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Here and There

Ray Flynn, a Natural For Honors

By Bill O'Donnell, August 29, 2014

  Ray Flynn, a Natural For Honors – At a recent birthday party celebrating former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn’s 75th birthday, City Councillors Bill Linehan and Stephen Murphy announced they will lead a move to recognize the South Boston native for his life of public service. What a grand idea and one that Bostonians and others should, and I am sure will, get behind. (Disclosure: I worked at City Hall during the Flynn years) Read more

Boston Irish Reporter’s Here & There

By Bill O'Donnell, August 1, 2014

First-Ever Minister for the Diaspora – Enda Kenny’s coalition government has answered the hopes and aspirations of the Irish living abroad by appointing to the cabinet the first minister of state for the diaspora. The new position has been the goal of the overseas Irish for decades, and is viewed largely as an ombudsman post for the Irish abroad and an activist voice for voting rights and immigration reform. Read more

Hunger Strike Charges Shadow Adams

By Bill O'Donnell, May 30, 2014

Hunger Strike Charges Shadow Adams – Richard O’Rawe, public information officer for the IRA inmates during the hunger strikes had an intriguing tale to tell of what actually occurred during the 1981 protests. O’Rawe’s account of what went down during the negotiations between Margaret Thatcher’s British government and the Irish republican leadership outside the prison walls makes for intriguing reading. And this story has haunted Gerry Adams up to the present moment, according to a story by journalist Ed Moloney, who organized and led the BC tape-recorded interviews effort. Read more

At Bridgewater State Univ, a remembrance of Seamus Heaney

By Bill O'Donnell, May 1, 2014

Grand Time On Seamus Heaney Birthday – On Sunday afternoon, April 13, at the auditorium on the Bridgewater State University campus an audience of friends and fans came together to mark the 75th birthday of the poet Seamus Heaney, who died last August. It was an old-fashioned, memory-laden birthday bash with stories, anecdotes, and travels with Seamus tales, interrupted by applause and laughter. A lovely day for a lovely man. Read more

Loyalist political leadersays he has "no regrets" over 40 year old murder

By Bill O'Donnell, April 1, 2014

Loyalist Killer Hutchinson’s Remarks Offend – In a recent Belfast newspaper interview, Billy Hutchinson, leader of the Progressive Unionist Party in the North who killed two innocent (non-IRA) Catholics in 1974, justified the cold-blooded shooting of the two brothers as having “contributed to preventing a united Ireland.” Hutchinson made it clear that he has no regrets some 40 years later. These horrendous comments by the unionist political leader in post-Troubles-Northern Ireland have triggered angry words from nationalist political figures who have served with him in local government. Read more

Out of Order- Belfast Orangeman issues 'warning' on speaking Irish language

By Bill O'Donnell, February 27, 2014

By Bill O’Donnell
Orange Order’s Ignorance Not Helpful – The Derry Journal was spot on when they criticized a senior Orangeman for issuing a “word of warning” to Protestants against learning the Irish language. The Belfast County Grand Master, George Chittick, claimed that speaking Irish was “part of the republican agenda.” The Journal editorial on Feb. 17 called the Orange warning “disgraceful and unsurprising” and ill-informed about Ireland’s native language. Read more

Haass NI Proposals Down For The Count

By Bill O'Donnell, January 31, 2014

February 1, 2014– Despite seven good-faith drafts proposing remedies for the three fundamental areas of discontent – flags, parades, and the legacy of the Troubles – the five Northern Ireland parties were unable in the end to come to an agreement. There was a short leash on Dr. Richard Haass’s negotiations, a window so relatively short that it helped preclude the Northern Ireland political parties from working through to a solution. In brief, Sinn Fein and the SDLP were open to accepting many of the individual proposals, but the unionist political parties in the Executive were hesitant to agree, seemingly waiting for a vote of confidence from their constituents that never came. Read more

Padraig O’Malley pauses campaign for Mandela tribute –

By Bill O'Donnell, January 2, 2014

O’Malley Pauses Campaign For Mandela Tribute – Padraig O’Malley, the professor of Peace and Reconciliation at the MccCormack Center at UMass Boston, has spent his recent years lecturing but rarely in a university classroom but working feverishly on three continents to bring peace and respect for differences to a range of warring cities and their leaders. With rare exceptions, there is little public funding for O’Malley’s protean efforts, still the whirlwind of planning, travel, and meetings involved in bringing enemies together grinds on for the professor-activist with peace as his goal. Read more

For Gerry Adams, storms clouds ahead

By Bill O'Donnell, December 2, 2013

By Bill O’Donnell

Storm Clouds Gathering For Gerry Adams –Sinn Fein Party Leader and Dail Deputy from County Louth, Gerry Adams has led a relatively charmed life as prisoner, negotiator with the British, Good Friday peacemaker, and immensely successful politician with stakeholds in a persistently divided Ireland. However, that charmed life may be about to be interrupted by British government and loyalists forces in the North who finally have the scent of a weakened Irish republican in their sight. Read more

Another round of naysayers weighs in on Boston's Irish Famine Memorial

By Bill O'Donnell, October 31, 2013

By Bill O’Donnell
Is Boston Famine Memorial Art, Or Something Else? – Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, the Boston Irish Famine Memorial has been gobsmacked as a justifiably reviled piece of sculpture by critics. Once again we learn that they (writers, journalists, et al.) don’t like it. The latest and most celebrated of the naysayers is the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic, Sebastian Smee. Before Smee’s recent  harsh words there was Fintan O’Toole of the Irish Times, who spilled his spleen on the downtown Boston statuary for representing “pious cliches and dead conventions.” Read more