By Jim Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
The head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, says that he will not attend May 20 graduation ceremonies at Boston College because Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be delivering the commencement address and receiving an honorary degree. “I am sure that the invitation (to Kenny) was made in good faith, long before it came to the attention of the leadership of Boston College that Mr. Kenny is aggressively promoting abortion legislation,” O’Malley said in a press statement. “Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation.” O’Malley, who was scheduled to deliver a blessing to the graduates at the Jesuit college, alluded in his statement to the 2004 request of the U.S. Catholic Bishops that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors, or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” BC spokesman Jack Dunn said in a press release that the college respects O’Malley and regrets that he will not attend. He said BC’s decision to honor Kenny was based in part on the “historically close relationship Boston College has enjoyed with Ireland.” Dunn also denied that there was any rift between the college and the church. “As a Catholic institution, Boston College supports the Church’s commitment to the life of the unborn.” At the crux of the conflict is Kenny’s support of pending legislation in Ireland which the bishops there have described as “a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law.” Continues on page 2 The proposed legislation permits a single doctor to authorize abortion if the woman’s life is in immediate danger, requires the approval of two doctors if a pregnancy poses a potentially lethal risk, and mandates the approval of three doctors if the woman is threatening suicide during any stage of the pregnancy. It also contains conscience-clause protections for physicians, nurses, or other health care workers. “It is a tragic moment for Irish society when we regard the deliberate destruction of a completely innocent person as an acceptable response to the threat of the preventable death of another person,” the Irish bishops wrote in a statement earlier in May. In a speech on May 1, Kenny said about the proposed abortion bill, “Our aim is to protect the lives of women and their unborn babies by clarifying the circumstances in which doctors can intervene when a woman’s life is at risk.” In his statement, O’Malley said that the graduates will be in his prayers. “I pray that their studies will prepare them to be heralds of the Church’s Social Gospel and men and women for others, especially for the most vulnerable in our midst.” On Saturday, one day after making his stunning announcement, O’Malley gave the commencement address at Regis College, a liberal Catholic college west of Boston. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws degree during the ceremonies.
By Ray O’Hanlon email@example.com
The notice on the committee website is all about business.
That the future of millions of people, many thousands of Irish included, will be dependent on what follows over the next three weeks or so is not evident in the bland text.
It states: “The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its next executive business meeting at 9:30 am on Thursday, May 9, 2013, to consider S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The bipartisan legislation was introduced on April 17. The first amendment circulated to the bill is the Sponsors’ Amendment, which is expected to be offered at the next executive business meeting.”
The bill, in its current form, offers a path, albeit a long and tortuous one, to millions of undocumented and illegal immigrants. By some estimates, there are 50,000 Irish nationals in this total, most of them living in the shadows for many years.
The judiciary panel is chaired by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, long seen as a friend of Ireland and the Irish.
But while there is bipartisan support for S.744, hostility also lurks in the legislative long grass.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Republican opponents of legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws “are readying an offensive intended to hijack the newly released bill as the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday begins a review that will offer the clearest sign yet of how difficult a path the legislation faces.”
The report suggested that Republican critics “could offer hundreds of amendments to try to reshape the overhaul.”
Backers such as Senators Charles Schumer and Dick Durbin, both members of the so-called “Gang of Eight” who crafted S.744, are hoping that the bill emerges from the committee in at least roughly recognizable form.
For this to happen they will need support from GOP members such as Senator Lindsey Graham and hope that his GOP colleague, Alabama’s Jess Sessions, will pull at least some punches.
Members of the House of Representatives, meanwhile, are working on their own version of a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
By Ray O’Hanlon
The Good Friday Agreement, more formally known as the Belfast Agreement, is fifteen years on the job this year and to mark the anniversary the man who steered it to political birth, former United States Senator George Mitchell, is headlining a symposium on Thursday, May 23 at Cooper Union in Manhattan.
That day marks the exact 15th anniversary of the ratification of the agreement on May 23, 1998 in which the people of Ireland endorsed the pact in separate referenda on each side of the border.
In addition to Mitchell’s address, there will be a panel discussion that will feature, among others, members of Congress Richard Neal and Joe Crowley. Also lined up for the panel discussion is Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice.
Admission to the symposium is free but because of limited seating in the Cooper Union Great Hall/Foundation Building, tickets are being issued by organizers.
The event, which will run from 6 to 9 p.m. is being sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Brehon Law Societies, Irish American Unity Conference, additional Irish American organizations, and the Cooper Union Office of Continuing Education.
The Good Friday Agreement is the underpinning for the power sharing government in Stormont currently being led by the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin.
By Ray O’Hanlon
Tom McGrath heading for Ireland to raise funds for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin.
The 300 kilometer solo run is being staged in conjunction with The Gathering 2013 and starts Monday May 20. It will run, in every sense, for six days.
Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital is one of the largest hospitals in the world devoted exclusively to children.
There are approximately 100,000 child attendance’s at the hospital annually. It is Ireland’s national referral center for children who are suffering from serious illness such as cancer, leukaemia, spina bifida and cystic fibrosis.
The Children’s Research Center at the Hospital was founded in 1965. Since then, its contribution to medical research has meant that many Irish children can look forward to a brighter future. Funds raised by McGrath’s run will go to a new cardiac unit and a re-furbished cancer unit, the hospital said in a statement.
Before the run, McGrath, whose last long distance solo effort was to raise funds foe the “Barry Gate” memorial at the U.S. Naval Academy, organized a series of fundraising events in New York.
Meanwhile, The 33rd annual Buckley’s-Kennedy’s 5K Charity Run is set for this coming Sunday, May 19 at 10 a.m.
The run is in memory of Beth Strehle, Elizabeth Buckley, Mary Williams and John Kane but in addition this year’s run is in aid of Sandy recovery by means of helping
HeartShare Human Services of New York and residents of Breezy Point.
A little more than six months after Sandy, 2,400 of the 2,800 homes in Breezy Point remain unoccupied, their residents scattered throughout the New York metro area and beyond.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who has a record of almost four decades in service to the public, will address this year’s graduates at the 137th annual Boston College Commencement Exercises on May 20.
University President William P. Leahy, SJ, will present Kenny with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the ceremony, which will be held at 10 a.m. in Alumni Stadium, rain or shine.
BC will also present honorary degrees to: James A. Woods, SJ, founding dean and namesake of the University’s Woods College for Advancing Studies; Wayne Budd, former U.S. attorney and long-time BC trustee; Cornelia Kelley, headmaster emerita of Boston Latin School; and Mary Lou DeLong, who served in several key administrative roles at BC.
Following the main Commencement event, some 4,395 Boston College students will receive their undergraduate and graduate degrees at separate ceremonies held around campus.
Enda Kenny was elected as Taoiseach (prime minister) in March of 2011, almost nine years after being chosen as leader of Fine Gael.
According to a BC release, Kenny has articulated a vision of Fine Gael as a party of the progressive center, focusing on the rights and responsibilities of all citizens, while also demonstrating his concern for social justice: Earlier this year, he delivered an emotional apology in the Dáil on behalf of the state to the Magdalene Laundry survivors.
Stated the release: “Kenny’s ascension to prime minister was the latest achievement in a political career that has spanned nearly 40 years. As Minister for Tourism and Trade from 1994-97, Kenny was credited with overseeing an unprecedented growth in Ireland’s tourism business, and with helping strengthen its trade position internationally – thus playing a significant role in Ireland’s “Celtic Tiger” era of economic growth.
“A native of Islandeady in County Mayo and a former primary school teacher, Kenny was first elected to the Dáil in a by-election in the Mayo constituency in 1975 following the death of his father, Henry.
“He was a member of Mayo County Council from 1975-1995 until his appointment to the cabinet. Kenny also has served as minister for state in Education; Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; the Islands; Western Development; and Youth Affairs and Sport.
“Married to Fionnuala O’Kelly, and father of Naoise, Ferdia and Aoibhinn, Kenny climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of three Mayo charities in 2003, and regularly undertakes charity cycles.’
The release continued by profiling the others who are to be honored at the commencement.
“The legal career of Wayne A. Budd ’63 has run the gamut from corporate counsel to associate U.S. attorney general, from business executive to Massachusetts’ chief federal prosecutor. Along the way, Budd has served as a mentor, advocate and advisor in support of education, civil rights, and the development of the next generation of business and civic leaders.
The son of a Springfield, Mass., police officer, Budd graduated cum laude from BC in 1963 with a degree in economics. He went on to earn his law degree from Wayne State University Law School in Detroit while working for Ford Motor Co. Budd’s ties to his alma mater have remained significant. From 1980 to 1997, Budd served as a trustee of Boston College and from 1973 to 1988 he was an adjunct faculty member at Boston College Law School. His family endowed the Budd Family Scholarship.
“Currently senior counsel at the Boston law firm of Goodwin Procter, LLP, Budd has lent his expertise to federal and state agencies on sentencing guidelines, civil service regulation and public health. He is a board member for the New England Innocence Project and the pre-collegiate program Squash Busters Inc., and a former chairman and board member of The Partnership, a leadership development initiative for African-American men. Budd will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at Commencement.
“Mary Lou DeLong is the retired vice president and University secretary of Boston College. During her tenure, she oversaw a variety of responsibilities, including chairing the University’s Sesquicentennial Steering Committee; providing oversight and coordination of Commencement exercises and activities; and serving as liaison for the Trustee Committee on Nominations and Governance, University honorary degree recipients and senior liaison to The Council for Women of Boston College.
“From 1992 until 2004 DeLong served as vice president for University relations at BC, responsible for educational fundraising and alumni affairs. She oversaw the University’s $441 million “Ever to Excel” campaign and from 2002-2004 managed a two-fold expansion and re-engineering of the University’s Advancement division.
In addition, DeLong served Boston College as executive director of development, director of individual gifts, director of development programs, and assistant director of the Alumni Association, as well as five years as a University trustee. She also held senior positions at Harvard Medical School, Phillips Academy, and Stevens Institute of Technology. DeLong has been active with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education at both the national and district level, and was the recipient of the CASE District I Distinguished Service award.
“At Commencement, DeLong will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
“Cornelia Kelley became the first female headmaster of Boston Latin School – the nation’s first public school – in 1998, and during her nine-year administration the school constructed a new wing for the visual and performing arts, a media center that is touted as the most advanced school library in the U.S., and a new dining hall. In addition, Boston Latin renovated existing facilities to incorporate technology into every classroom.
Kelley pioneered a five-year, $35 million capital campaign, Pons Privatus, a revolutionary concept for funding special programs and scholarships for graduating seniors at a public school. A model in the U.S., Boston Latin was recognized as a center of educational excellence by the governments of China, Iceland, Ghana and Turkey.
“A lifelong resident of Boston and 1969 graduate of the Newton College of the Scared Heart, Kelley now serves as a member of the Commission on American and Independent Schools Abroad and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
“The University will award Kelley an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Commencement.
“Boston College’s longest-serving dean and namesake of the University’s Woods College of Advancing Studies, James A. Woods, SJ, stepped down in 2012 from that leadership post, which he held for 44 years. At that time, he was honored at a University “Celebration of Gratitude” for his dedication and commitment in service to others.
During his tenure, Fr. Woods oversaw comprehensive changes in the curricula at Boston College and designed and introduced a graduate degree program for part-time students. At his request, the name of the Evening College was changed in 1996 to the College of Advancing Studies to reflect its evolving mission.
“In May 2002, the school became the Woods College of Advancing Studies following a $5 million gift from Katharine B. and Robert M. Devlin, which symbolized their high regard for the University and the dedication of Fr. Woods, a mentor to two generations of the Devlin family.
A native of Dorchester’s Neponset neighborhood, Fr. Woods earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Boston College, followed by a bachelor of sacred theology degree from Weston College and a doctorate in education from Boston University.
“He has said that the Woods College helps fulfill the University’s educational and service mission in the Boston area. He established numerous scholarship and endowment funds during his years as dean, and named them for his longest-serving faculty and staff.
“At Commencement, he will be presented with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.”
For information on Commencement 2013, see www.bc.edu/ commencement.
by Irish Echo Staff
After being thwarted in an earlier attempt to visit the U.S., this due to a visa snafu in Dublin, author Tim Pat Coogan will make landfall in America next week and spend a busy eight days promoting his latest book and taking part in the Famine Tribunal set for Fordham University.
On Wednesday April 17, Coogan will be at the American Irish Historical Society in Manhattan while on the following day he will travel to Hamden, Ct. to visit the Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University.
On Friday, Coogan will be at the Irish Consulate in Manhattan while over that weekend he will be participating in the tribunal. After the tribunal, the former Irish Press editor will be flying to Florida for a book event in Coral Gables on the 22nd, his birthday.
From Coral Gables he will proceed to Delray Beach for another book event after which he will fly to Boston for an appearance at Boston University this before his return to Ireland on the 25th.
Meanwhile, after being scheduled for the fall of last year only to be postponed, Fordham Law School will be hosting the Irish Famine Tribunal on April 20-21. the tribunal will examine the degree of responsibility of the British government, under international law, for the tragic consequences of Ireland’s Great Hunger.
The Tribunal, according to a release from the organizers, will consider whether the British role during the Famine amounted to either genocide or a crime against humanity.
Prosecution and defense teams, including law students from Fordham Law School and Dublin City University, will present their cases before an international panel of judges: Judge Fidelma Macken, recently retired from the Supreme Court of Ireland and the first female judge to sit on the European Court of Justice; Judge John Ingram, a renowned New York Supreme Court judge who has presided over many high profile criminal trials; and, Judge William Schabas, professor of international law at Middlesex University in London, chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland Galway, and widely considered the world’s leading authority on genocide.
Joining them will be Mr. Coogan (“The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy”) and John Kelly (“The Graves Are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People”), along with historians Dr. Ciarán Ó Murchadha (“The Great Famine: Ireland’s Agony 1845-1852″) and Dr. Ruan O’Donnell, Head of the Department of History at the University of Limerick.
To RSVP re. attendance go to www.irishfaminetribunal.com. More details at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Tribunal will be held at Fordham University Law School, 142 W. 62nd Street, Manhattan, April 20 at 10 a.m. and April 21 at 11 a.m.
Nominations are being invited for the second annual (2013) Presidential Distinguished Service Awards for the Irish Abroad. The closing date for return of nominations to the Irish embassy in Washington [or nearest Irish consulate in the United States] is Monday, April 22.
The awards provide recognition by the Irish State for persons living abroad, primarily Irish citizens, those entitled to Irish citizenship and those of Irish descent, who have made a sustained and distinguished service to Ireland and/or Irish communities abroad. The award is not an honors system and does not confer any legal entitlements or benefits upon the recipients, including a right to Irish citizenship.
The U.S.-based recipients of Awards in 2012 were Loretta Brennan Glucksman (Peace, Reconciliation and Development category), Sr. Lena Deevy (Irish Community Support), Mr. Chuck Feeney (Charitable Works) and Mr. Donald Keough (Business and Education).
Nominees must be habitually resident outside the island of Ireland and are required to satisfy the following additional requirements: have rendered distinguished service to the nation and/or its reputation abroad; have actively and demonstrably contributed to Ireland and/or its international reputation and/or Irish communities abroad in at least one of the categories outlined above; have a track record of sustained support and engagement with Ireland and/or its international reputation and/or Irish communities abroad over a period of not less than five years.
While the awards scheme is open to all persons living abroad, it is primarily aimed at Irish citizens, those entitled to Irish citizenship and persons of Irish descent, who have made a sustained and distinguished service to Ireland or Irish communities abroad.
Each submission, according to an embassy release, should make clear the category under which the nomination is being made. It should include a detailed presentation on the individual’s background and contribution to Ireland, Irish communities abroad or Ireland’s international reputation.
Nominations for the Presidential Distinguished Service Award should be submitted to the Embassy via a downloadable form no later than close of business (U.S. Eastern time) on Monday April 22 2013 to the following e-mail address: email@example.com.
A high level panel based in Ireland will consider all nominations received and will make recommendations to the government in respect of no more than ten individuals in any one year. It is expected that the recipients for 2013 Awards will be presented with them by the president in late 2013.
By Anthony Neeson
Just as in life, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher has divided opinion after news of her death.
The Iron Lady died on Monday after suffering a stroke while staying in the Ritz Hotel in London. She was 87.
In power during the years of the 1981 hunger-strike – which made her a hate figure with republicans – she also signed the Anglo-Irish agreement which saw unionist MPs resign their seats at Westminster and campaign against Irish government “interference” in Northern Ireland. Thatcher also survived an IRA murder bid at the Grand Hotel in Brighton in October 1984 during the Conservative Party conference, which killed five people.
While some people thought news of her death deserved a street party, as in Belfast and Derry – as well as parts of Britain – others were hailing her as the woman who saved modern Britain.
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams wasn’t one of those, however. He said her handling of the 1981 hunger-strike prolonged the Troubles.
“Here in Ireland her espousal of old draconian militaristic policies prolonged the war and caused great suffering,” Adams said.
“She embraced censorship, collusion and the killing of citizens by covert operations, including the targeting of solicitors like Pat Finucane, alongside more open military operations and refused to recognize the rights of citizens to vote for parties of their choice.”
Adams added: “It should be noted that in complete contradiction of her public posturing, she authorized a back channel of communications with the Sinn Féin leadership but failed to act on the logic of this.
“Unfortunately, she was faced with weak Irish governments who failed to oppose her securocrat agenda or to enlist international support in defense of citizens in the North.
“Margaret Thatcher will be especially remembered for her shameful role during the epic hunger strikes of 1980 and ’81. Her Irish policy failed miserably.”
By contrast, DUP leader and Northern Ireland First Minister, Peter Robinson, called Thatcher “one of the greatest political figures of post-war Britain.”
Robinson described Lady Thatcher as “transformative and powerful” and said she had “changed the face of our United Kingdom forever.”
“As our first female prime minister, she made history and as ‘The Iron Lady’ she was at the frontline of winning The Cold War as well as ensuring the freedom of the Falklands Islands.
“Whilst we disagreed over the Anglo-Irish Agreement, Mrs. Thatcher was committed to the union and later described the Anglo-Irish Agreement as one of her greatest regrets.”
SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said Margaret Thatcher was “a controversial and divisive figure in the political landscape on our shores.”
“Her politics and approach left her a hostile figure within nationalism,” he said.
“The SDLP disagreed fundamentally with Baroness Thatcher’s politics and approach to the North and my colleagues clashed many times with her. However, with significant assistance from America, she helped deliver the Anglo Irish Agreement which set the scene for the Good Friday Agreement and the much improved circumstances we find ourselves in today.”
Former SDLP Deputy Leader, Seamus Mallon, said the way that Margaret Thatcher dealt with the 1981 hunger strike affects the politics of Northern Ireland to the present day.
At Stormont, Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt said Thatcher was “a colossus of conviction politics.” “Whilst we in the Ulster Unionist Party would not have agreed with her on everything, particularly the Anglo-Irish Agreement, Northern Ireland has reason to be eternally grateful for her stance against terrorism, not least during the hunger strikes when Northern Ireland was on the edge of something catastrophic,” he added.
President Michael D. Higgins said Thatcher “will be remembered as one of the most conviction-driven British Prime Ministers.”
“The policies of Mrs. Thatcher’s government in regard to Northern Ireland gave rise to considerable debate at the time,” he said.
“However, her key role in signing the Anglo-Irish Agreement will be recalled as a valuable early contribution to the search for peace and political stability.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Thatcher was a “formidable political leader who had a significant impact on British, European and world politics.”
He stated: “While her period of office came at a challenging time for British-Irish relations, when the violent conflict in Northern Ireland was at its peak, Mrs. Thatcher signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement which laid the foundation for improved North-South cooperation and ultimately the Good Friday Agreement.”
As opinion divided on Thatcher and her legacy, Deputy First Minister for Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, called on the street parties in nationalist areas of the North to end.
In a tweet, he said people should “resist celebrating the death of Margaret Thatcher.”
By Irish Echo Staff
Former Irish president Mary McAleese will be heading to Boston College this fall to take up the position of Burns Library Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies, the university has announced
As Burns Scholar, McAleese – now studying for a doctoral degree in canon law at the Gregorian University in Rome – will teach a course and present public lectures during the fall semester while pursuing research in the Burns Library Irish Book and Manuscript Collection, the university said in a release.
“Coming to Boston, using that wonderful Burns Library, talking with students and faculty members from a variety of disciplines, including my beloved Irish Studies will be for me a seminal opportunity to enrich and deepen the insights I can bring to my own research and also hopefully to add a little to the insights of others,” said McAleese, who served two terms as Irish president.
McAleese, according to the BC release, first visited Boston College in 1998 to formally open Connolly House – the headquarters for the University’s Irish programs – and meet with members and friends of the Irish Institute and the Irish Studies Program.
“She praised BC for its various initiatives to aid the peace process, including a program to assist members of the new Northern Ireland Assembly in preparing for their roles as leaders in government, and the economic development of Ireland and Northern Ireland,” said the statement.
“The life of Mary McAleese represents an abundantly appropriate model for Boston College now celebrating its sesquicentennial year,” said Center for Irish Programs Executive Director and university professor, Thomas Hachey.
“Our institution’s journey, from modest Irish immigrant roots to that of a globally distinguished university,” he said, “mirrors Mary’s own life in which she persisted from early adversity to the pinnacle position of head of state in her native country. And in that career she has unfailingly projected the Jesuit focus on being ‘men and women for others.’”
Established in 1989 with a grant from the Burns Foundation of San Francisco, the Burns Chair is held by a person who has made significant contributions to Irish culture or intellectual life. Past holders have represented the fields of history, literature, bibliography, language and art.
Dedicated in honor of John J. Burns, a 1921 graduate of Boston College who rose from humble origins to become a Harvard Law School professor, Massachusetts Superior Court justice, and the first general counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Honorable John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections opened at Boston College in 1986.
The Irish Collection of Burns Library, the largest and most comprehensive in the United States, includes materials from Nobel laureates William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw and Seamus Heaney. Additional collections include the work of philosopher Thomas Merton; British Catholic authors Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh and John Henry Cardinal Newman; Jesuitica including original letters from Jesuit Saints Francis Xavier, Francis Borgia and Robert Bellarmine; and the papers of the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr., and Congressman Edward P. Boland, both 1936 graduates of Boston College.
The captain of an Air France plane which crashed into the sea with the loss of all 228 people on board had only slept one hour the previous night after a romantic jaunt in Brazil with his girlfriend. A damning report also found that his co-pilots appeared dangerously tired.
Three young Irish doctors, Jane Deasy (27) from Dublin, Aisling Butler (26) from County Tipperary and Eithne Walls (28) from County Down were killed when AF447 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean as it traveled from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to Paris in June, 2009.
The close friends had studied medicine together in Trinity College and remained friends after graduating in 2007.
The new revelations may help shed light on why the pilots took what air accident investigators describe as “inappropriate” action when the Airbus 330 flew into turbulence during a tropical thunderstorm.
Co-pilots Pierre-Cedric Bonin, 32, and David Robert, 37, were unable to bring the plane under control as it rolled from side to side. Black box recorders showed that Captain Marc Dubois, 58, had been asleep when the trouble started and took more than a minute to return to the cockpit when they alerted him.
Analysis of the flight recorders has established that airspeed sensors had malfunctioned – probably because they had frozen up. But a report commissioned by French magistrates investigating the crash said the captain had been recorded as grumbling shortly after take off: “I didn’t sleep enough last night. One hour is not enough.”
The newspaper Le Figaro published a previously unseen email sent by a friend of Captain Dubois showing that he had taken Veronique Gaignard, his girlfriend and an off-duty flight attendant, to Rio.
“I can tell you that he was happy because he told me that he was leaving (for Rio) with Veronique and he was so happy that she was there and accompanying him,” the mail reads.
Le Figaro said Captain Dubois and Ms. Gaignard had driven to see friends an hour from Rio and flown by helicopter over the bay during the weekend. When he reached the cockpit after being roused, Captain Dubois used words that suggested he was not fully awake, this according to French press reports.