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Boston Irish Commentary

Working with the inimitable ‘Tip’

By Joe Leary, Special to the BIR, special to the BIR, August 2, 2012

Tip O'Neill meets with his friend, Joe LearyTip O'Neill meets with his friend, Joe Leary

In early 1990, through the intercession of two friends, the famous Dr. Tom Durant of MGH and the speaker’s nephew, Brian O’Neill, Esq., I first met the then-retired O’Neill at his office in Washington. My mission was to request that he become a spokesman for the Partnership, signing letters endorsing our work in Ireland, and joining our National Golf Tour as chairman.
I was, of course, very nervous and had practiced what I was going to say all that morning because I was about to meet the man who had served his district in Massachusetts in Congress for 35 years, the last 10 of them as manager of our national House of Representatives. He had dealt with, agreed and disagreed with, and compromised with Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. Memorably, he had called Ronald Reagan “Herbert Hoover with a smile” while fighting the Republican right and calling their possible election “a Christmas Party for the rich.” And he had challenged many tough, brilliant men and more often than not won his point with them. Read more

Voters deserve better than debates over debates

By BY PETER F. STEVENS, special to the BIR, July 5, 2012

There’s no question that US Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, are “debating.” The televised debate proposed by Vickie Kennedy, widow of the late senator Edward M. Kennedy, to be moderated by heavyweight Tom Brokaw fell apart after Brown’s conditions – that she not endorse either candidate and that MSNBC not be a sponsor – were not met. Read more

Connubial Tales: A 50-year chapter

By Ed Forry, July 5, 2012

By James W. Dolan
Special to the Reporter
As of this month we have been married 50 years. I don’t view it as a great achievement; all you have to do is stay married and live long enough. It was June 16, 1962, just before the sexual revolution. Probably just as well, otherwise I may have been caught up in that movement. Read more

Ireland targets ‘love, devotion’ of Boston’s Irish diaspora

By Joe Leary, Special to the BIR, special to the BIR, July 5, 2012

When Brian Cowan, then prime minister of Ireland, came to Boston in August 2009 to attend Ted Kennedy’s funeral, he met with reporters after Mass. Soaking wet in a rumpled suit from the rain that day and very tired from his late night flight from Ireland, he was asked rather rudely, “Why do you spend so much time caring about the Irish in the United States?” Read more

The ultimate power tool

By Ed Forry, June 4, 2012

By James W. Dolan
Special to the Reporter
With all of the hoopla surrounding the Trayvon Martin case in Florida, it is difficult to determine what likely happened. This is my take based on a lot of years of observing human nature and trying to find the truth.
A misguided law set the stage for a tragedy in which a 17-year-old, innocent African-American youth was killed by a police officer wannabe. George Zimmerman fits the pattern of a well-intentioned neighborhood watchman, who enjoyed the inflated status of a quasi law enforcement role. Read more

About the troubles facing the Catholic Church in Ireland

By Joe Leary, Special to the BIR, special to the BIR, June 4, 2012

By Joe Leary
Special to the BIR
Are the continuing controversies surrounding the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland as serious as they sometimes seem? After a 1,500-year history of strength and fidelity, has the Church been weakened so much that political leaders now find it advantageous to call for the resignation of its leader, Cardinal Sean Brady, for his role as a young priest-clerk in a tribunal investigating an abusive priest 37 years ago?
The answer to both questions is “yes.” Read more

A passionate connection to where we came from

By Joe Leary, Special to the BIR, special to the BIR, April 6, 2012

The multitude of St. Patrick’s Day events we witness each year, with their music, speeches, singing, and dancing, illustrates the passionate Irish-American connection to the land of Ireland where our ancestors were born. Read more

Now, the Irish are stalking the Masters in Georgia

By BY PETER F. STEVENS, special to the BIR, April 3, 2012

Messrs. McIlroy, McDowell, Harrington strut ‘major’ stuff

In July 2011, the gifted Northern Irish golfer Graeme McDowell tweeted the following words: “Darren Clarke – the first Northern Irish golfer to win a major in almost four weeks.” McDowell, winner of the 2010 U.S. Open, was lauding Clarke’s stunning triumph at the 2011 British Open, the latest in a run of “Majors magic” by Irish golfers after no linkster from the Emerald Isle had snagged one of the game’s majors since Fred Daly in 1947. The question for those who play and follow the Tour is whether Irish names will continue to appear atop the leaderboard of the Masters, the US Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship Read more

At a time of changing seasons, The Ivy Leaf seems to be on the cusp of its own transition

By Staff, March 6, 2012

Hoary clichés and bad jokes just seem inevitable where the Boston-based traditional Irish band The Ivy Leaf is concerned: You could say, for instance, that The Ivy Leaf is blossoming, has deep roots in the Irish tradition, is branching out, and some day will be raking it in.

But horticultural-themed wisecracks should not obscure the fact that this quartet of young musicians—all in their early or almost-mid 20s—really is getting ready to bloom. Read more

St. Patrick’s Day fete will hail Society’s 275th anniversary

By Staff, March 6, 2012

The Charitable Irish Society of Boston will celebrate its 275th anniversary with a gala dinner on St. Patrick’s Day at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. The evening will commence with a reception at 6 p.m. that will be followed by dinner at 7. The event is optional black tie. Members and non-members of the society are welcome to attend. Read more

All in the Family: Hiring of noted doctor seen as Carney coup

By Bill Forry, special to the BIR, March 6, 2012

It’s far too early to know if Dorchester’s one-and-only hospital can survive and thrive under the for-profit model of its new owners, Steward Health Care Systems. But for those seeking a reliable indicator that Carney Hospital is moving in the right direction, a key appointment announced in January is a positive sign.

Dr. Glennon O’Grady, a New York native who has focused his career around a family-medicine practice, first in Lawrence and then in Boston, has been hired to head up Carney’s Family Medicine department. Read more

Ian Paisley, deathly ill at 85, did much harm; but healing has begun

By Joe Leary, Special to the BIR, special to the BIR, March 6, 2012

One of Northern Ireland’s most fearful sectarian agitators is coming to the end of his life at the age of 85. Ian Paisley, minister, politician, bigot, and one-time leader of anti-Catholic sentiment in its most virulent forms, lies in a Belfast hospital with an ailing heart and other undisclosed medical problems, and with his family gathered around him, waiting. Read more

Of the Church and contraception

By James W. Dolan, Special to the Reporter, special to the BIR, March 6, 2012

The Catholic Church’s stance on contraceptive birth control is wrong and as a result is largely ignored by practicing Catholics.

There are two realistic methods to limit the size of families – now a matter of necessity not just for health concerns but also for family and economic stability: contraception and abortion. To suggest the two are the same is nonsense. Read more

Here & There

By Bill O'Donnell, special to the BIR, March 6, 2012

Returning to Kerry – the Flahertys and the O’Donnells Read more

Brown’s immigration stance on shaky ground: His GOP colleagues hold key to fate of E3 visa bill in Senate

By Peter F. Stevens, special to the BIR, March 6, 2012

It came as no surprise that on Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s recent swing through Boston, he met with a politician named Kennedy. In this case it was the new Kennedy on the political block, Joseph P. Kennedy III, who is running for Congress. Read more