempsey said it is too early to say if there will be any impact on the airport caused by the recent decision by US President Barack Obama to deploy an extra 17,000 troops to Afghanistan in 2010. Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said the annual bill of more than €3m was justified. "The deployment of Garda resources is based on an assessment by the Garda authorities of the measures necessary to ensure the safety and security of personnel, staff, passengers and property at Shannon airport," said Mr Ahern. Anti-war protesters claim the use of Shannon airport by US troops undermines Ireland’s neutrality. But the Government argues that the missions are being carried out under a UN mandate.

The Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) has criticised the Government’s response to the escalation of US military personnel numbers in Afghanistan. PANA chairman Roger Cole said Ireland has become a "vassal state" of the "American empire". "These wars must be stopped now, and the termination of the use of Shannon airport by the US troops is a key step towards peace and economic stability," he added. PANA held the first anti-war demonstration at Shannon airport in 2002 and has been involved in many protests since then. Mr Cole said: "While it is the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Pakistan that have suffered most from the wars of the American empire and its vassal states like Ireland, the ordinary American family is being impoverished by its militarist neo-liberal agenda."


"The byline at the top of this article is grossly misleading at best, a flat out lie at worst. As stated further on in the article the 10 million Euro figure does not take into consideration the vast amount of income to Shannon Airport in the form of landing fees, fuel charges, and the huge amount of sales to our troops at Shannon Duty Free. They spend very large amounts of money on gifts to be sent home, not knowing whether or when they will be going home themselves. With regard to the tired old story of the damage to “Irish Neutrality”, neutrality exists only in the minds of those who wish that it was embraced in the Irish Constitution. The fact of the matter is that it is not. The fallacy of “Irish Neutrality” has been used on those who do not know this fact for many years. The Irish government is to be congratulated for standing up to the misguided participants in the disgraceful demonstrations at Shannon Airport aimed at our American troops who are serving our country with the highest level of honor and distinction. May God Bless our Troops for their Selfless and Honorable Service to the United States of America."

Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

"You will notice that the 10 million Euro figure is for the last three years. The 7 million Euro income to Shannon Airport is for 2009 alone. Assuming there was 7 million per year income for the three year period, there would be a net profit to Shannon Airport of 11 million Euro. The bottom line, as always, depends on how one works the figures.
However, the profit or loss is secondary to the fact that Shannon Airport owes its very existence to the business that it derives from Americans. Speaking as one who served under the same flag as those heroic young men and women passing through Shannon, I am utterly disgusted by the sickening "carry on" by those misguided participants in the demonstrations aimed at our American troops."

Jack Meehan

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Curley's People

Courtesy of Irish American GOP Activist, Virginia

Curley’s People
Three generations after James Michael Curley reshaped Boston politics, we - and our leaders - are still living with the consequences
By Peter S. Canellos January 3, 2010

Back in the ’90s, Turner Classic Movies produced hourlong documentaries on the great stars of the ’30s, hosted by actors who were inspired by them. Susan Sarandon praised Bette Davis for giving working-class heroines both guts and dignity, Liam Neeson honored Clark Gable’s effortless masculinity, Michael J. Fox celebrated James Cagney’s pluck, and so on. The documentaries drew their strength from the surprising depth of the connection between the generations. Each hour was a love story, a display of affection for a long-dead mentor. The flickering vulnerability that was visible in the old clips of Vivien Leigh flashed in Jessica Lange’s eyes as she squared her shoulders and paid tribute to Leigh.

Billy Bulger, who in the ’80s and most of the ’90s ruled the Massachusetts Senate, displays the same kind of connection in his newly published “short biography” of the governor, congressman, and four-time Boston mayor James Michael Curley. It’s an extraordinary meeting of author and subject. A live wire flows from the Curley of the ’30s to the present day, and for several decades its chief conductor was none other than Bulger himself. Like Curley, Bulger was a mixture of grandiosity and humility, with a larger-than-life manner and a down-to-earth patronage network. Each cultivated a classical speaking style, spiced with Latin and Greek references, to inspire his working-class audience. Each also framed his politics strictly in terms of what he delivered for supporters, with votes and government programs exchanged almost as a quid pro quo.

Curley’s legacy is, of course, greater than that of Bulger or any other protege. Curley was unpopular with most of his political peers, who regarded him as selfish and untrustworthy, but he now enjoys near-universal approval among Boston’s neighborhood politicians. They’ve accepted him as their role model, forgiving (and in a few cases embracing) his divisiveness and trading of favors. Come election time, they vie with each other to meet his standard of authenticity.

That means judging candidates by their loyalties - to their neighborhood and ethnic group - and by their level of attentiveness to average constituents. Forgetting where one came from is the cardinal sin. That’s why Representative Michael Capuano never misses a chance to tout his working-class roots and home in Somerville. It’s why even the upwardly mobile businessman-turned-politician Stephen Pagliuca felt obliged to recall how an employer once told him, “I didn’t know they had Italians at Harvard Business School.” Curley felt that no one should forget such insults, and that they should dedicate themselves to pushing back.
He attacked rival Irish-American politicians for kowtowing to the Yankees or, worse, the British. He called one such rival, an Irish immigrant who happened to have served in the British army, a “hireling of England.”

Inspiring to the sons and daughters of immigrants in his day, who had experienced vivid discrimination, Curley’s style of politics would seem to be as dated as his fedora; but his current-day imitators don’t see it that way. In accepting the enduring appeal of class-based politics, they don’t really acknowledge that times have changed, that never moving beyond one’s birthplace or station in life is a suffocating expectation, and that blaming a smug upper class for current-day deprivations is as anachronistic as blaming King George for unfair taxation.

And yet the strictures of the Curley era aren’t alive only in the minds of politicians. There’s something in the city itself - in its proud neighborhoods, its quick sense of grievance, its disinterest in things happening outside its borders - that reflects the Curley mind-set. As a true son of Boston, Curley may have molded himself in reaction to the forces buffeting his city. But as the man who set those forces into motion, Curley has to be held at least partly responsible for the parochialism that still encircles Boston politics, sacrificing growth and expansion for a deeper commitment to preservation and neighborhood justice.

Bulger stood for that principle, unashamedly seeking public jobs for supporters, with court officer positions as his top prizes. As Senate president from 1978 to 1996, he was one of the three most important political leaders in the state. And while governors and House speakers came and went, Bulger’s Curley-infused politics endured. It’s not exactly a revelation that Bulger modeled himself after Curley, yet in “James Michael Curley: A Short Biography With Personal Reminiscences,” he indicates just how rigorous the modeling was. Bulger writes, for example, of practicing relentlessly to master Curley’s speaking style. Watching Curley through the starry eyes of the college-age Bulger, racing from the Hotel Brunswick to Thompson’s Spa in search of his aging role model, offers a glimpse of history. But watching how Bulger describes Curley’s politics has a deeper fascination: It defines the cult of authenticity that has limited the horizons of many Boston political leaders. And it shows why Boston can’t fully move beyond its political past.

Boston was the center of political agitation leading up to the Revolution, and later, in the years surrounding the Civil War, Boston’s “Brahmin” elites exerted groundbreaking influence in religion, education, feminism, environmental consciousness, literature, and the abolition movement. Boston’s culture defined the new nation, and infused its politics. But by the dawn of the 20th century, Boston’s influence was waning. The Yankees, with their once-restless spirit, had ossified into a Beacon Hill oligarchy. Their downfall came for the usual reasons, an infatuation with their own status and the numbing effect of prejudice. Waves of immigration had reached a critical mass, and in Boston the Yankees were outnumbered. They took refuge behind class barriers, and made war over the unseemly influence of the mostly Irish-American ward bosses.

James Michael Curley, who was born in 1874, came of age during this time of decline. Factories were moving south, and many sons and daughters of immigrants were relegated to the lowest of service jobs. Curley’s driving force was anger at the reform committees, instituted by the Yankee-dominated state government to monitor municipal finances and report on corruption. But that was just the tip of an iceberg of resentments that included the degradation of Irish-American maids in Yankee homes, the condescension of Yankee intellectuals to even highly educated Irish-Americans, and the resistance of Yankee business owners to workplace reforms.

Bulger draws attention to Curley’s use of symbols, including his famous edict that only long-handled mops would be used at City Hall, lest any cleaning woman be obliged to work on her knees, as many did in Yankee households. Curley also cast his civic improvements in class terms, declaring that the L Street Bathhouse on Dorchester Bay would provide the equivalent of a vacation in the tropics - something only the wealthy (and, most likely, Yankee) could contemplate.

Similar class-based strains existed elsewhere in Depression-era America, and Curley’s soak-the-rich politics fascinated struggling urbanites in much the same way that Huey Long’s “share the wealth” plan inspired rural voters and communism intrigued intellectuals. But in Boston the divisions were not only class-based but ethnic and religious, extending from old-country tensions between England and Ireland to disputes between Catholics and Protestants. They created a vein of distrust that arguably extends into the present day. Still, if Curley’s only contribution had been to accelerate the Yankee-Irish political wars, he’d be a footnote. Instead, he fought most of his battles against his ethnic rivals, creating the “authenticity” test that still gets applied to Boston politicians.

Curley was so intent on proving his commitment to “his” people that he often handed constituents money out of his own pockets. He also sought to demonstrate a superior devotion to Catholicism. He told interviewers how he would kneel by the closed door of the birthing room, saying the rosary, while his wife was in labor; women were deeply touched, and gave him their votes. Curley turned other aspects of his life into parables connecting him to voters’ struggles. His father, who immigrated to Boston as a teenager, “died on the job,” Bulger reports, suggesting that the 34-year-old man was done in by unrequited toil. In fact, as Bulger acknowledges, Michael Curley bet a friend he could lift a 400-pound curbstone and then dropped dead of the strain.

In 1904, the younger Curley was caught taking a civil service exam for another man, and went to jail. “He did it for a friend,” became his rallying cry. Indeed, Curley managed to transgress just enough to become the victim of the very forces he opposed, earning a cloak of martyrdom. Five decades after Curley’s first imprisonment, the young Billy Bulger idolized him precisely because of his critics; as a student at Boston College, Bulger wrote a paper on the vicious lengths to which Curley’s enemies went to persecute and vilify him, essentially for standing up for his people. “He was certainly - in my mind - a man of greater virtue than his foes,” Bulger writes in the biography.

Be that as it may, there was always another route for both Curley and his foes. The tensions between the Yankees and Irish-Americans were clearly visible, but not every politician chose to make a living off them. A few Brahmins, like Leverett Saltonstall, cheerfully marched up Broadway in South Boston seeking the backing of Irish-Americans. And on the other side there was Joseph P. Kennedy, a Curley skeptic and near-contemporary who chose to blaze a very different path. The son of an East Boston ward leader and son-in-law of John F. Fitzgerald, the Boston mayor whom Curley helped topple by threatening to reveal his affair with a dancer named Toodles, Kennedy harbored grand dreams that propelled him away from the world of door-knocking and constituent favors.

He steered his four princely sons around the conflagration that was Boston politics under Curley, so they could offer an aspirational message premised on the idea that the sons and daughters of immigrants could take their rightful places atop American society.
Amassing a fortune, Kennedy chose to live like the Yankees, and instilled in his children both a sense of opportunism and noblesse oblige. Here was an Irish-American who remembered where he came from but didn’t want to stay there. He resented the Brahmins but admired their role in American history so much that he claimed it for himself, as part of an American birthright owned by no single ethnic group.

Kennedy’s success, and that of his sons, made him the ultimate counterpoint to Curley. While Curley told the sons and daughters of immigrants to remember where they came from, Kennedy told them to boldly go wherever they wanted to go. Curley’s politics, predicated on a struggle between communities for a shrinking pool of resources, denied the existence of the American dream; the Kennedy family lived it. Ultimately, it was the Kennedys, not Curley, who fully married the immigrant experience to the American dream, closing the loop on Boston history in a way that helped restore Massachusetts’ relevancy - and, in many ways, its primacy - in the country’s political and intellectual life.

Bulger, who purports to admire both the Kennedys and Curley, also notes the animosity between them. After the Second World War, Joe Kennedy helped secure a congressional seat for his eldest surviving son, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Curley was then serving as mayor of Boston from the federal penitentiary in Danbury, Conn., having been convicted of mail fraud for allowing a friend to use his name in securing a war contract. Back in Boston, many believed Curley had been railroaded. The entire Massachusetts congressional delegation except for John F. Kennedy petitioned President Truman to commute Curley’s sentence.
“Some pundits have suggested that Kennedy’s hardheartedness derived from his ambition - how would it look in the rest of the provinces to be tainted by empathy for the old scoundrel?” Bulger writes, but then concludes that “Kennedy was acting in this instance not like an up-and-coming politician or a callous son of privilege. He was acting like a politician with a long memory.” Kennedy was thinking of his grandfather and Toodles!

Bulger is thus able to justify both his high regard for the assassinated president and his faith in Curley’s mandate that all politics be personal. Both Kennedy and Curley remembered where they came from. Both were good to those who loved and supported them.
The Kennedy dynasty may now be ending. Last August, in a procession followed by millions of TV viewers, Edward Kennedy’s casket made a solemn pilgrimage to his favorite Boston historical sites, symbolizing the fusion of Yankee and Irish-American values and aspirations. All the Kennedy brothers are now gone. But in many neighborhoods, James Michael Curley, and his entirely more reductive version of Boston politics, lives on and on.

Peter Canellos is the editorial page editor of The Boston Globe.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

ILIR Figures - Greatly Exaggerated

Number of Irish moving to Australia up by 25% as crisis bites
JAMIE SMYTH - Tue, Dec 29, 2009 – The Irish Times

THE NUMBER of residence visas issued by the Australian government to Irish people rose by 25 per cent this year, while there has been a 13 per cent jump in similar residence visas issued by Canadian authorities, according to new figures.
The statistics show Irish people are moving to both Canada and Australia in increasing numbers to escape the economic recession but are largely shunning traditional emigration routes to Britain and the US.
Australia issued 2,501 residence visas to Irish people in the year to the end of June, up from 1,989 in the same period last year. Canada issued 1,471 visas in the first six months of 2009 and is on course to issue 3,000 for the full year. Last year it issued 2,607 visas.
The number of 12-month working holiday visas for Australia issued to people under 30 has surged by 33 per cent to 22,786 in the year to the end of June, new figures show.
In comparison, the number of people emigrating to the US has continued to fall in recent years. In the year to the end of September 2009 the US government issued 287 immigrant visas from its Irish office. This compares to 288 visas in 2008 and 317 in 2007.
A new 12-month US working holiday visa for students and graduates, which was given a high-profile launch by the Government in 2008, has so far proved a flop. Fewer than 200 visas were issued in the first year, significantly below the 20,000 visas available every year through the visa exchange programme.
Britain, which during the 20th century was a hugely popular destination for Irish emigrants, has not experienced a dramatic upturn in imigration. The number of national insurance numbers issued to Irish people has increased only slightly in the first half of 2009, suggesting 11,000 people will move there this year.
The Central Statistics Office published figures in September showing 18,400 Irish nationals emigrated in the year to April 2009. But it is not possible to tell from the statistics where they went. The new figures, compiled by The Irish Times from the Australian, Canadian, British, US and New Zealand immigration authorities, shed some light on where Irish people are moving to escape the recession and unemployment.
“The big increase is for temporary options. People are taking a year out to ride out the recession by travelling to Australia and Canada. There aren’t the same options for travel to the US and the new J visa is quite restrictive,” said Joe O’Brien, policy officer at Crosscare Migrant Project, which offers advice at its drop-in centre to potential emigrants.
But he cautioned it was still early days in the recession and emigration rates would likely pick up during 2010.
The Economic and Social Research Institute predicts net outward migration to be 40,000 people in the year ending April 2010, up from 7,800 in the previous 12 months. Unemployment should peak at close to 14 per cent, according to the ESRI.
Canada’s ambassador to Ireland, Patrick Binns, said Canada was probably seeing more interest from Irish people wanting to emigrate because its economy had not been as badly hit as other countries.
“We are out of recession and are still open to Irish workers with skills in many areas,” said Mr Binns, who noted the embassy held several events during the year outlining the options available to emigrants.
Usit, which organises working holiday visas for tens of thousands of people every year, is also reporting a 700 per cent rise in interest for its volunteer programmes, which enable people to do volunteer work or teach abroad for a year or more.
“So far the level of e-mail, phone and walk-in demand for the year ahead is pretty extraordinary. People seem determined to make the best use of time available to them,” said Usit’s Seona MacReamoinn, who expects this to continue in 2010.

The opinions and figures expressed in this article seem to contradict those of most of the Irish immigrant advocacy groups here in the U.S. One advocacy group, in particular, would have us believe that the numbers that they quoted prior to the collapse of the Irish economy would double in the next year. I thought that opinion was way off base in consideration of the tightening of our already stringent laws regarding work authorization here and the serious penalties imposed on those caught breaking those laws. The high rate of unemployment here for American citizens only exacerbates an already serious problem for immigrants without work authorization. Although there will always be some who are willing to take a chance, I do feel that there is some credence to the opinion expressed in this article.

Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America