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Here and There

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

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

Irish Role In Australia Changes

By Bill O'Donnell, November 2, 2012

Almost a century and a half has passed since those early convict ships filled with the Irish sailed from English prisons like Dartmoor and Portsmouth bound for Australia. The Fenians constituted the first wave in the 1860s of a British solution to a British problem: What to do with the overcrowded prisons filled with minor criminals, many of whom were Irish convicted of petty crimes amidst the anti-Irish fervor of the day? The answer was to create a prison colony in distant Australia to accommodate the criminal Irish, in a phrase: to “export” the problems at home. Read more

Murdoch's brand grossly and continuously abuses journalistic guidelines

By Bill O'Donnell, October 2, 2012

Lies, Bad Journalism Typify Murdoch Brand – One of the immutable principles of newspaper columns and opinion pieces is that they must be signed, with the identity and relevant facts about the writer attached to the piece. Only then can we begin to know and weigh what ties exist and/or what employment history may have influenced the opinions and judgments of the writer.
The same principles, or rules of the game, are essentially in force for other media. Read more

Paul Ryan, The Bean Counter, and the Truth

By Bill O'Donnell, August 31, 2012

Where to start with Willard Romney’s partner in duplicity. He is trying to shrink the budget, but, as with many of his ideological compatriots, he can’t stay away from the big money earmark giveaways for his hometown. He used to believe in Ayn Rand and her brand of selfishness, but that doesn’t play well with his fellow Catholics, so he left her and joyously re-embraced his childhood faith. Paul Ryan’s budget plan was endorsed by Romney, but on the trail the Belmont weathervane, without a budget himself, reminds people that he’s the boss and Ryan’s plan is not his, at least not quite. The Romney-Ryan duo sermonize about fiscal sanity but propose tax cuts for their uber-wealthy friends that would add trillions to the deficit in coming decades. They love to talk about fair play and honest treatment for the middle class and seniors but will gut Medicare as we know it and leave Medicaid for the poorest of the poor to the caprices of Mississippi, Alabama, and their sorry ilk. Read more

Robinson & McGuiness: Some bumps, less chuckles, but few public brawls.

By Bill O'Donnell, August 2, 2012

By Bill O’Donnell
Not Chuckling At Stormont These Days – The earlier relationship between Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness was one of the soft-landing wonders of the western world. So much so that they were often referred to as the Chuckle Brothers as they fulfilled their roles as First Minister and Deputy First Minister. To have the hardline “No Surrender” anti-papist Paisley and McGuinness, the former Derry IRA commander, working in tandem as northern political leaders was the stuff of fantasy. Read more