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Irish Pride on the Fourth of July

POSTED ON July 2nd  - POSTED IN News, News & Views, Opinion

by Áine Ní Shionnaigh

Growing up in the West of Ireland, my exposure to the Fourth of July was limited to two iconic movies. As a young child, I remember watching the black and white grainy version of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” where the main star, George M. Cohan, was born on the Fourth of July, a fact which heightened the expectations about his destiny. This movie could not have contrasted more with Oliver Stone’s “Born on the Fourth of July” where as a young adult, I was deeply struck by the contrast between the idea of war and the reality of war. The atmosphere at the Fourth of July parade before Kovic (Tom Cruise) joins the Marines coldly conflicts with the horrific conditions that Kovic finds himself in at the Veterans hospital where he is admitted on his return from Vietnam as a paralyzed veteran. There is a dramatic sense of despair, disillusionment and disappointment. The experience of actually becoming a hero is a serious let-down. Some of the content of this movie became a reality for me this year when I became involved with some veteran organizations to discuss traumatic brain injury issues in conjunction with the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation.

Nine years ago, when I moved to New York City from the West of Ireland, one of the biggest observations I continually made was the sense of patriotism in this great country. I am gradually coming to understand and still learning about the intensity of the relationship between the U.S. and its military. America’s military history is at the core of the formation of the American Republic as we know it today.

The independence celebrated on this July 4th weekend was fought for by many who paid the ultimate price so that Americans could enjoy all the privileges and freedom that come with it. We also celebrate the Irish who fought so valiantly with General George Washington to win the War of Independence. When the American Revolution broke out, both Scotch Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics could be found in every contingent of Washington’s army. According to James O’Boyle’s “Life of George Washington,” one of the most daring group of soldiers during the Revolutionary War were the Green Mountain Boys, led by, among others, two Irishmen named Marion and Pickens. Men lie these later became the pioneers who would venture outside the range of the original 13 colonies and head west. The Scotch Irish from Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were particularly prominent in the ranks of those Americans who took on and ultimately prevailed against the British. They had grown to love the country they had left, the northern parts of Ireland, and it was an affection that would see them bear arms in a bid to gain independence in their new adopted land. Their efforts did not go unnoticed. When things weren’t looking good for General Washington, he came out with a gem of a quote that showed the pride and trust he had in these sturdy men. “If defeated everywhere else, I will make my stand for liberty, among the Scots-Irish in my native Virginia.” But defeat was not something they had to worry about, and Washington would lead his army to victory and becomes the country’s first president.

In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies had weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. One of the signatories was an Irish Catholic whose grandfather was born in Aghtery, a townland in County Offaly, interestingly the same county President Barack Obama traced his Irish roots to and visited in 2011.

Charles Carroll (September 19, 1737 – November 14, 1832), known as Charles Carroll of Carrollton to distinguish him from his similarly named relatives, was a wealthy Maryland planter and an early advocate of independence from Great Britain. He served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and Confederation Congress and later as first United States Senator for Maryland. He was the only Catholic and the longest-lived (and last surviving) signatory of the Declaration of Independence. He died at the age of 95 at his city mansion in the neighborhood of Jonestown in Baltimore.

Carroll was not initially interested in politics and in any event Catholics had been barred from holding office in Maryland. But as the dispute between Great Britain and the colonies intensified, Carroll became a powerful voice for independence. He wrote in the Maryland Gazette under a pseudonym. He became a prominent spokesman against the governor’s proclamation increasing legal fees to state officers and Protestant clergy. Eventually, word spread of the true identity of the columnist and Carroll’s fame and notoriety began to grow. He became a leading opponent of British rule, and served on various committees of correspondence. He also played an important role in the burning in Annapolis harbor of the “Peggy Stewart,” a ship which had been carrying tea to Maryland, and was destroyed on October 19, 1774 as part of the tea party protests.

Charles Carroll was elected to the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, and remained a delegate until 1778. He signed the official document that survives today.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt once noted something that I think speaks of the Irish contribution to the kind of loud and colorful celebration that marks the fourth day of the seventh month.

He told James Cagney: “That’s one thing I’ve always admired about you Irish Americans, you carry your love of country like a flag, right out in the open. It’s a great quality.”

I also greatly admire the love of country that every American possesses.

I hope you all have a wonderful Fourth of July.

IMG_5515    Sgt Cory Remsburg and Aine at iHope

by Áine Ní Shionnaigh

Patrick Donohue is a prominent Irish American lawyer who left his career as a lawyer to change the world for his daughter Sarah Jane, my daughter Grace Anne and countless others in the US and worldwide who have suffered a brain injury. Patrick is the perfect example of someone who has turned a tragedy into a triumph.

In 2007, Patrick set up the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation (SJBF) which is a 501c3 non for profit. The mission of the SJBF is to change the world for Sarah Jane and the millions of other children, youth and young adults who suffer from brain injury and other brain-based disorders by improving services, training and research in this country and beyond. Brain injury in youth can result in widespread impairments in cognition, motor abilities, behavior and social function. The brain remains in a developmental phase until around age 25 so recoveries are possible. However, recovery requires an integrated and individualized approach. There has to be a co-ordination between medical, educational and rehabilitation systems. SJBF’s Advisory Board is comprised of leading experts from the top major medical centers in the US and elsewhere, from Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic, Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital to name but a few.

In September 2013, SJBF launched the first and only school in New York City to educate and habilitate kids with brain injuries and other brain-based disorders – The International Academy of HOPE (iHOPE). The school currently has 19 students and will grow to 40 by summer 2014. The mission of iHOPE is to be the best school in the world for kids with brain injuries and brain based disorders and to translate it’s knowledge across the country and around the world by establishing other iHOPE schools.

Pediatric brain injury statistics unfortunately include more than half of our young veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries, the average age of a veteran with TBI is about 19.3 years old. Recently the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation and iHOPE honored Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg with the Col. Jack Jacobs Angel Award for his service to our country and for changing the way people think about brain injury. A roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on his 10th deployment, left Sgt Remsburg in a coma for three months, partially paralyzed and brain damaged. His father, Craig, a retired Air Force Reserve firefighter, and stepmother Annie, are his full time caretakers and accompanied him to the school where he lead the iHOPE students in the Pledge of Allegiance. When asked if he would return to war, knowing what he knows now, he replied, “in a heartbeat”. Such bravery and patriotism is not easily found.

The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation recently held a Conference in conjunction with the NFL, the title was “Finding Solutions to the Public Health Crisis” “Mild”/TBI/Concussion in Youth. The main speaker was Dr Sanjay Gupta who is the Chief Medical Correspondent at CNN and also Associate Chief of Neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital. The conference was attended by top medical experts representing the top centers of excellence in Neurology and Sports Medicine from all over the US. The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation is working to prevent, identify, treat and eventually cure Pediatric Acquired Brain injuries which are the no 1 cause of death and disability for youth around the world so needs to be taken more seriously.

iHOPE school and it’s associated Foundation, the SJBF has the chance to change the lives of children and young adults that everyone else has given up on. It gives back hope in situations where hope is diminished.

“Hope is the thing with feathers

that perches in the soul,

And sings the tune–without the words,

And never stops at all.” (ED)

For more information about the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, please visit:

For more information about the International Academy of Hope, please visit:

The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation and The International Academy of HOPE

POSTED ON June 24th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views, Opinion

Funeral Services for Jack Ahearn

POSTED ON June 20th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views, Opinion


Funeral services for labor leader John “Jack” Ahern will be held Friday through Sunday, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at Fairchild Sons Funeral Home, 1201 Franklin Avenue, Garden City, 11503, (516)746-0585.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, June 23 at 9:45 a.m. at St. Brigid’s Church, 75 Post Avenue, Westbury, Long Island, NY.  Interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 10 W Stevens Ave., Hawthorne, in Westchester County.

Ahern, who was Grand Marshal of this year’s New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, died after a long battle with cancer.



When Grace Anne found Hope

POSTED ON June 17th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views, Opinion

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

by Áine Ní Shionnaigh

Last week, I referred to a piece of prose “Welcome to Holland”, which employs a metaphor of excitement for a vacation to Italy that becomes a disappointment when the plane lands instead in Holland. “Holland?!?”you say. “What do you mean Holland ?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

On the 2nd of January 2006, I personally landed in “Holland” when my beautiful daughter, Grace Anne was born. After a beyond perfect pregnancy, in one of the top hospitals in the world, something went terribly wrong and nothing could ever have prepared me for what lay ahead. A few hours after the birth, I heard those dreaded words that no parent should ever have to hear, “I have some bad news for you, your daughter has suffered a severe brain injury. She is currently on life support and it is doubtful if she will make it past day two”. In that instant, my life and the lives of many others changed forever.

The nightmare had begun, what should have been one of the happiest moments of my life, seeing my first born for the first time, became very dark, very quickly. When I saw my daughter she was unrecognizable, covered in a maze of invasive tubes, many taped to her cute little face. I couldn’t hold her or touch her. She was in an induced coma to try to prevent any further damage. I wanted to take her out and run away from the nightmare in which I found myself living. Instead of bonding with my daughter, I was bombarded with medical terminologies,  MRIs and CAT scans of my newborn’s brain, where, as one doctor glibly put it “everything had been wiped out”, there was no longer any differentiation between the grey and white matter. I was even dissuaded from pumping my breast milk, advice I ignored as I wasn’t as ready to give up. Through endless meetings with doctors, specialists, a bereavement counsellor, a chaplain, the local funeral undertaker, I struggled so hard to find some small comfort in the idea that Grace Anne was an angel and would always be with me, something that no earthly person could ever be. She was christened on my birthday in the NICU and then the machine was turned off, a few tense moments passed and then Grace Anne revealed her ‘West of Ireland’ determination. She wasn’t quite ready for heaven yet, when the humming of the ventilator subsided, she took her first breath on her own.

I was told a complex multiplicity of medical conditions that my daughter would have. Any single one of these issues would be catastrophic on their own, I was taking in tens if not hundreds of them. I met with many different specialists all dealing with different aspects of Grace Anne’s condition. Any information was of course bad news. She left the hospital on Valentine’s Day with a diagnosis of severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy, severe seizure disorder, severe digestive disorder, severely impacted muscle tone, legally blind, and a myriad more conditions all caused by the brain injury.

One of the most difficult challenges was how to respond to people’s reactions, which is something I may write a book about someday, “What NOT to say to a parent of a child with special needs”. I constantly heard comments such as “such a shame and she is so pretty, she could have been a model”, “ you are great, I could never cope with that”, “God won’t give you a cross you can’t carry”. I ached to rewind my life, to have a life that did not revolve around therapies and doctor appointments and trips to the ER in the middle of the night that ended up being week long hospitalizations. Being a first time parent is an exhausting, puzzling experience anyway under the best circumstances. Being the parent of a child with a disability extends the parameters beyond the place to which most people can relate. The tension created by this isolation exacerbates the all-consuming grief. I was tired beyond belief; there were no answers only endless suggestions, which although well-meaning, become almost painful to hear. The answering machine was always full and I hadn’t the energy to listen to messages. In the beginning I needed to shut the world out to conserve what little energy I had left to look after my special child who also had severe gastric issues which meant she cried constantly all day long. The night was my only reprieve, to sleep and slip into silence.  I badly needed extra help, extra kindness, extra compassion but I didn’t know how to ask for it. I had learned to put on as I called it ‘my suit of armor’ to stifle my feelings of absolute grief, sorrow and despair. I was in mourning but I couldn’t mourn the loss as Grace Anne had way more needs than a typical new baby.

Having Grace Anne changed the way I view my life. My priorities changed completely, what used to seem so important is so totally irrelevant now. Grace Anne has a great deal to offer the world. She has taught me the real meaning of unconditional love, happiness, perseverance and determination. Putting aside the medical issues, she is a cute red haired, blue eyed, freckle faced little girl who was born with a happy fighting spirit and seems tuned into a better quality frequency than the rest of us. If I ever take time to cry, she thinks I am laughing and she starts to giggle. I feel there is something deeper here, that she knows love and grief spring from the same well. Grief can wake us up and make us whole in a way we never were before. I almost feel I am a more complete person now than before.

Life did get better and the time came when I began to feel positive and energized again but only and I stress only, because I am lucky enough to live here in the US where it is recognized that the parent of a child with a disability needs professional help to assist them looking after that child. A situation with a child that needs 24hr care is overwhelming.  Currently, with the help of my beyond amazing nurses: Diana, Imelda and Valerie, my life has become livable again, I can now see the light again at the end of the tunnel. I don’t want my life or Grace Anne’s life to be defined by her disability. Next week I will tell you all about Grace Anne’s amazing school: iHOPE, the International Academy of Hope,, which has succeeded in giving hope again to Grace Anne and I. iHOPE has the chance to change the lives of children that everyone else has given up on. Its purpose is to give hope to special children and their families and that it does. Grace Anne and I would love you all to join us at iHOPE on Thursday, June 26th at lunchtime 12 – 2 where I will host a special Irish American luncheon to introduce iHOPE to the Irish American community. I hope to see some of you there. for details. To be continued next week…..

A Dad with a Difference

POSTED ON June 12th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views, Opinion


A Dad with a Difference

by Áine Ní Shionnaigh

“We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. (Victor Frankl, A Man’s Search for Meaning).  In my life experience so far, no one has epitomized this ability to turn a personal tragedy into a triumph, better than Patrick Donohue, Irish American, prominent lawyer, finance director, visionary, and Dad of Sarah Jane Donohue.

Patrick and I have something in common: we are both parents of children who suffered a brain injury and we are both 100% committed to helping them live the best lives that they possibly can.

In December 2006 when sending my annual Christmas letter to friends and family back in Ireland, I enclosed a poem as I felt it helped to explain the unexplainable. The poem was titled “Welcome to Holland”, which was written by Emily Kingsley, about having a child with a disability. The essay employs a metaphor of excitement for a vacation to Italy that becomes a disappointment when the plane lands instead in Holland. “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” The metaphor is that the trip to Italy is a typical birth and child-raising experience, and that the trip to Holland is the experiencing of having and raising a child with special-needs. “But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” In the end, however, the reader sees that the ‘trip’ is still well worth it: “But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.”

Interestingly these are the same lines Patrick Donohue recently chose as the opening lines for the short documentary he made to introduce iHOPE, his pioneering new school for children with brain injuries. Nine years ago on June 5th, also Patrick’s own Birthday, Sarah Jane Donohue was born at Manhattan’s Lenox Hill hospital, a healthy, happy baby with stunning brown eyes framed by exotic dark thick lashes. All was well with the world, or so it seemed. Tragically, 5 days later when Sarah Jane was in the safety of her own home, with her parents sleeping in the next room, she was violently shaken by her baby nurse, causing serious injury: breaking both her collarbones, four ribs and causing a severe Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury – PABI. Doctors were shocked at the severity of her injuries. On that night, Sarah Jane’s life and that of her family changed forever.

Gradually Patrick Donohue began a new career “changing the world for Sarah Jane”. He began by setting up a nonprofit advocacy group, The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation in 2007. Then in 2009, he put together an advisory board that drew together 75 experts in the field of brain injury from all over the US and Canada. The mission is to create a model system of care for children and young adults suffering from all Pediatric Acquired Brain Injuries in order to advance our knowledge of the brain fifty years over the next five years. This past September, Patrick founded the first school in NYC for children who have suffered a brain injury, iHOPE, the International Academy of Hope, which is groundbreaking in it’s treatment and approach to children with brain injuries. Sarah Jane attends this school as does my daughter, Grace Anne and it is changing their lives dramatically one day at the time.

When we face great challenges in our lives, we have two choices, we can lie down and let the challenge overcome us or we can decide to draw on an inner strength we didn’t know we had and continue our lives, armed with the determination that we are not going to let this adversity define us.

As Joe Biden recently said at an Irish American event here in New York : “there is something uniquely Irish about maintaining hope in light of tragedy, that the Irish know “that to live is to be hurt, but we’re still not afraid to live.”

To be continued next week ……


“Ní mór dúinn dearmad a dhéanamh gur féidir linn brí a fháil  sa saol, fiú nuair déileáil le staid gan dóchas, nuair atá os ár gcomhair cinniúint nach féidir a athrú. Chun an méid sin ábhair is finné a iompróidh an acmhainneacht uathúil daonna ag a fearr, a bhfuil a chlaochlú tragóid pearsanta i bua, dul amháin isteach éacht daonna. (Victor Frankl). I mo shaoil go dtí seo, níl aon duine eiseamláir seo cumas chun dul tragóid pearsanta i bua, níos fearr ná Patrick Donohue, Mheiriceánach Éireannach, dlíodóir feiceálach, stiúrthóir airgeadais, aislingeach, agus Daid do Sarah Jane Donohue.

Tá rud éigin i gcoitinne idir Patrick agus mise. Tá páistí speisialta ag an bheirt again, leanaí a d’fhulaing díobháil inchinne agus go bhfuilmuid araon 100% tiománta cabhrú leo cónaí ar an saol is fearr gur féidir leo.

I mí na Nollag 2006 nuair a sheol mé mo litir Nollag bliantúil  chuig mo chairde agus mo chlann ar ais in Éirinn, sheol mé dán freisin mar cheap mé gur chabhraigh an dán a mhíniú an rud nach raibh míniú. B’é teideal an dán “Fáilte go dtí an Ollainn”, a bhí scríofa ag Emily Kingsley, i dtaobh a  leanbh faoi mhíchumas. Fostaíonn an aiste a meafar de cipíní le haghaidh saoire go dtí an Iodáil a thiocfaidh chun bheith ina díomá nuair a tailte an eitleáin ionad san Ísiltír. “Ollainn?!?” A deir tú. “Cad a dhéanann tú chiallaíonn Ollainn?? Shínigh mé suas don Iodáil! Tá mé ceaptha a bheith san Iodáil. Gach lá mo shaol a bhí mé ag tnúth le dul go dtí an Iodáil.” Is é an meafar go bhfuil an turas go dtí an Iodáil breithe tipiciúil agus taithí tógála leanaí, agus go bhfuil an turas go dtí an Ollainn ag fulaingt bhfuil agus tógála leanaí a bhfuil riachtanais speisialta. “Ach tá gach duine a fhios agat gnóthach ag teacht agus ag dul ón Iodáil … agus tá siad ag caint faoin an am iontach a bhí acu ann. Agus don chuid eile de do shaol, beidh tú ag rá “Tá, go nuair a bhí ceaptha agam a dul. Sin an méid a bhí beartaithe agam.” Sa deireadh, áfach, feictear an léitheoir go bhfuil an ‘turas’ fós fiú go maith é: “Ach … má chaitheann tú do shaol caoineadh ar an bhfíric nach raibh tú go dtí an Iodáil, ní féidir leat a bheith saor chun taitneamh a bhaint as na rudaí an-álainn an-speisialta … faoi Ollainn. “

Suimiúil b’iad  na línte céanna a roghnaigh Patrick Donohue  le déanaí mar na línte oscailt don chlár faisnéise gairid a rinne sé chun aird a tharraignt ar iHOPE, scoil nua ceannródaíoch do leanaí le gortuithe inchinne. Naoi mbliana ó shin ar 5 Meitheamh, freisin, lá breithe Phádraig féin, a rugadh Sarah Jane Donohue ag Lenox Cnoc ospidéal Manhattan, leanbh sláintiúil, sona, le súile donn doimhne, frámaithe le fabhraí coimhthíocha tiubh dorcha. Bhí gach rud go maith leis an domhan, nó mar sin a dhealraigh sé. Go tragóideach, cúig lá ina dhiaidh sin nuair a bhí Sarah Jane  sábháilteacht sa bhaile féin, lena tuismitheoirí ina chodladh sa seomra eile, bhí sí chroitheadh ​​foirtil ag a altra leanbh, is cúis le díobháil thromchúiseach: bhriseadh dá cuid cnámha múineáil, ceithre easnacha agus is cúis le dian Pediatric Gortú Inchinne Faighte – PABI. Bhí ionadh ar na dochtúirí ag an déine a díobhálacha. Ar an oíche sin, d’athraigh  saol Sarah Jane agus saol a theaghlaigh go leor.

De réir a chéile thosaigh Patrick slí bheatha nua “ag athrú an domhain le haghaidh Sarah Jane”. Thosaigh sé  le grúpa abhcóideacht, An Sarah Jane Brain Foundation i 2007. Ansin i 2009, chuir sé le chéile Bord Comhairleach a tharraing le chéile 75 saineolaithe i réimse an díobháil inchinne ó gach cearn na Stáit Aontaithe agus Ceanada. Is é an misean a chruthú córas múnla cúraim do pháistí agus do dhaoine fásta óga atá ag fulaingt ó gach ‘Acquired Brain Injury’ in ord lenár n-eolas ar an inchinn a chur chun cinn caoga bliain thar na cúig bliana atá romhainn. An Meán Fómhair seo chaite,  bunaíodh Patrick an chéad scoil i NYC do leanaí a d’fhulaing díobháil inchinne, iHOPE, an Acadamh Idirnáisiúnta an Dóchais, atá úrnua i sé cóireáil agus cur chuige maidir le leanaí le gortuithe inchinne. Sarah Jane Freastalaíonn Sarah Jane an scoil seo mar a fhreastalaíonn mo ‘níon, Grace Anne agus tá athrú mór tagtha ar a saol cheana féin. ,

Nuair a bhíonn dúshláin mór againn in ár saol, ní mór dúinn dhá rogha, is féidir linn a luí síos agus lig an dúshlán a shárú linn nó is féidir linn a chinneadh a tharraingt ar neart inmheánach nach raibh a fhios againn a bhí againn agus leanúint ar aghaidh lenár saol, armtha leis an gcinneadh nach bhfuil muid ag dul chun ligean seo angar shainmhíníonn.

Mar a dúirt Joe Biden le déanaí ag ócáid ​​Meiriceánach Éireannach anseo i Nua-Eabhrac: “go bhfuil rud éigin uathúil an Ghaeilge faoi dhóchas a chothabháil i bhfianaise na tragóid, go bhfuil fhios ag na hÉireannaigh” is é sin le cónaí a bheith gortaithe, ach táimid fós nach bhfuil eagla a beo. “

Chun a bheith ar lean an tseachtain seo chugainn ……

NY Consul General is Athens bound

POSTED ON May 7th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

Noel & Hanorapeter ryan

NY Consul General is Athens bound

Irish Consul General in New York, Noel Kilkenny, has been appointed the new Irish Ambassador to Greece. 

Deputy Consul General Peter Ryan is to take up the newly created post of Consul General in Hong Kong. 

Consul General Kilkenny, who already holds the rank of ambassador, told the Irish Echo Tuesday that he was delighted with his new posting, but would be in New York into the summer. 

The departures from New York of Kilkenny and Ryan were included in over 30 diplomatic appointments announced by the Irish government’s Department of Foreign Affairs. 

In addition to new appointments to existing diplomatic outposts, some of the appointments, as in the case of Hong Kong, are to new Irish missions. 

These include new embassies in Croatia, Indonesia, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Thailand, and consulates in Austin, Texas, and Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

Ireland is to resume a diplomatic presence at the Holy See after a three year hiatus with Emma Madigan becoming the new ambassador to the Vatican.


2014 St. Patrick’s Day Parades and events

POSTED ON March 14th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

St. Patrick’s Day Events


NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade – The New York City 2014 St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on Monday, March 17. Grand Marshal, Jack Ahern.


The Pearl River St. Patrick’s Parade will be held on Sunday, March 23.


The Bayonne N.J. St. Patrick’s Parade will be held on Sunday, March 23.


Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade – The 39th Annual Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held Sunday, March 16 at 1pm. Parade from 15th Street & Prospect Park West. Grand Marshal: Reverend James K. Cunningham, Pastor, Holy Name Church. Pre-Parade Mass at Holy Name of Jesus Church, 245 Prospet Park W. at 9:00AM. Celebrant, Most Rev. Paul R. Sanchez, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn After Parade Party with live music by Frank Keegan at Holy Name’s School Hall. Adm. $30. Further information at (718) 499-9482 or


Newark NJ St. Patrick’s Parade will be held on Friday afternoon, March 14 at 1:00pm in Downtown Newark. See


West Orange NJ St. Patrick’s Day Parade – The 63rd West Orange, New Jersey, St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2014 will be held Sunday, March 16. Step-off 12:15pm from Main Street and Mt. Pleasant Avenue. Grand Marshal, Jere E. Cole. Deputy Grand Marshals, Gail McGeady, Kelly Reilly and Francis Schott, Jr.


Sleepy Hollow Grand Marshal – Paul Clarke of Sleepy Hollow, NY will be the Grand Marshal of the 18th Annual St. Patrick’s Parade to be held on Sunday, March 16. This year’s parade will be dedicated to the United Irish Counties. On March 16, at 10:00am, Mass will be celebrated at The Church of the Transfiguration, South Broadway, Tarrytown. Parade begins promptly at 1:30pm at Main Street in Tarrytown. Further information please call 914-693-0192 or 914-631-4306.


New Haven St. Patrick’s Celebration – Milford resident Martin Hardiman will receive the Cornelius Driscoll Award for outstanding public service from the New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade Ball Committee on March 8 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven. The Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Parade will be held on Sunday, March 16. Details at (203) 915-5979.


Sound Shore St. Patrick’s Parade – Sunday, March 23rd 1:30pm Grand Marshal – Kevin J. Plunkett, Deputy County Executive

Post parade party – Molly Spillane’s Pub 211 Mamaroneck Avenue, Mamaroneck


Greenwich St. Patrick’s Parade – The 40th Greenwich St. Patrick’s Parade will be held on Sunday, March 23 beginning at 2pm. Grand Marshal is William (Bill) Gallagher.


Throggs Neck St. Patrick’s Parade – The 16th Annual Throggs Neck St. Patrick’s Parade will be held Sunday, March 16 beginning at Noon at the corner of Lafayette and East Tremont Aves. Throggs Neck, Bronx. Mass will be celebrated at 9 AM at St. Benedict’s Church, Otis Avenue, followed by a complimentary breakfast in Father Albert Hall. Grand Marshals, Denis and Noreen Donoghue and honored clergy member Mother Alice McGowan will lead the line of March. Over 20 bands will participate.


Mayo St. Patrick’s Celebration – The Co. Mayo Society of New York will hold their 135th Annual St. Patrick’s Ball on Saturday, March 15 at Antun’s, 96-43 Springfield Blvd., Queens Village, NY.  Honoring Mayo Man of the Year 2014, Jimmy Feeney, Fairfield, Ct. and Mayo Woman of the Year 2014, Mary Murphy, Woodlawn, Bronx, NY.  Cocktails 7-8pm followed by dinner and dancing. Music by Billy Keenan’s Primetime Showband. Details at (516) 221-4834 or (917) 282-5538.


Annual Donegal Assoc. St. Patrick’s Day Celebration – The Donegal Association’s 118th St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Dance will take place on Saturday, March 15th 2014 at The Astoria Manor 25-22 Astoria Boulevard, Astoria, NY 11102.  Special Guest: Mullaghduff Fife and Drum Band. Dedication Award will be announced on the night. Journal deadline is Friday, Feb. 28. The cocktail hour will begin at 7.00pm with dinner and dancing from 8.00pm until 12.00am. Music by the popular “Rumor Has It”. Tickets are $85.00 per person – Table of Ten is $850.00. Reservations Rosina Gallagher 718.224.3067. See website


St. Patrick’s Parades in CT


Norwich, March 9 at 1:00 PM;


Hartford (Glastonbury), March 15 at 11 AM;


Milford, March 15;


New London, March 16, 1PM;


New Haven, March 16;


Mystic, March 23, 1:00 PM.


Yonkers St. Patrick’s Day Parade on McLean Avenue – Two great St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Yonkers have become one –Yonkers/McLean Avenue Merchants Association. The Parade will be held on Saturday, March 22 at 1PM following 11AM Mass in St. Barnabas High School Chapel on McLean Ave. Grand Marshal, Rev. Thomas Collins, President of Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains. Information, please call Larry (914) 968-0302 or Deirdre (201) 679-1450.


The Druids – Woodlawn/Wakefield Irish AOH Div. 5 presents Ireland’s #1 Rebel Band, The Druids, on Friday, March 14 at 10:00pm at Rory Dolan’s, 890 McLean Ave., Yonkers, NY. For tickets, $15, please call (914) 512-7056.


St. Patrick’s Concert at Empire City Casino – Empire City Casino in Yonkers will celebrate the St. Patrick’s season with an Irish concert featuring Black 47 and Shilelagh Law on Sunday, March 16, 2-6pm at the Casino, 810 Yonkers Ave., Yonkers, NY. See www.EMPIRECITYCASINO.COM


Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of the Oranges will hold its 113th Anniversary Dinner on Thursday, March 13 at the Mayfair Farms Restaurant, 481 Eagle Rock Ave., West Orange, NJ. Michael D. Byrne, president of Pilgrim Strategies, LLC and General Chairman of the Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee will be honored as the organization’s “Young Irishman of the Year” and William B. McGuire, Esq, will be its Guest Speaker. Cocktails at 6:30pm. Reservations please call (973) 422-2974.


Eastchester Irish American Social Club (EIASC) will hold its 10th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 16 starting at 3:00pm at Immaculate Conception Church, Tuckahoe and heads north on Rte 22. Grand Marshals are: Tom Huvane and Jim Hendry. Honoree: Fr. Eric Raaser, pastor of the Churches of Immaculate Conception & Assumption, Tuckahoe. Further details at


Bergen County St. Patrick’s Parade – The 33rd Annual Bergen County St. Patrick’s Parade will be held Sunday, March 16. Flag raising ceremony 1PM at Roy Brown Middle School. Parade starts at 2PM at Washington Ave., Bergenfield, NJ. Details at (201) 784-5547.


The Glen Cove Hibernians will host the 26th Glen Cove St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 23 at 1:00pm.


Co. Leitrim Society St. Patrick’s Dance – The Co. Leitrim Society of New York 119th Anniversary St. Patrick’s Dinner Dance will be held Friday, March 14 at 8pm at Antun’s of Queens Village, 96-43 Springfield Blvd., Queens Village, NY. Guest of Honor, Fiona Smyth, native of Glenfarne. Distinguished Service Award, Eileen Healy native of Carrick-on-Shannon. Music by Billy Keenan’s Primetime Showband. For tickets please call (917) 655-1493 or (914) 963-8729.


Sober St. Patrick’s Day – The Third Annual Sober St. Patrick’s Day will this year be held at a new and larger venue –  Cathedral High School, 350 East 56th St.,  (at First Ave.), New York, NY., with world class musicians, singers, dancers and fun for the whole family.  Featuring Tulla Pipe Band (Co. Clare), All-Star Ceili Band, John Whelan, Brian Conway, Brendan Dolan, Ivan Goff, Brendan Fahey, UCD Choral Scholars (Dublin), Sing-Along with Cathy Maguire, Donny Golden School of Irish Dance and lots more, also Children’s Program (downstairs).  This event sold out in advance in 2012 and 2013. Early purchase of tickets is advised. For tickets go to


The Waterford Hurling Club of New York will hold a St. Patrick’s Dance & Celebration on Sunday, March 16 at Gaelic Park Casino, 240th St. & Broadway, Bronx, NY. Cocktails at 5pm followed by dinner and dancing. Music by Tara Gold. Further information please call (914) 325-0921.

Letter from Reader about NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

POSTED ON March 12th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

Dear Editor,


The New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade is billed as the longest and oldest parade in America, it pre-dates the signing of the Declaration of Independence by fourteen years.  But, in recent weeks, the parade has been billed as an exclusive event that will not allow gay marchers.  Those of us who actually do participate in the parade (personally I’ve marched for over 30 years) know that the allegations by the current Mayor and mainstream media just are not true.   It’s not a day for political statements or further division.

There is no ban on gays or anyone else in the NYC Parade.

There is a rich history for the NYC Parade that began fourteen years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  The parade started Downtown with a group of Irish Militia walking a few blocks to a local Inn, and a tradition was born.  To this day, the Fighting 69th lead the marchers up 5th Avenue which is a nod to the early beginnings of where the parade started.  Over the years other St. Patrick’s Day parades popped up in other cities around the world, but the NYC Parade continues to stand on its own, there are no floats, not costumes of cartoonish representation, no feel of carnival.  It is a dignified parade meant to show your pride in where you come from.  A day to remember the sacrifice our forefathers made in order for our society to prevail.

In addition to the schools, para-military, military and local AOH’s that march, all 32 counties are represented by an organization and a banner, you don’t have to be a member of these organizations to march.  All they ask is that you follow the parade rules ( and show your Irish pride.   No one cares or even asks your sexual orientation, because on March 17th, it doesn’t matter, it’s about being Irish or Irish American.

We as a society continue to find reasons to set ourselves apart from each other.  What the parade committee is trying to achieve is a day where all that matters is that you are proud of where you come from, it’s that simple.

Reader from Queens













2015 Irish American Small Business Event

POSTED ON March 6th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

The Irish American Small Business, 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015 | 6pm – 9pm


The Irish American Small Business Awards will honor the entrepreneurs and business leaders who form the backbone of the American economy. The Irish Echo will recognize those in the hospitality industry as well as start-ups, mom-and-pop operations and fast-growing companies. The award winners may be relative newcomers or established icons, retail or wholesale, global or local, web or bricks-and-mortar. What they all have in common is a belief that the customer comes first, and a pride in their Irish heritage.

or sponsorship opportunities contact Mairéad Tully 212-482-4818 Ext. 113 or e-mail

For details of how to advertise in our commemorative supplement, click here


Irish Echo 40 Under 40 People’s Choice Award 2014

POSTED ON February 18th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views




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