By Peter F. Stevens BIR Staff, special to the BIR, October 12, 2011
There are two irrefutable facts about the death penalty. If a mistake is made, it cannot be rectified; the ultimate punishment is disproportionately administered to the poor and minorities. No matter one’s view of capital punishment, those two truths stand. Read more
By James W. Dolan, Special to the BIR, special to the BIR, October 12, 2011
Although not opposed to gambling, I am disappointed that Massachusetts will soon be joining the casino cavalcade. It is unfortunate we feel compelled to turn to gambling to increase revenue and generate jobs.
I am proud of the commonwealth’s opposition to the death penalty, restrictions on gun ownership, and its efforts to promote universal health care and gay rights. Such measures reflect a generous spirit and caring for others that many other states ignore. Read more
By Joe Leary, Special to the BIR, special to the BIR, October 12, 2011
Sunday, Oct. 30, will mark the 10th anniversary of the death of one of Boston’s true heroes: Dr. Thomas S. Durant.
An extraordinary man in so many ways, Tom Durant brought happiness and comfort to thousands, even tens of thousands, during his lifetime – not only in Boston and Washington with the high and mighty but also around the world in refugee camps in Cambodia, Vietnam, Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, the Sudan, and many more. Read more
At least one segment of the Irish economy is doing very well this year -- exports of goods and services are way up, largely due to American companies doing business in Ireland. Some of the largest American corporations in the world and many smaller ones have chosen Ireland as their European base of operations while employing over 100,000 Irish to run their businesses. Another 300,000 Irish are employed by Irish companies to supply and service the 500 American businesses who have located in Ireland. Read more
By Peter F. Stevens, Reporter Staff, special to the BIR, August 31, 2011
Millard FillmoreBy Peter F. Stevens
The Boston Irish community of the 1850s would have recognized the ways and means of the Tea Party of today. Those immigrants from the “old sod” would have known exactly what the “I-want-my-country-back” crowd of 2011 was up to and would likely be part furious, part ashamed to learn that any of their descendants were imbibing the tea of Texas Governor Rick Perry, Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, Dick Armey, FreedomWorks, the Koch brothers, et al. (In a case of art imitating life, check out the old Eddie Murphy-Dan Aykroyd comedy “Trading Places” for a look at the uber-rich, bigoted, social-experimenting, morally bankrupt “Duke” brothers played by Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy and you will that some “Koch-like” traits abound.) Read more
Mark (left) and Tom MulvoyBy Tom Mulvoy
My older brother, first in a line of the five children of Tom and Julia (Harrington) Mulvoy, turns 70 next month, the patriarch of an American Irish clan whose gritty founders lived in smoky huts far from any mansion’s candles, working the stubborn land in villages named Moycullen, Rosscahill, and Oughterard, and fishing the nearby waters of Lough Corrib some 20 miles outside Galway City.
From this milieu and over the Atlantic to Somerville, Massachusetts, emerged my father, then 12, only son of a widowed mother and big brother to three sisters. For all four of the immigrant Mulvoys, a strong commitment to the values of family life brooked no exceptions. “When you are older and need a hand, or maybe get in trouble,” my Dad used to preach to his four sons and his daughter from the head of the dinner table,” the only ones who will care will be your family, especially this one. Don’t ever forget that.”
Given that background, I want to take up the relationship of big brother/little brother that has obtained between the one-time Skippy Mulvoy and his brother Tommy since 1943, the year the latter joined the former in the back bedroom on the first floor of 22 Lonsdale Street, a two-decker in the heart of Dorchester. Read more
By Peter Stevens, special to the BIR, July 29, 2011
By Peter F. Stevens
“Darren Clarke – the first Northern Irish golfer to win a major in almost four weeks.” The words were those of Graeme McDowell, the gifted Northern Irish golfer who won the 2010 U.S. Open, on Twitter following Clarke’s stunning triumph at the 2011 British Open.
From Rory McIlroy, the 22-year-old Holywood, Co. Down, native who stormed to victory in June at Congressional in one of the most dominating performances in U.S. Open history (all done in the wake of a final-round collapse that cost him the Masters in April), came the jubilant proclamation that Northern Ireland has become the “world capital of golf.” Read more
“The Republicans want to cut spending to reduce the budget deficit,” says Michael, “but they refuse to consider tax increases.”
“You can be sure the reductions will affect the likes of us,” says Rory, “they’ll be going after Medicare, Social Security, public works projects, research, and education.”
“It’s a mess. Four years ago I took the family back to the old country to ride the Celtic Tiger; figuring we’d be better off there. Then the tiger turned into a mouse that roared; the bottom fell out and here we are back in the USA. Try to figure.”
“Well, Rory, at least we’ve got the old Eire, where a man can share a pint and a story or two with friends.” Read more
With the death of Osama bin Laden, the debate about “enhanced interrogation” techniques has heated up. I wonder whether the Gestapo referred to it as the German equivalent of enhanced interrogation when they tortured prisoners during World War II. Read more
By Shawn Pogatchnik, Associated Press, special to the BIR, June 3, 2011
AP PhotoDUBLIN — Garret FitzGerald, a beloved figure who as Ireland’s prime minister in the 1980s was an early architect for peace in neighboring Northern Ireland, died on Thurs., May 19, in a Dublin hospital, the government and his family announced. He was 85. Read more
By Peter F. Stevens, Reporter Staff, special to the BIR, June 3, 2011
Peter King / AP Pool PhotoWaterboarding, sensory deprivation, beatings, and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” – are these viable and morally justifiable means to an end in the struggle against terrorism? Does a nation’s ongoing struggle against those who unleash terrorist attacks against civilians justify torture to stop such unbridled evil? A great many people I’ve spoken to in these parts agree with Long Island Congressman Peter King, whose answer is a strident “yes.” Read more
It was remarkable, really. Both visits, Queen Elizabeth’s and President Obama’s, were triumphant victories for the Irish people. What small country has the power to attract as much investment, tourism, and attention as Ireland? This magical island and its people deserve all the good fortune that the United States and the United Kingdom shower upon it. Read more
BY JOE LEARY
SPECIAL TO THE BIR
After nearly ninety years, so many deaths, and so much anger and sorrow, the tragic partitioning of Ireland in 1922 and the violence it created remain the chief causes of deep community hostility across Northern Ireland.
For the casual visitor, the tension is not so apparent, but at night, otherwise healthy communities, both Catholic and Protestant, live behind 12- to 30-foot high walls to protect themselves from the other side. Fear rules the streets after dark, especially in areas where the two communities live close to each other. There are now 140 of these walls, perhaps as many as 60 more than was the case before the “Good Friday” Peace agreement was signed. The walls are encouraged and paid for by a Government anxious to keep peace regardless of the cost. Residents welcome the walls for the feeling of security they provide. Read more