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Boston Irish Commentary

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

Speaking of bargains for tourists, Ireland is hard to beat right now

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

Joe Byrne, Tourism Ireland’s New York-based executive vice president for North America, is typical of the hard-working Irish men and women who are sent to the United States to represent their country. Enthusiastic, loyal, focused, and extremely bright, his friendly outgoing personality belies a tough, single-minded dedication to improving Ireland’s annual visitor count – in the North and in the South – from the United States and Canada. Read more

Cause & effect & all of us

By Ed Forry, February 2, 2012

That God is the uncaused cause has long been one of the principal arguments for a supernatural, all-powerful being. Some unexplainable, mysterious force must have begun the creative process, otherwise there would be nothing, or so the argument goes. Read more

One Man’s Hero: In the ‘Age of Tebow,’ a forgotten Boston Irishman stands out as the ‘Genuine Article’

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

What does this exhibit have to do with Tebow or the other celebrities whom so many folks deify? It reveals how they pale when set against bona-fide heroes, the type who stand for or against something with no fanfare and no desire for acclaim. Such a quiet hero was John Edward Kelly. Read more

Losing our balance: The Uncivil War

By Anonymous, January 3, 2012

As we observe the 150th-anniversary year of the start of the Civil War, we are again facing disunion and testing whether a nation, once the noble beacon of representative government, can survive.

The present-day unraveling of our democratic system of government is not territorial, nor is it based on states rights or slavery. Read more

Troubling signals all up the line; a painful year looms for Ireland

By Joe Leary, Special to the BIR, special to the BIR, January 3, 2012

With draconian cuts in their standard of living, the potential collapse of the European Union, and the irrelevance of the Catholic Church in their lives, the people of Ireland are looking at a bleak 2012 as the new year dawns. The huge debts run up by swashbuckling real estate developers and crooked bank officials, which required massive borrowing from Europe, have placed a horrendous burden on the Irish government and the Irish people. Read more

Nollaig Shona Dhuit (Happy Christmas to you)

By Joe Leary, Special to the BIR, special to the BIR, December 5, 2011

The celebration of Christmas in Ireland is a remarkable occasion. Not only is it the commemoration of the birth of the baby Jesus and, in fact, the beginning of the Catholic Church as we know it today, but for the Irish it is also a homecoming, a reunion of friends and family that is looked forward to with special anticipation throughout the year. Read more

Humans should define ‘reasonable’

By Anonymous, December 5, 2011

by James W. Dolan
Special to the BIR
The recent Boston Globe series on OUI cases illustrates the significant disparities that arise as judges, jurors, and everybody else grapple with the notion of what is “reasonable.”
In a criminal trial, the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. What may be a reasonable doubt for some, may not be for others. The most celebrated illustrations of that fact are the O.J. Simpson case and, more recently, the Casey Anthony verdict.
Despite widespread belief that both juries got it wrong, carefully screened jurors, presumably conscientious and sincere, listened to the evidence, were instructed by a judge on the meaning of reasonable doubt, and unanimously found both not guilty. Read more

Taking a look at the Whitey Sweepstakes

By BY PETER F. STEVENS, special to the BIR, December 5, 2011

Damon and Affleck ‘muscle’ their way onto the crowded
cinematic turf to bring Jimmy Bulger & Co. to the Big Screen

It’s getting crowded in Whitey Bulger biopic field. The news that local-boys-made-good-Hollywood-wise Matt Damon and Ben Affleck plan to bring Jimmy Bulger’s saga to the big screen should surprise no one around here. After all, they grew up in and around the city and first proved their grasp of the turf together in the film “Good Will Hunting.” A few years ago, Damon shone in Martin Scorcese’s “The Departed,” with Jack Nicholson’s ruthless Southie gang honcho based loosely on the Whitey persona. Affleck’s stellar direction of “Gone, Baby, Gone” and his recent turn in “The Town” further point to the near-inevitability that Damon and Affleck would jump into the Whitey “sweepstakes.” Read more