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Here and There

US diplomacy returns to deal with new issues in the North

By Bill O'Donnell, October 9, 2013

US Envoy Seeks Solution In North – America’s diplomat of the newest Troubles, Richard Haass, has been in Belfast these days seeing if his presence can have a salutary effect on the troubled relationship between the nationalist and unionist communities in the North. The original, if unrealistic, timetable, called for some type of agreement by December but there is little to no chance of that happening.
It seems entirely possible that after the New Year some type of accommodation can be hammered out on major grievances such as flags, parades, protests, etc. but the simmering and sticky quest for parity of esteem is attitudinal and dangerously tied to the past. History is clearly the most difficult stumbling block of all, and remains the poison pill of genuine reconciliation among the tribes. Read more

Changes coming to record Deaths of Irish who die abroad

By Bill O'Donnell, August 29, 2013

By Bill O’Donnell
Irish Deaths Abroad Will Be Recognized – How hard is it to get a death certificate when an Irish citizen dies in Ireland? The quick answer is that it is easy: a doctor, and a coroner in some instances, signs off and a proof of death is formally issued. However, if you are an Irish citizen who dies abroad, say in the US, historically there has been no legally mandated process to recognize and register the death of Irish citizens abroad. That lack of process will soon be a relic of the past when the Irish parliament, Dail Eireann, completes passage of legislation this year that will remedy this long-standing omission.
The making of this new law is the result of the efforts of a Galway couple, Liam and Yvonne O’Reilly, whose son Keith died tragically in Chicago four years ago. The couple were shocked when they were unable to register Keith’s death in Ireland, so they decided to do something about it. Read more

Flags, Parades, fuel Unionist Protests

By Bill O'Donnell, July 31, 2013

Flags, Parades, fuel Unionist Protests –
It all began last December following a vote by the Belfast City Council to limit the days that the British Union flag would fly over Belfast City Hall.
For the previous 106 years, Britain’s flag had flown every day over the ornate city hall; it would now be flown but 18 days a year. A vote, perhaps, for “parity of esteem.” The unionist/Protestant community was shocked and took to the streets of Northen Ireland to vent their anger and frustration. The weeks of violence that ensued were the most expansive, and most violent since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Serious stuff, indeed. Read more

What's the hidden agenda in O'Dowd's attack on Boston's IIIC?

By Bill O'Donnell, June 27, 2013

BY BILL O’DONNELL
Unfair Attack On Boston Immigration Center – I don’t know what Niall O’Dowd had in mind when he pulled out all the stops to write a malicious and sensationalist diatribe against the Boston-based Irish International Immigration Center. I can’t imagine how O’Dowd, who hired the young woman at the center of the dispute and encouraged her to write a confessional article for his Irish Voice newspaper, found the nerve to savage the IIIC for discontinuing her relationship with the Boston non-profit, when in actuality it was her admission in the pages of the Irish Voice that she was breaking the terms of her visa that forced the IIIC to report her. Nice play Niall. Read more

Irish Voting from abroad? New EU plan may mandate it

By Bill O'Donnell, June 3, 2013

EU May Force Voting For Expatriates – As it currently stands, Ireland is just one of six European Union countries that exclude their citizens abroad from voting in home elections. There has been continuing but ineffective pressure from young Irish living overseas to be allowed to vote in national elections, but that may soon be changing. Some top officials in Ireland and the EU are proposing legislation that would make all members of the Union eligible to vote in elections in their home countries, and Ireland would be ready. Read more

The North Prepares to host G8 world leaders

By Bill O'Donnell, April 8, 2013

By Bill O’Donnell
Fermanagh Rentals Sky High for G8 Summit – It’s not as if you’re looking to rent a home next to the course hosting golf’s Open championship, or to reserve a plush suite at a national political convention or a seaside villa in Hawaii, but the cost of a place to lay your head during the June G8 summit meeting in Northern Ireland is off the screen. Owners near, and sometimes not so near, the luxe Lough Erne Golf & Spa Resort in Fermanagh, a scenic wonderland, are signing on for living accommodations during the international summit that range from $3,000 to $18,000 a week. Read more

Boston Irish Reporter's Here and There

By Bill O'Donnell, March 1, 2013

 Cullen & Murphy’s Bulger Book A Winner –I have ordered it,  so I haven’t read it yet, but the true crime story of Whitey Bulger as written by the Globe’s Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy is no doubt the real thing. It has it all, say the early reviews. Cullen and Murphy have decades of experience in covering Whitey and the Boston underworld and as journalists and urban historians they have written what will likely be the definitive account of the Bulger era, warts and all. Read more

Irish Journalists Had Lance’s Number

By Bill O'Donnell, February 7, 2013

BY BILL O’DONNELL
Irish Journalists Had Lance’s Number – While the big media hotshots slavishly followed the exploits of professional cyclist Lance Armstrong, writing glowing tributes of the seven-time Tour de France winner, two Irish journalists consistently wrote the truth. For years, Paul Kimmage and David Walsh chronicled with growing skepticism Armstrong’s claims, debunking the success of the racing phenomenon and calling into question the rider’s drug-free claims. Kimmage has spent at least a dozen years doubting Armstrong’s assurances that his high profile victories were accomplished without using PEDs or similar performance-enhancing drugs. Kimmage, a former Tour de France rider from Dublin, dismissed the recent Oprah TV interview as “soft,” saying that a tougher one-on-one by Oprah would have benefitted the sport. Read more

Swift Boaters, Tea Party Losers Go After Kerry

By Bill O'Donnell, January 7, 2013

Swift Boaters, Tea Party Losers Go After Kerry – It comes as no surprise that the Swift Boat gang that helped torpedo US Sen. John Kerry’s presidential bid in 2004 has been resurrected to do the same for his expected appointment as Secretary of State. They will have as allies in the attempted Kerry take-down the shrinking Tea Party stalwarts whose advocacy of right wing nut-case candidates has probably cost the Republican party five US Senate seats in just the past two elections. Read more

Opening Up Ireland’s West

By Bill O'Donnell, November 30, 2012

Opening Up Ireland’s West – There are plans afoot to develop an exciting new driving route in the west of Ireland dubbed the Wild Atlantic Way. The proposed route, which would use existing coastal routes from Donegal to west Cork, would cover 850 miles (1,400 km) and be Ireland’s first long-distance driving route for tourists. Read more

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