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Here and There

Immigration Reform Not On Front Burner

By Bill O'Donnell, July 5, 2012

Despite the stunning rescue by President Obama of the core of the Dream Act and all that it means now to those who were bought to the US as children, the harsh reality is that there is no comprehensive immigration reform on the horizon nor is there likely to be anything doing for months. The Obama initiative, end-running the GOP, is a policy that deserves to be the law of the land and the president, who speaks often about fairness, was on solid ground, albeit he is being criticized for the politics of doing it in an election year bid to the growing Hispanic community. Read more

Irish “Gathering” To Be Highlight of 2013

By Bill O'Donnell, June 4, 2012

By Bill O’Donnell
Irish “Gathering” To Be Highlight of 2013 -- The Irish government and its tourist agency are planning a mammoth party next year and are inviting some 70 million people of Irish heritage around the world to join in. It is hoped that the Gathering, modeled on the widely acclaimed Scottish event in 2009 called the “Homecoming, will bring over a quarter of a million visitors to Ireland.
At the launch last month in Dublin, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Taniste Eamon Gilmore took turns describing the events and reaching out to the diaspora in an effort to promote the 2013 Gathering as the biggest tourist event in Irish history. Said Kenny: “This initiative needs the widespread participation of communities and local organizations across Ireland. The Gathering gives each of us an opportunity to do something positive for our country in our own unique way.” Added Gilmore: “Ireland aims to engage with our global diaspora, to invite them to come home in 2013 ... it is not just for anyone with Irish heritage; it is also addressed to those who love or have an interest in Ireland” Read more

Norfolk MA's 15 year old Melissa McCarthy is All Ireland dance champ

By Bill O'Donnell, May 1, 2012

Give The Little Lady A Big Hand—This Norfolk, Massachusetts, dancer doesn’t need much of an introduction to Boston Irish dance fans, given her appearances in Riverdance and Brian O’Donavan’s Celtic Sojourn and her talents as a gifted dance instructor, but now Melissa McCarthy, 15, has a new title: winner of the prestigious World Irish Dancing Championship held last month in Belfast. She bested girls in the age 15-16 category in the Waterfront Hall contest. Melissa learned to dance at the Harney Academy of Irish Dance in Walpole, founded by Liam Harney, himself a world champion. Harney’s mother, Sally, an accomplished Irish set dancer, teaches at the academy. Read more

The Chieftains At 50: Better than Ever

By Bill O'Donnell, April 3, 2012

The Irish Taoiseach calls them “living treasures whose music has transcended all boundaries.” And ain’t it the truth. After 50 years as a major international music group, the Chieftains, led as they have been since the beginning by Paddy Moloney, have won just about every award imaginable for their richly nuanced traditional Irish music offerings. Read more

Returning to Kerry – the Flahertys and the O’Donnells

By Bill O'Donnell, March 6, 2012

My cousin Dan Flaherty died twenty years ago at age 53. As he left us, he was doing what he loved: tending his sheep atop the mountain overlooking the farm below that he shared with his wife Eileen and daughter Margaret. I love all the Flahertys, but I reserve a special place for Dan. He was a community leader, a regular in the Castlemaine players group, and a much-loved performer in his neighborhood musicales. Read more

Irish-Based Charity to Aid Chernobyl Children Is Scammed

By Bill O'Donnell, March 5, 2012

Irish-Based Charity Is Scammed – The Chernobyl Children International charity founded and run out of Ireland by humanitarian Adi Roche is one of the most admired and successful efforts of its kind anywhere in the world. Read more

Vatican Embassy Closing by Ireland Spurs Criticism

By Bill O'Donnell, February 2, 2012

The recent decision by the Irish government to shut down its embassy in Rome is meeting with widespread public disapproval. Although the closing was characterized as an economy move at the time, there is a feeling among many of the country’s punters that it was a retaliatory back-of-the-hand to Rome. Read more

"Belfast Project" takes a hit in federal court

By Bill O'Donnell, December 30, 2011

by Bill O'Donnell
The Fat Lady Hasn’t Sung Last Note Yet At BC—Those working to quash the Northern Ireland Police/US Justice Department subpoenas against Boston College’s “Belfast Project” oral history interviews took a hit last month when a federal judge supported the Police Service/Justice view of things. On Dec. 27, Judge William Young ordered BC to turn over the tapes of recorded interviews with a former IRA member, Dolours Price, to the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston for a transfer to the police in Northern Ireland who are continuing their probes of the killing times in the North during the Troubles. Young gave the university a deadline of Dec. 30 and BC said it would not appeal the ruling. Meanwhile, the judge still has in hand for his own review scores of interviews with numerous other IRA figures. Read more

Pope John XXIII and the case for his long-delayed canonization

By Bill O'Donnell, December 5, 2011

by Bill O'Donnell
Is Pope John’s Case Buried—What in God’s name is happening at the Vatican and the long-delayed canonization of Pope John XXIII? The case for Pope John, who died in 1963 and was beatified in September 2000, remains in some ideological backroom queue while Pope John Paul II has been fast-tracked for sainthood by the current denizens of the Vatican Curia. Read more

Irish Look Into Facebook Complaints

By Bill O'Donnell, November 14, 2011

The popular social network Facebook has 600 million users across Europe but that hasn't stopped an Irish agency from auditing the internet phenomenon. The Irish Data Protection Commission has agreed to audit Facebook following complaints about privacy issues from the tiny Europe-v-Facebook group. The complaints stem from an investigation begun by a concerned Facebook user, Max Schrems, an Austrian law student who believes that Facebook is collecting and misusing his personal information. Read more

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