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After 64 years, ring travels full circle

POSTED ON March 13th  - POSTED IN News & Views

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By Ray O’Hanlon

This is a story about a ring that traveled full circle. And it’s journey took about as long as a Tolkien tale – 64 years to be precise.

It’s also a story about friendship, faith and fate. It has an unlikely beginning, but a very definite end. And for sure it’s a good ending.

It concerns a ring lost in 1949 but very quickly found, safely secured, but only last weekend restored to its rightful owner, Arthur V. Gallagher, at the annual Power Memorial Academy Alumni Association Mass of Remembrance in New York.

Gallagher’s ring was a 1949 Class Ring for the famed school, which no longer exists, but whose alumni march annually in the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

After graduating Power in 1949, Arthur Gallagher attended Manhattan College. While at college, he signed up for a Marine Corps Platoon Leader program for college students in 1952. He went to Parris Island for his training and lost his Power ring while there. At the time, most of the instructors were combat vets from Korea.

Robert F. Kelly was at Parris Island at the same time as Arthur V. Gallagher and he found, in the sands, the Power Memorial ring. Kelly was a Korean combat veteran and survivor of the infamous Battle of the Chosin Reservoir where he had been assigned to Baker 1/7, of which 300 went in and only 27 survived, Kelly being one of them.

Robert Kelly held on to the ring after not being able to find its owner. But he knew that one day he would return the ring to that rightful owner.

He did not live to do so, but his nephew, Mark Mayhue, stepped up.

After Robert Kelly passed away, Mayhue took care of the estate and found the ring among his uncle’s possessions. His curiosity aroused, he researched the ring and found the Power website.

He could not figure how his uncle, who lived in Chicago all of his life, came across a ring from a New York City school. He did not know of the Parris Island connection.

The ring had a clue, however. “AVG” was engraved inside it.

Through the Power website, Mayhue located Arthur V. Gallagher’s name in the 1949 class roster, and through some emails found Chick Pisani, President of the Power Memorial Academy Alumni Association.

“I did some research and found Arthur, who lives locally,” said Pisani.

After a few phone calls we decided to meet for lunch. After speaking with Mark, it was decided to present the ring to Arthur at this Mass and have Bishop Gerald Walsh, Power Class of 1959, bless it.” This he did at the Mass at St. Paul the Apostle Church 60th St and Columbus Avenue in New York last Saturday, March 9.

“This was a very emotional and joyous event. After 60 years, Arthur’s ring was returned due to the actions of a very honorable Marine and his family,” Pisani told the Echo.

New Bedford symposium on Douglass, O’Connell

POSTED ON March 7th  - POSTED IN News & Views

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By Irish Echo Staff

In 1845, Frederick Douglass, then an escaped slave from Maryland living in Massachusetts, traveled to Ireland and Britain, in part, to ensure his safety from “slave catchers” in the United States.

While in Ireland, Douglass remained an active and outspoken abolitionist and befriended the Irish nationalist and abolitionist Daniel O’Connell.

The product of the exchanges that took place between Douglass and O’Connell was the subject of a recent symposium in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Working with the National Park Service, the New Bedford Historical Society, the Irish Institute at Boston College, the Irish Network Boston, and the Frederick Douglass/Daniel O’Connell Project, hosted a series of panel discussions on Douglass and O’Connell.

Working closely with the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, run by Douglass’ descents, the Douglass-O’Connell project seeks to educate the Irish and American publics about the leadership of Douglass and O’Connell in the civil rights movement.

Don Mullan, a co-founder of the project, said: “The project’s primary objective is to harness the memory of Douglass and O’Connell to work for civil rights today.”

The mayor of New Bedford, Jon Mitchell, and the Consul General of Ireland in New England, Michael Lonergan, welcomed nearly 200 people to the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park for the symposium.

Lonergan told the crowd that he was particularly pleased to be in New Bedford to recognize the city’s strong connections to Ireland. Kristin Leary, a co-founder of the project, echoed Lonergan’s sentiment and added, “the symposium will foster greater public understanding between the Irish and African diasporas in the U.S.”

The symposium was made up of three panels. The opening session focused on Douglass’ political thought.

Denis Hale, professor of political science at Boston College, suggested that Douglass was a liberal republican in the classical sense who sought to promote self-governing societies where people could control their own destinies.

Christine Kinealy, professor of Irish history at Drew University, agreed, and pointed out that what Douglass and O’Connell shared above all was a fierce commitment to human rights and the development of individual consciousness.

The Frederick Douglass-Daniel O’Connell project plans many future events, including the establishment of the Institute for Ethical Leadership and Civil Rights at All Hallows College in Dublin and, with the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, a human rights education course designed to help young people understand human trafficking.

More at www.douglassoconnell.org.

Denies murdering Wexford woman

POSTED ON March 7th  - POSTED IN News & Views

By Sean Lehane

An American man accused of murdering a County Wexford woman in Japan last year has said he had no reason to kill her. Nicola Furlong was found dead in the Keio Plaza hotel in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district on May 24, 2012.

The trial in Tokyo began on Monday. Richard Hinds, aged 20 and originally from Memphis, denies murder.

He told the court he did “lightly press” Ms. Furlong’s neck but he did not believe he was the cause of her death.

Two witness statements were read out from bar workers at the nightclub where Nicola and her friend went with Hinds and his friend, American James Blackston, after a concert in the city.

The four had ordered three tequila shots as well as a round of vodka and

Red Bull. Security footage from the taxi the four took to the Keio Plaza Hotel was also played in court, however only the Furlong family could see the footage.

During the journey to the hotel the two men spoke about having sex with

the young women. Both women seemed to be unconscious in the taxi.

Night manager at the hotel, Takuya Niwano, told the court how he helped put the girls into wheelchairs when one of them collapsed in front of the

lifts. He later described going to Room 1427 following a complaint about noise.

He went inside to find Blackston and Hinds in the room with Furlong collapsed on the floor. He attempted CPR and called for an ambulance.

Blackston, has been accused of sexually assaulting Furlong’s friend. The verdict in his case is expected be delivered this week.

They’re back!

POSTED ON March 7th  - POSTED IN News & Views

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By Ray O’Hanlon

Just when you thought it was safe to don your Aran knits. T-shirts and other clothing items depicting St. Patrick’s Day as an excuse to get drunk are cropping up again in stores and website.

And one of the biggest repeat offenders appears to be Urban Outfitters which caused a storm last year with t-shirts that state the likes of “Kiss Me I’m Irish Or Drunk Or Whatever and “Irish I Were Drunk.”

The shirts are essentially the same ones that were being sold a year ago. This year they can be found on the Urban Outfitters website under “The St. Patty’s Day Shop.”

A year ago, the Ancient Order of Hibernians led a campaign to get rid of the offending items but that did not apparently have a lasting effect.

And Urban Outfitters is not the only offender.

The Journal News, which circulates north of New York City, reported that members of Rockland County’s Irish-American community “are once again protesting a series of crude St. Patrick’s Day-themed merchandise being sold at the Palisades Center mall.”

The group, according to the report, is calling on the mall and retailers to stop selling T-shirts, hats and other items displaying a range of raunchy humor, sexual slogans and references to excessive inebriation.

“In particular, the group is targeting Spencer’s, a lifestyle and gag gifts retailer with more than 600 stores in the U.S. including White Plains and Yonkers, for profiting off items they believe mock Irish culture and feed into stereotypes.

“This has gone way beyond a St. Patrick’s Day T-shirt with beer mugs,” said Neil Cosgrove, 54, a New City resident and Anti-Defamation chairperson of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. “They are just pushing the bounds more and more. You don’t see other ethnic groups targeted like this,” he told the paper.

Eastchester set to march on March 10

POSTED ON February 27th  - POSTED IN News & Views

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By Irish Echo Staff

The Eastchester Irish American Social Club is readying for the Westchester County community’s 9th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday March 10.

This celebration has become a tradition and a source of pride and enjoyment for Eastchester and its surrounding area residents, said the EIASC in a release.

The group announced that this year’s grand marshal will be David Flannery, with Jean McCluskey and Breda Travers the parade honorees.

A native of Clonmel, County Tipperary, Flannery helped spearhead the inaugural Eastchester parade in 2004.

“I was seeing an influx of Irish people and I wanted to demonstrate our presence here,” he said.

Aside from being the club’s current treasurer, Flannery is also a contractor and owns a hardware store in the Bronx. For his aides, he has chosen his 15-year-old son, Jack, and long-time friend, Tom Cascione.

Honoree Jean McCluskey was born in Dublin and moved to Eastchester when she immigrated in 1978. She went on to work for the Irish Tourism Board and is presently its marketing director.

Professor Breda Travers came to Eastchester from Limerick.

“I joined (EIASC) because I was looking to share culture with other Irish people and wanted to raise my kids with heritage,” Travers said.

An official sash presentation to the grand marshal and honorees was held recently at J.C. Fogarty’s Town Tavern in Bronxville.

Stephen Huvane, public relations co-chair for EIASC, said the parade will stp off at 3 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in Tuckahoe and proceed north on Route 22 to the Lake Isle Country Club.

The parade, he said, incorporates local schools and organizations and this year will feature ten pipe bands, seven brass marching bands and many other groups, including the police and fire Departments, veteran and active military, and antique cars.

The Eastchester Irish American Social Club is a nonprofit organization founded in 1966 and consisting of members from Eastchester, Tuckahoe, Bronxville and Crestwood who are of Irish descent. more details at www.eastchesterirish.org.

Dáil exchange over undocumented

POSTED ON February 27th  - POSTED IN News & Views

By Irish Echo Staff

John Deasy and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore “enjoyed a frank exchange in the Dáil” last week on the issue of the undocumented Irish in the U.S., this according to a statement from the Waterford TD’s office.

“The problem is that there never has been a plan B put into operation either by this or the previous government. There have been a lot of false dawns. While we have made progress with regard to the E3 visa, as the Tánaiste has said, it will not cover the bulk of the undocumented Irish. Who is the Tánaiste speaking to on the Republican side, the usual suspects?” said Deasy.

“The reality is that over the last ten or 15 years we have lost sway on Capitol Hill and we have lost sway in particular with the Republican Party. The House of Representatives is held by the Republicans and the opinion of that party on immigration has hardened over the last five or six years. We have not made any inroads into that party in terms of convincing it that a standalone deal, if necessary, is good for the Republicans. I wish to remind the Tánaiste that when it came to the green cards, it was Republican presidencies that allowed that to happen, namely former Presidents Bush and Reagan,” Deasy. who once worked as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill, added.

“The Visa Waiver Bill, which has helped Ireland so much over the last 18 years, was passed by a Republican-dominated Congress. The Clinton administration was actually against it. Unless we have a return to the kind of situation that we had 20 years ago with, in particular, the Republican Party and if comprehensive immigration reform fails again we will be left in the same position in which we currently find ourselves,” he said.

Irish in the mix

POSTED ON February 27th  - POSTED IN News & Views

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Cardinals O’Malley and Dolan seen as papal contenders

By Jim Smith

BOSTON —  It might end up being Red Sox versus Yankees – in the conclave.

The names of both Cardinals Sean O’Malley and Timothy Dolan have been prominent in the papal tipping stakes in recent days, this aided by a developing view that being from the U.S. might not be the impediment that it has been in past papal votes.

John Allen, writing in the National Catholic Reporter, suggested that O’Malley has earned a reputation as a humble Franciscan Friar who has worked effectively toward healing the wounds of clergy sexual abuse here and abroad, and in the eyes of some Vatican insiders may have the ideal temperament and background to be the next pontiff.

The 68-year-old O’Malley, whose ancestral roots are in Westport, County Mayo, earned very high marks in Boston for his handling of the sexual abuse crisis in 2003 after he took over for Cardinal Bernard Law, who had resigned amid allegations that he had gravely mishandled the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church.

O’Malley reached out to victims and implemented tough new reporting laws immediately after becoming archbishop in Boston. In 2010, Pope Benedict appointed him as an apostolic visitor to the diocese of Dublin in response to the sexual abuse crisis which Irish government reports said had gone on for decades within “a culture of secrecy.”

In addition to his extensive outreach and experience in the area of sexual abuse, O’Malley is highly regarded for his strong links to the Hispanic and Haitian communities. Fluent in several languages, he has a doctorate in Spanish and Portuguese literature from Catholic University.

He was bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands from 1984 until 1992, when he became bishop of Fall River in Massachusetts. After a short stint as bishop in Palm Beach, Florida, he replaced Cardinal Law in July 2003.

In a news conference last week, O’Malley said that he has a “round trip” ticket to Rome and has no expectation of becoming the next leader of the church.

Cardinal Dolan, meanwhile, has also been named in media reports as a possible successor to the retiring Benedict although some coverage in recent days has focused more on his dealing with the pedophile scandals during his time in Milwaukee.

Dolan is seen as being orthodox in matters of faith and also an energetic administrator at a time when the church is in need of a steady hand at the helm.

 

Bayonne readies for celebrations

POSTED ON February 25th  - POSTED IN News & Views

Bayonne’s mayor, Mark A. Smith, is planning to turn the New Jersey city green to mark St. Patrick’s Day.

Three weeks of celebration kick off this Sunday, Feb 24, with the Grand Marshal’s brunch at Chandelier Restaurant, 1080 Broadway starting at 11 a.m. and will climax on St. Patrick’s Day itself with the annual parade.

As St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, the big New York parade will take place on Saturday 16 March. And that, say Bayonne boosters, will likely lead to record numbers coming out to the New Jersey town for its annual Irish celebration.

“Bayonne is an ethnically diverse community and we have a longstanding tradition of celebrating our diversity with parades and cultural events and displays,” Mayor Smith told the Irish Echo.

“We have a vibrant Irish American community that takes great pride in sharing their heritage. Our parade, now in its 32nd year, will be led by Grand Marshal Bill Dwyer and will be the longest in the region with over 2,000 marchers representing 70 different organizations.”

Parade day festivities will begin with Mass at St. Henry Church at 10:30 a.m. while the parade will step off at 1 p.m. sharp, following a route along Broadway.

On March 1, the Irish Flag Raising will take place at Bayonne Municipal Building at 5 p.m. followed by the Shamrock Social Party in Holy Family Academy from 8 p.m. Tickets from Una Hughes (201)240-7988.

On March 7, the Hudson County Flag Raising will take place at Brennan Courthouse, Jersey City at 5 p.m. From 7:30 p.m. that evening, the Bayonne Parade Committee will host an Irish Arts Event at the Bayonne Community Museum, 229 Broadway. There will displays of memorabilia from three decades of St. Patrick’s parades in the city and a free concert by Mary Courtney and Morning Star.

On March 14, Mayor Smith will host a senior luncheon in Bayonne with music by Andrew Sharp and Peter McKiernan. On the 17th and after the parade, the parade committee after-party will take place in St. Andrew’s Gym, 126 Broadway from 2:30 p.m.

Standing behind Irish tests

POSTED ON February 20th  - POSTED IN News & Views

 

By Sean Lehane

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has said it is confident in its meat testing after a supermarket chain appeared to cast doubt on the reliability of the FSAI’s results.

The British chief executive of the chain, Iceland, caused uproar when he seemingly dismissed the Irish testing.

“Well, that’s the Irish, isn’t it?” Malcolm Walker in a BBC interview. Walker later apologized

“Iceland and our chief executive, Malcolm Walker, are deeply sorry for any offence caused by his TV interview last night. His comments were not intended to be disrespectful to the Irish people, including our many Irish customers, colleagues and suppliers, or to the Irish food safety authorities. We hold all of these in the very highest regard,” said a company statement.

The Irish authority had found horse DNA in Iceland burgers, but the chain subsequently passed checks in Britain.

Professor Alan Reilly of the FSAI dismissed Iceland’s claims that the tests were carried out in unaccredited labs.

He said the Iceland claim was totally unprofessional and said the authority based all risk management decisions on the best science available.

“When we set out with our small survey back in November of last year, we had no idea where we were going with this, but we certainly have uncovered a fraud here of massive scale,” he said.

Professor Reilly was speaking as the horse meat scandal threatened to engulf more countries. When the scandal first came to light last month, fingers were initially pointed at Ireland and Romania. Now, however, the controversy over mislabeled beef products has spread to at least 12 European countries.

Gilmore hails free trade move

POSTED ON February 20th  - POSTED IN News & Views

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Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, has welcomed the announcement by President Obama that the United States will launch talks on a comprehensive free trade agreement with the European Union.

President Obama made the announcement during his annual State of the Union address last week, dubbing it a “comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.”

“Securing a negotiating mandate for a comprehensive free-trade agreement with the United States was a top priority for the government when we established the jobs and growth agenda for the Irish Presidency of the EU,” said Gilmore, referring to the current six-month Irish presidency of the European Union.

“This now opens up enormous untapped potential for a new phase in Europe’s economic relations with the U.S. I anticipate that these negotiations will begin during the Irish Presidency, and we will of course make the most of Ireland’s close relationship with the U.S. to get talks off to a good start. I look forward to engaging in constructive dialogue with our U.S. colleagues as we begin working on this together,” the Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) said.

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