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Boston Irish Commentary

Going Back Home: A Visit to the Isle of Mists

By Anonymous, October 20, 2010

By Greg O’Brien
Special to the BIR

“Ireland sober is Ireland stiff,” wrote James Joyce. And so we toast the Isle of Mists in throaty zest after the Shannon-bound Aer Lingus flight finally lifts off a rain-soaked JFK runway at 10:30 p.m. on Sun., Aug. 22 after a four-hour weather delay that featured boisterous thunder and angry bolts of lightening. It was an ill-omened beginning to a family pilgrimage to plumb the depths of our Irish ancestry and in the process rediscover one another. Read more

Should Britain sell Northern Ireland to The Republic of Ireland?

By Ed Forry, October 20, 2010

By Joseph F. Leary
One of Britain’s most respected commentators, Chief Editorial Writer and columnist Mary Dejevsky of The London Independent has written a provocative article on Northern Ireland and the prospect of a United Ireland. In a column published in the Independent in August and two days later in the Belfast Telegraph, Dejevsky suggests – perhaps tongue and cheek - that Britain sell Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland as part of their solution to their budget problems.
Of course this would need the approval of Northern Ireland voters but the reporter was speculating on the benefits of such a move. Read more

Reduced Corporate Taxes May Help in the North's Struggle With Finances

By Joe Leary, special to the BIR, September 1, 2010

Like most of the world today, Northern Ireland is facing an uncertain financial future. But unlike most countries, it is an unsettled society, just emerging from 40 traumatic years of tragedy after tragedy. Although Northern Ireland now has its local, self-governing assembly, the purse strings are still controlled in London where the new conservative government is taking severe steps to limit spending while keeping the government running. Read more

Boston College and the Irish Way: Connected at Birth, and Still At It

By Matthew DeLuca, special to the BIR, September 1, 2010

Today, it sits just outside the most ethnically Irish of American cities, but in the mid-19th century, Boston College was basically a local school in Boston's South End neighborhood providing a Jesuit-Catholic education to the sons of recent Irish-Catholic immigrants. Read more

Phil Johnston, Lifelong Democratic Stalwart, Has Three Passions: Politics, Fairness, Equality

By Greg O'Brien, special to the BIR, August 2, 2010

Philip W. Johnston, a former chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, always knew how to spot a winner. Read more

Over The Years, The 'Yankee Spirit' Has Been An Economic Boon

By Thomas H. O'Connor, special to the BIR, August 2, 2010

At a time when the nation faces severe financial depression, bank failures, and high unemployment, it should come as something of a consolation to recall that over the course of some 350 years New England has demonstrated an uncanny ability to adapt well to all kinds of economic changes. Read more

July Still Means Troubles in Belfast

By Joe Leary, special to the BIR, August 2, 2010

The July parades in Northern Ireland celebrate a Protestant military victory over a Catholic army at the Battle of the Boyne in the Republic of Ireland over 300 years ago. The marches are an in-your-face expression by some of Northern Ireland's Protestants to maintain their appearance of superiority over Catholics. Read more

Recognizing Our Faults, Our Flaws

By Anonymous, August 2, 2010

Institutions perform poorly because they are composed of human beings. That observation should not come as a surprise to anyone older than 30; yet we are frequently shocked when it happens. Read more

At Last, After 38 Long Years, People of Derry Absolved

By by Joe Leary, Special to the Reporter, special to the BIR, July 2, 2010

The tragedy of British arrogance towards Catholic Ireland over the past many centuries has never been more thoroughly revealed than in the official government report issued on the “Bloody Sunday” shootings and killings in Derry, Northern Ireland, on Jan. 30, 1972. Twenty seven unarmed Catholic protesters were shot by British soldiers just after four o’clock that afternoon – and 14 of them died. Read more

Review, Apology ‘Transformative,’ says U.S. Rep. Neal

By Reporter Staff, special to the BIR, July 2, 2010

By Robert P. Connolly
Special to the BIR
It is perhaps more than appropriate that the echoes of the gun shots fired in Derry on Jan. 30, 1972, have reverberated down through the decades. Read more

Only One Gun a Month? A Travesty!

By Ed Forry, July 2, 2010

By James W. Dolan
Special to the Reporter
There is strong opposition to a bill under consideration in the House that would restrict Massachusetts residents to buying only one gun a month. Filed by Governor Deval Patrick and supported by the law enforcement community, this modest effort is an attempt to limit the number of guns in circulation in light of recent shootings in Boston. Read more

A death in Our Family: Aunt Elinor (1914-2010)

By Anonymous, June 3, 2010

By Tom Mulvoy
Associate Editor
Last Saturday morning, two days shy of her 96th birthday, Elinor (Harrington) Barron died where she had prayed she would – in her home of 52 years in the Waban neighborhood of Newton. It was the end of a life that began in May 1914, three months before the Guns of August announced the beginning of The Great War, and that endured through close to a century’s worth of turmoil and high drama in the larger world. Read more

Whatever Became of John McCain?

By Anonymous, June 3, 2010

By James W. Dolan
Special to the Reporter
There is no denying that Senator John McCain is a true American hero. He was badly injured when shot down over North Vietnam and then endured five years of imprisonment, deprivation, and torture. He said he “broke,” but if so, it was only after resisting to a point far beyond what could reasonably be expected of anyone. Read more

Positive Change in Northern Ireland: A Steady Rise in Nationalist Vote

By Anonymous, June 3, 2010

By Joe Leary
Special to the BIR
The recent British Parliamentary elections indicate a dramatic new phase in Northern Ireland’s journey towards peaceful change. New leaders in London, a continuing increase in National/Republican votes, Unionist parties in disarray, and the promise of lower corporate tax rates all portend change. It appears much is happening to set the stage for movement towards a United Ireland.
The success of the two Nationalist/Republican political parties, Sinn Fein and the Social Democratic Labor Party (SDLP), both aggressively advocating Northern Ireland unity with the Republic of Ireland, was seen in many of the 18 constituencies where the election was fought. Read more

Election Fallout Stirs Talk of a Union of Unionists

By Anonymous, June 3, 2010

By Robert P. Connolly
Special to the BIR
For years, the political playbook for Northern Ireland’s unionists stressed saber-rattling and offering up the hardest of hard-line stands. After all, the party that dominated unionist politics for decades, the Ulster Unionist Party, once had its armed wing and in the aftermath of partition made clear that Northern Ireland was a Protestant state and that Catholics were a barely tolerated and little-trusted enemy within the North’s borders. Read more