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New York win Connacht warm-up

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

The Kildare squad is managed by Barney Rock, the Dublin sharpshooter from the eighties. The Big Apple boss Seamus Sweeney and his mentors will be quite pleased with this performance as the crew played well together. They were tenacious in defense while the score taking was exemplary, especially in the second half. The team appeared to be fit and supported each other well as they moved the ball with purpose. However the New York mentors will be shrewd enough not to attach too much significance to this result as the opposition had only about half their first team players plus the fact that they were on tour may also have blunted their match fitness.
New York got down to business straight from the throw-in as midfielder Sean O’Neill set up Ken O’Connor for the first score. Indeed O’Connor, aka Big Bird, enjoyed his return to the Big Apple squad as he proved to be a very ample target man in every sense of the word. He also displayed an arsenal of scoring weapons as he fisted over while also scoring off both feet. Corner forward Johnny Murtagh also displayed his considerable repertoire of skills as he cut through for a fine score after Lonan McGuire and Aidan Morton did the approach work. Celbridge were slow to settle down plus their early attacks fell wide off the target. At the halfway stage, Richie O’Sullivan had their opening score when he finished off good support play by Padraig Carty and Dave Byrne. However, Dan Doona responded immediately with a fine effort after linking up well with Ken O’Connor and Mark Dobbin. The exchanges were fairly even at this stage as both sides traded a brace of points. Ken O’Connor and James Moynagh were on the mark for the Big Apple squad while Richie O’Sullivan and Padraigh Carty replied for Celbridge. Ronan Caffrey added two further points for New York to leave them leading by 7 points to 3 at the break.
Straight from the restart, Sean O’Neill pointed after Dan Doona picked him out with a good pass. At the other end, good defensive work by New York forced a turnover which Murtagh punished with a point. The next score was the turning point and the best score of the match as Murtagh burst down the right wing and fired a great shot to the net.
New York were clearly in control as Caffrey followed up with a minor. Cormac McEvoy got one back for the Kildare boys after midfielders Fitzgerald and Byrne did the support work. Paurie Carty and Ken O’Connor exchanged points at the twentieth minute mark. New York cruised through the last ten minutes, with Paddy Smith hitting the net while Michael Sloan and O’Connor had points.
Overall it was a useful challenge for New York as the mentors tried out some new players. Brendan McGourty slotted in well at full back while Alan Raftery was commanding at number six. Ronan Caffrey was very productive at wing back while the other defenders played smartly. The midfielders had the edge with O’Neill displaying a good work rate. Up front, O’Connor and Murtagh stole the show while Doona directed well from the forty. Despite being out played for much of the game, the Kildare boys battled away to the end. Donal Moore, Padraig Carty, and Robbie Hannon tried hard in defense while midfielders Fitzgerald and Byrne had their moments. Up front the main threat came from Mark and Richie O’Sullivan. New York’s next scheduled opponents will be Boston as they continue their preparations for the championship.
New York: Pa Ryan, Lonan McGuire, Brendan McGourty, John Goldrick, Aidan Morton, Alan Raftery, Ronan Caffrey (0-3), Sean O’Neill (0-1), Pat Madden, Mark Dobbin, Dan Doona (0-1), Ross Conovan, James Moynagh (0-1), Ken O’Connor (0-5), Johnny Murtagh (1-5)
Subs: Paddy Smith (1-2), Michael Sloan (0-1), Kevin McGeeney, Alan Carolan, Conor Brady, Patsy Martin, Robbie Moran, Aidan Power, James Huvane, Shane Carty
Celbridge: Paul Spratt, Mick Deegan, Jim Creighton, Donal Moore, Dara McEvoy, Robbie Hannon, Paurie Carty (0-2), Padraigh Fitzgerald, Dave Byrne, Ollie Lyons, Cormac McEvoy (0-1), Shane Harte, Alan Meaney, Mark O’Sullivan, Richie O’Sullivan (0-3)
Subs: David Lyons (0-1), Emmett Rice, Robbie McNamee, John Fitzgerald, Sean Murtagh, Kevin Lawler
Referee: Tom Fahey

Pat Cahill laid to rest

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

Cahill, who was 73, died March 11 as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident on Feb. 25.
The Ardkill, County Cavan native was a popular figure and known to many because of his ownership of the Woodside Steak House from 1980 to 1997.
Cahill was the beloved husband of Breda Cahill and the late Anne Cahill and a father of five. He is also survived by a broader family in the New York area, Ireland and the UK.
Following a funeral Mass on Monday, March 15, at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Oradell, New Jersey, Cahill was laid to rest at Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah, NJ.

Finucane portrait unveiled in D.C.

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

Congressman Richard Neal was addressing over 100 members of Congress, Irish American leaders and civil rights campaigners from the North of Ireland gathered in the Capitol Building for the unveiling on Thursday.
“For more than twenty years, I have worked with my colleagues in the United States House of Representatives to campaign for the truth into the murder of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane,” Neal said.
“In 2006, on a bipartisan basis, we passed a resolution calling on the British government to hold an independent public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death. As our search for justice and accountability continues, I am honored to take part in this unveiling ceremony. This extraordinary portrait, seen here for the first time, will help keep Pat’s spirit and legacy alive for years to come.”
A senior Democrat, Rep. Neal also marveled at the influence of the Irish in Washington. In the past two weeks, President Obama, and former presidents Clinton and Bush, have engaged in the Irish peace process.
“What other country of six million people can boast of that type of strong relationship?” he asked.
Those views were echoed by Republican Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, co-chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs.
He stressed that while Democrats and Republicans were divided on many issues, they were at one on the issue of exposing British government collusion in the 1989 assassination of Pat Finucane.
“The British government have good friends in this country, but on the issue of collusion, they have fallen way below the mark we expect of an ally,” he said.
Robert Ballagh, one of Ireland’s greatest portrait artists, said that his creation of the shattered image of Pat Finucane was a metaphor for Finucane’s violent death.
“In many ways, Pat Finucane was a hero and I don’t think we should ever forget our heroes,” Ballagh said.
Pat Finucane’s widow, Geraldine, a frequent visitor to Capitol Hill, where she has campaigned for an independent, international enquiry into his murder, said the painting showed “something of beauty could come from a time of great sorrow.”
The painting was jointly unveiled by Reps. Neal and Smith. Among other members of Congress present were Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio), and James McGovern (D-MA). Among prominent Irish Americans were Jack O’Brien, Keith Carney and Sean Pender of the AOH, Fr. Sean McManus of the Irish National Caucus, Kate McCabe and Mike Breen of the Irish American Unity Conference, and Al Nunan of the Irish American Business Association.
Representing the Irish government was Consul General Orla O’Hanrahan, while also attending was U.S. Consul General in Northern Ireland, Kamala Lakdhir.
Clara Reilly of Relatives for Justice and Monica McWilliams, CEO of the Human Rights Commission, in the U.S. to lobby for the North’s stalled human rights bill, were among the large delegation from Northern Ireland.
Commissioned by the Belfast Media Group (sister publisher to the Irish Echo) and Belfast art collector Paul Cooper, the Finucane portrait will now be displayed in the offices of Reps. Neal and Smith before it begins a nationwide tour of state offices, including the State House in Boston where Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty will exhibit the work in his office.

Gabriel Byrne is Ireland’s cultural ambassador

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

“The honorary position of Cultural Ambassador has been introduced in order to enhance the involvement and impact of internationally renowned artists in the cultural promotion of Ireland. The appointee will assist the government in developing its vision for the promotion of Irish arts, culture and the creative industries internationally,” said an Irish government statement.
“Gabriel Byrne is an internationally renowned, award-winning actor and is already well established as one of Ireland’s great ambassadors through his work in film and theatre, as well as his endeavors behind the scenes in supporting and promoting Irish artists.
“The title of Cultural Ambassador is a formal recognition of his role and shows a willingness on both parts to harness the energy and goodwill for maximum effect,” said Minister Cullen in what was one of his last duties before resigning his post for health reasons.
In Washington, Cowen said that Byrne was already well established as one of Ireland’s great ambassadors through his work in film and theater, as well as behind the scenes in supporting and promoting Irish artists.

Kelly leads heroes

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

Arguably, the parade was never in safer or more experienced hands.
As he himself pointed out more than once, Kelly is a veteran of Fifth Avenue on March 17th.
He has policed the parade, and has marched in it as police commissioner.
Being grand marshal then, was like green icing on a very big cake, one that Kelly ate up in block-long slices.
Perhaps Kelly had issued an order to the weather gods, or maybe it was just Kelly’s luck, but the parade was bathed in warm sunshine from start to finish as line after line of marchers, with Laois the leading county, proceeded northwards past St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the reviewing stands to the finishing line at 86th Street.
And it was at St. Patrick’s that the day’s ceremonies began with Mass officiated for the first time on the patron saint’s day by Archbishop Timothy Dolan.
The archbishop is not apparently a nervous type, but he must have been a little edgy as the Mass starting time came and went with no sign of his number one congregant.
As it happened, and as reported in some detail the next morning by Michael Daly of the Daily News, Kelly is a man born to double duty, and then some. On his way to St. Patrick’s he had witnessed an accident in which a woman was knocked down and badly injured by a cyclist.
Kelly, in his grand marshal regalia, tended to the woman until an ambulance arrived.
By contrast, the later walk up the avenue was incident free. The crowds were big, enthusiastic and clearly liberated by the light and warmth on a day that just roared spring.
Again, as in recent years, it was not lost on spectators that we are a country at war and the cheers for the men and women in uniform were duly loud and sustained.
Shannon Schweitzer, named, she said, after the river, was especially cheering her two sons, Thomas and Patrick Adams.
“Thomas is a firefighter and Patrick is in the army,” said the Chicago-born Shannon proudly.
Patrick had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and could well end up in one or other place again, so Shannon was savoring every moment of having her two boys not just on American soil, but on the storied asphalt of Fifth Avenue with its painted green line.
As is always the case, the parade, this year dedicated to the Boy Scouts of America and with Irish government minister Barry Andrews as an honored guest, stepped off at precisely 11 a.m. And as is always the case, it looked incapable of starting just five minutes before that hour.
But there is method behind the apparent confusion and an enthusiasm that literally knows no bounds, chronological or otherwise.
So when the hour struck eleven, the Fighting 69th was already marching, a phalanx in camouflage fatigues striding to the strains of “Garryowen.”
Looking like he could, or should, be similarly attired, Ray Kelly waited in his top hat and tails. But no matter what the outfit or uniform, Kelly looks at home in the vanguard of a column.
And this was the ultimate column: Name: the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Rank: number one in the world. Serial number: 249.

Concern run for Haiti

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

Runners and walkers are being asked to register and sign up sponsors for the four-mile event in Central Park on April 10. The race starts at 9.30 A.M.
“The story of the January 12 earthquake that hit the country has been fading from the headlines, but the needs on the ground remain enormous. The scale and complexity of the problems are overwhelming,” said Siobhan Walsh, Concern’s Executive Director.
“Seeing the chaos in one of the city’s many camps after a night of heavy rain was a hard, cold recognition of what a long road these people have ahead of them,” said Walsh, who just returned from spending several days in Port-au-Prince.
“Amidst all the tragedy,” she said, “what gives the local community and Concern staff hope are the Child Friendly Spaces we are setting up in the camps and in the slums. They provide a haven for children-they are the only places where I heard singing and laughter.”
Concern has opened three Child Friendly Spaces so far, and more are planned.
Concern has been active in Haiti since 1994 and has a current staff of almost 250, mostly Haitian nationals. Its emergency efforts focus on water and sanitation, health care-with special attention for malnourished children under five-shelter AND camp management, cash distributions and cash-for-work programs.
Full details on the fun run at www.concernusa.org.

McGuinness defends Robinson, accord

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

The Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister had a hugely significant vote in his political pocket, one that he was losing no opportunity to present as a major turning point in the drawn out peace process.
And in elevating the importance of the recent vote in favor of devolved policing and justice powers, McGuinness was also taking the opportunity to lavish praise on the role that Irish America has played in the political process that is underpinning the effort to secure a lasting peace.
Speaking to reporters in an interview in New York last Thursday, McGuinness said that there was a “very strong and very powerful” relationship between the Obama administration and political leaders in Northern Ireland.
In tandem with this, McGuinness asserted, the bonds between the Irish people and Irish America had never been stronger.
While there might be differing ideas on how best to proceed, he said he felt that “all the main sections of Irish America” were now united behind the peace process.
“The attention we get, not just on St. Patrick’s Day, but all year round, is testimony to those bonds,” McGuinness said.
The phone call made by former president Bush to (British Conservative Party leader) David Cameron, said McGuinness, had clearly showed that U.S. involvement was “not a charade or put-on” but a genuine and sincere commitment.
Both the Bush and Obama administrations had a lot to be proud of in the context of progress in recent years. America’s role, nevertheless, was changing, McGuinness opined.
This changing role had, he said, been best articulated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in saying that the focus of U.S. involvement, “at our request,” was shifting from the political to the economic.
“Peter and I had a tremendous conversation with Hillary Clinton,” said McGuinness.
Part of that conversation had focused on an extension for the International Fund for Ireland – due to sunset this year.
“Everybody needs to benefit from peace,” said McGuinness, who expressed the view that assistance from the IFI was still needed “in areas of deprivation and inequality” in the North.
Secretary Clinton, he said, had been “very supportive” in responding to his and First Minister Robinson’s pitch for an extended IFI and had promised to “talk to people.”
McGuinness added that there was “not a blade of grass” between himself and Robinson with regard to the necessity for tackling social disadvantage.
McGuinness was also effusive in his praise for the U.S. economic envoy to the North, Declan Kelly, who had “hit the ground running” and was busy making the case that the economic downturn actually made Northern Ireland a more attractive place for U.S. investment because of its comparatively low cost base.
This case would be presented again in the now planned one-day investment conference to take place in Washington in the fall.
Disputing the view that his relationship with Peter Robinson was not as close as that he enjoyed with Ian Paisley, McGuinness said he had been “hugely concerned” when Robinson’s recent family difficulties had emerged into public view.
“I don’t like to see any family go through difficulties,” said McGuinness. He said that he had been concerned for Robinson as a human being, and not just over any impact those difficulties might have posed for the political process.
While defending Robinson, McGuinness was less than praising in his views when it came to other North party leaders, specifically Ulster Unionist Party leader, Sir Reg Empey, and the SDLP’s recently elected leader, Margaret Ritchie, both of whom are ministers in the Executive headed by himself and Robinson.
The institutions of government had never collapsed since Sinn F

Irish Rail extends free travel to overseas seniors

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

“It certainly is a very good thing,” said the Rev. Colm Campbell, who has worked as a chaplain to older Irish emigrants in New York.
Visiting seniors can reserve free rail travel by going to www.discoverireland.com or by calling a local LoCall number to book a free Golden Trekker Ticket when in Ireland.
Irish Rail, which is also known as Iarnr

Reform rises

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

And on St. Patrick’s evening at the White House, President Obama pledged his administration’s support for the reform effort stating, “my own commitment to comprehensive immigration reform remains unwavering.”
Just a few feet away, standing directly in front of the presidential lectern, was Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform president Ciaran Staunton, who later warmly welcomed the president’s words.
Schumer and Graham’s Post piece followed a meeting both had with President Obama.
“We expressed our belief that America’s security and economic well-being depend on enacting sensible immigration policies,” the senators wrote.
And the continued: Our plan has four pillars: requiring biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs; fulfilling and strengthening our commitments on border security and interior enforcement; creating a process for admitting temporary workers; and implementing a tough but fair path to legalization for those already here.”
That latter category includes thousands of undocumented Irish.
The senators further stated: “For the 11 million immigrants already in this country illegally, we would provide a tough but fair path forward.
In a statement reacting to the Schumer/Graham text, President Obama said a critical next step would be to translate their framework into a legislative proposal, and for Congress to act at the earliest possible opportunity.
“I congratulate Senators Schumer and Graham for their leadership, and pledge to do everything in my power to forge a bipartisan consensus this year on this important issue so we can continue to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform,” the president said.

Liu hails MacBride win

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Archive

“The New York City Pension Funds have once again used the leverage of their share ownership to successfully spur change in how companies conduct business in Northern Ireland,” Liu said.
“There is no place for discrimination of any sort in the workplace. By adopting the MacBride Principles, Art Technology has affirmed its commitment to promoting fair work practices. I look forward to working closely with the trustees of the (pension) systems in advocating for more companies to adopt these very important principles,” Liu added.
The resolution was filed in December, 2009 by Liu’s predecessor, Comptroller William Thompson, on behalf of the pension funds, and was officially withdrawn by Comptroller Liu after he was notified that Art Technology had agreed to adopt MacBride. Collectively, the New York City Pension Funds hold 721,464 shares of Art Technology Group common stock, valued at $3,123,939 (as of March 9, 2010).
The resolution called on Art Technology to adopt the anti-discrimination guidelines named in 1984 after the late Irish statesman, Nobel laureate, and founder of Amnesty International, Sean MacBride, to serve as benchmarks for U.S. corporations operating in Northern Ireland.
Over the past 18 years, the New York City Pension Funds have successfully reached MacBride-based agreements with 93 companies with facilities in the North.
The New York City Pension Funds are comprised of the New York Employees’ Retirement System, New York City Teachers’ Retirement System, New York City Police Pension Fund, New York City Fire Department Pension Fund, and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System.

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