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Boston Irish Commentary

Rob O'Leary, State Senator for Cape and Islands, Looks to Congress With an Eager, Practiced Eye

By Greg O'Brien, special to the BIR, May 1, 2010

Giving new definition to irony, Rob O'Leary's academic pedigree in the spirited arena of Boston politics reads like one from central casting: Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire; The School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University where he rubbed shoulders with a young Bill Clinton; a master's in public policy from Harvard; and a PhD in history from Tufts. The state senator serving Cape Cod and the Islands, with his trademark Kennedy good looks, was the first Democrat to represent the region in the state Legislature since the Civil War. He now seeks bigger fish to fry - by replacing retiring Congressman Bill Delahunt in the state's 10th Congressional District. Read more

How About a Real Act of Contrition?

By Anonymous, May 1, 2010

What will my church do to confront the continuing scandal associated with the sexual abuse of children? In an effort to avoid scandal, church leaders were complicit in efforts to cover up not only serious crimes but also grievous sins. Read more

British Elections Loom Crucial to Peace in Northern Ireland

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

The results of the upcoming British Parliamentary elections will have a profound effect upon peace and understanding amongst the conflicted people of Northern Ireland. The people of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, will elect 650 members of the newly constituted Parliament, which will rule the country for the next five years unless the new government fails to maintain its majority. Read more

British Election a High Stakes Game for Three Party Leaders in the North

By Robert P. Connolly, special to the BIR, May 1, 2010

BELFAST - While the party leaders who have the most at stake in this month's British election are named Brown, Cameron, and Clegg, the leaders of three of Northern Ireland's four main political parties also have a lot riding on the outcome of the Westminster vote. Read more

BC's Burns Scholar: a non-stop life

By Ana Lopez, special to the BIR, May 1, 2010

If you had told Thomas Bartlett in 1970 that 40 years later he would be the Burns Scholar at Boston College, teaching classes on Ireland in the early modern era and researching the holdings of the "best Irish collection in North America," he probably would not have believed you. Read more

At Last, Health Care Relief is Ours

By Ed Forry, special to the BIR, April 3, 2010

How many of you earn that amount in a year?
Not I, says the teacher. Nor I, says the letter carrier. Nor I, says the clerk at the corner store. Certainly not I, says the senior citizen living on Social Security.
$88,200. That’s 1,700 bucks a week in your paycheck. If yours is a family of four, and you make less than that, some relief is here, at last. Read more

In Hailing St. Patrick’s Day Around the World, Irish Ministers Make Ireland’s Influence Clear

By Joseph F Leary, special to the BIR, April 3, 2010

The vast influence and power of Ireland throughout the world is proven every St. Patrick’s Day. And don’t think it is just parties and parades; it is testimony to the robust spirit and unique character of the Irish people who vigorously celebrate their loyalty and love for their native land. Read more

Color These Musings Springtime Green

By Robert P. Connolly, special to the BIR, April 3, 2010

By Robert P. Connolly
Special to the BIR
With spring in the air and the landscape turning green, the mind wanders across the water…
The upcoming British election means that Northern Ireland’s 18 Westminster seats will be up for grabs. The Democratic Unionist Party has a lot on the line because it holds nine of those seats, but it is also important that Sinn Fein, which has five seats, do well and help party leader Gerry Adams bounce back from his annus horribilis of 2009. Read more


By Anonymous, March 1, 2010

The Haiti earthquake claimed the life of Andrew Grene, but his legacy lives on through his twin brother – the Prodigals' Gregory Grene - and a foundation for the children of Haiti.

For 44-year-old Gregory Grene, of the popular band The Prodigals, nothing will ever be the same. His twin brother, Andrew, a well-known UN political affairs officer, perished in the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January. Gregory headed to another island, Ireland, to help bury his brother in Belturbet, County Cavan. Read more

Boston Real Estate is Tom Hynes's Game, But This Marathon Man Doesn't Stop There

By Greg O'Brien, special to the BIR, March 1, 2010

A student of the classics and ancient Greece, Tom Hynes delights in the story of Pheidippides, the Athenian herald who in 490 B.C. announced the Greek victory over Persia in the Battle of Marathon. As legend has it, Pheidippides ran a marathon 150 miles in two days, then raced 25 miles from the battlefield to Athens to proclaim victory. "We have won," he declared. He then collapsed, dead from exhaustion. Read more

SDLP Elects Margaret Ritchie as 'Leader' - First Woman to Head Major Party in North

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

In a close election last month, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) of Northern Ireland elected Minister Margaret Ritchie, 51, as its "leader" to guide the party into the second decade of the 21st century. With her ascension, Miss Ritchie becomes the first female head of a major party in Northern Ireland. Read more

Officials See North's Policing Accord As Signaling End to 'Troubles' Era

By Robert P. Connolly, special to the BIR, March 1, 2010

Northern Ireland's Troubles began with its police force front and center and in a very real sense may have ended with a grand compromise on the vexing question of where the ultimate control over policing should rest. Read more

Irish Immigration Center Is Quick to Pitch In

By Sue Asci, special to the BIR, February 6, 2010

The Irish Immigration Center is partnering with several organizations throughout the city to help Haitian immigrants seeking Temporary Protected Status (TPS) complete applications by a June deadline. Read more

The Waiting Line is Fast Dwindling, and Soon They Will All Be Gone

By Anonymous, February 6, 2010

The ranks are thin. Where once stood thousands of young soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. there are huge gaps. Those who are left are stooped, wrinkled, and gray. As we watch, more crumple to the ground. Taps sounds in the distance. The rest remain silent ... waiting. Read more

Climate Change in Scott Brown's Massachusetts

By Jim O'Sullivan, special to the BIR, February 6, 2010

The Jan. 19 election to succeed Paul Kirk - and Ted Kennedy - in the United States Senate was supposed to be the tripwire. The vote that launched a thousand domino campaigns, Democrats vying against Democrats for seats long held safe by Democrats, and expected to be held by Democrats long into the foreseeable.

Instead, state Sen. Scott Brown's election over Attorney General Martha Coakley has sent the state's plurality party into an unaccustomed place: the wilderness contemplative. Read more