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Here and There

Small Irish engineering firm played big role in Chilean mine rescue

By Bill O'Donnell, November 1, 2010

Irish Firm Key Rescue Player -- There were many companies and countries that assisted in the near- miraculous rescue operation in the tiny desert mining outpost in Chile, but none played a more significant role than a small Shannon-based Irish engineering firm. Mincon Ltd. employs 52 workers at Shannon, 130 world wide, and specializes in precision mining equipment. The Irish company supplied the drill that first broke through the underground cavity that held the 33 miners. Read more

For the Taoiseach, a Bad Day at Galway

By Bill O'Donnell, October 20, 2010

Bad Day At Galway -- And sure don’t we all have the bad day every once in a while. Not so long ago Queen Elizabeth had an entire bad year that she resorted to Latin to describe. But the Irish Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, had a couple of days in Galway in mid-September that have left his Dail allies and his handlers scrambling for euphemisms in attempts to extricate the Irish leader from a continuing series of highly critical public and press thunderbolts. Some even posed the very real possibility that Cowen’s leadership could be hanging on public opinion polls due out in late September. Read more

Leftover Irish Pounds? Bring 'em to the Bank on Your Next Visit

By Bill O'Donnell, August 3, 2010

Get Thee To A Bank -- There is $300 million in old, outdated Irish pounds or punt still unredeemed after almost eight years. When the Irish shifted from its national currency to the European Union’s euro, millions were left on the table by residents in Ireland and also in the US, England, and other countries. Since the conversion at the end of 2002, only $75 million in old currency has been redeemed. Read more

Derry Shows The World

By Bill O'Donnell, July 2, 2010

Derry Shows The World – The good people of Derry – victims all in so many ways of the murders on January 30, 1972 -- showed a face to the world that will be hard to forget. It was the patience, civility, and loyalty of the citizens of Derry, with an enormous helping of dignity thrown in, that were easily the equal of the graceful words of the Tory Prime Minister when he described the events of 38 years ago as “unjustified and unjustifiable.” Read more

Jean Butler Happy In Post-Riverdance Life

By Bill O'Donnell, June 3, 2010

By Bill O’Donnell
In the mid-1990s, Jean Butler and her dance partner, Michael Flatley, were the talk of the entertainment world from The Point on Dublin’s Liffey to Manhattan’s Radio City Music Hall. “Riverdance” was the show to see (and see again) and she was the perfect partner for the creative, self-absorbed dance maestro. Together they caught lightning in a bottle and her ethereal beauty, incandescently memorable, was every step the equal of Flatley’s genius on the dance stage. Read more

Is Sinn Fein's Abstention Policy Dying?

By Bill O'Donnell, May 1, 2010

Maybe it's because Gerry Adams has had some recent personal setbacks along with his party's electoral hopes, but the call for the voice of the Provos to end their parliamentary abstention is growing louder. The new leader of the SDLP, Margaret Ritchie, has openly suggested to the republicans that it might be time for elected Sinn Fein representatives in the House of Commons to start actively representing their constituents instead of playing hard to get. Read more

What Is It About Irish Passports?

By Bill O'Donnell, March 1, 2010

Last month's assassination in Dubai of a major Hamas leader by a hit squad, possibly Israeli secret service Mossad agents, that included five men with forged Irish passports, has erupted into a diplomatic firestorm between Ireland and Israel. Ireland's Foreign Affairs Minister, Micheal Martin, has met with the Israeli foreign minister in Brussels to express the Irish government's outrage while the public debate continues to rage on in the press. Read more

Juicy Scandals Help Irish Weather a Fierce Winter

By Bill O'Donnell, February 5, 2010

By Bill O’Donnell
Three Penny Opera, Irish Style -- For some in Ireland the New England type of fierce winter weather in recent weeks has been the topic of fireside conversation from Sligo to Kildare. Yet nothing beats a good old-fashioned scandal and the Green Isle currently has three beauts that have dominated --overwhelmed would be more accurate – the national news cycle. Read more

From Boston to Ireland to Nantucket Sound

By Bill O'Donnell, January 7, 2010

Boston-Aided Foyleside Centre Thrives -- Opened 15 years ago in the city of Derry, it was a super shopping complex that initially drew criticism from many in the North when construction began. They said it was too large, too tempting a target for the paramilitaries, the glass atrium facade would never withstand IRA attack, and on and on. But it was built, a stunning 400,000 square feet of retail shops that defied the odds and might never have come to fruition if it hadn't been for critical links established in the 1980s between Boston and Derry. Read more

Saville Report Delay Unconscionable

By Bill O'Donnell, December 5, 2009

This new year, 2010, will be the 12th anniversary of the start of the Saville Inquiry into the January 1972 massacre, Bloody Sunday, when 13 unarmed Derry citizens were shot to death by British paratroopers on the streets where they lived. A fourteenth would die later of his wounds. No one has ever been charged, no one has been adjudged guilty, and the fact that it has taken a dozen years - with the end not yet in sight - to try to clean up his Lordship Widgery's disgraceful whitewash should be an acute embarrassment to the British legal establishment. Read more