Posted by Jim on October 24, 2014
By Colin Broderick
A few months ago Fiach MacConghail the director of The Abbey, Ireland’s national theatre, summed up the current state of the Irish artistic response to the upcoming 1916 Easter Rising centennial preparations with this bleak prediction;
“This commemoration anxiety has been going on for a while, and will, I believe, end up in commemoration paralysis.”
Just last week the 1916 Relatives Association expressed outrage that the centenary plans are in an “absolute shambles.” The members of the organization are understandably angry that no one has reached out to them to consult with them in preparation for celebrations or events to mark this historical milestone amid rumor’s that the Queen of England herself might be invited to an occasion meant to honor those who gave their lives to free themselves from English rule.
Then to top it all off, just a week ago, former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton suggested that the 1916 Rising damaged the Irish psyche and that the violence used only led to more more bloodshed in the years that have followed.
Of course it’s an easy argument to make in light of the recent global trend in re-branding the word “terrorist”, as a catch-all phrase for; ‘violence-that-has-not-been-perpetrated-by-a-ruling monarchy-or-recognized-world-power.’ But as Gerald Seymour penned famously in the 1975 thriller, Harry’s Game; “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”
Not that I’m condoning violence but it’s easy to use that sort of language to dismiss events that happened in the distant past. What Bruton fails to address of course is that Ireland and England have been at loggerheads for about a thousand years or so and just because the weapon of choice in 1916 was the gun rather than the sword doesn’t mean the two sides hadn’t clashed numerous times before then with devastating consequences. Oliver Cromwell didn’t need a pistol to slaughter three thousand Irish in Drogheda in 1649. Does that make him any less a terrorist?
But let’s, for the sake of argument, allow Bruton his opinion. It’s his opinion and no matter how misinformed and callous it may appear to many, he is entitled to it. It is after all, just one side of an argument. Let me repeat that; it is just one side of an argument.
As a writer I believe in the power of argument. Without informed argument, without respectful consideration of both sides of any story we are doomed eventually to dictatorship. In order to live peacefully in a free society “all voices” need to be heard with the same level of respect. That is the very nature of a democracy. It is our willingness to allow for opposing arguments, lifestyle choices, differences in political and religious beliefs that will keep us from future violence. Without the acceptance of opposing beliefs we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past eternally.
As a co-writer of the screenplay for, The Rising, the feature movie based on the life of Sean MacDiarmada and his role in masterminding the 1916 Easter Rising, I am appalled at the unwillingness to engage in public debate from both sides.
Isn’t this centennial the perfect opportunity for peaceful public debate? Isn’t this the opportunity we’ve all been waiting for to finally set swords and rifles aside and, after a thousand years of bitter hatreds, hear each other out. What are we so afraid of? Why are the Irish so afraid to talk about their own past? Why are they afraid to own it?
It is okay to say Sean MacDiarmada and the six other signatories of the 1916 Proclamation were terrorists. It is also perfectly okay to say that they are heroes. Both sides of the argument will always have their supporters and detractors. That is the very nature of mankind; we are alike, in that, each one of us is different. Don’t let fear keep you from taking this oportunity to speak up.
Or, if you are having trouble saying something maybe you could proactively throw your support behind some of the people who are trying to say something that aligns with your way of thinking.
Producer/co-writer, Kevin McCann and I have a movie,The Rising, that needs all the help it can get right now.
So far we can attest to that state of paralysis Fiach MacConghail is predicting. Everyone we talk to would love to see this movie made, but very few are willing to put their hands in their pockets, or their voices on public record to make sure that it does happen. It has become a political hot potato that gets whacked from one Irish politician’s office to the next with a dexterity that makes the William’s sisters look like a pair of lumbering stoners.
But it’s not fair to blame the politicians for the cultural paralysis, that’s the lazy way out. Their incompetence does not excuse my inaction. That is why we have chosen to fight on to ensure that this movie gets made regardless. We believe it is essential to the Irish psyche that this story is finally brought to light. This is the only feature movie slated for release in 1916 to mark the centennial; the first ever feature movie to portray the actual events of the Easter Rising and the executions of the seven signatories of the Proclamation of Independence.
But perhaps movies are not your thing. That’s okay too. If you don’t like the idea of a feature movie or a documentary maybe you could do something else, like organize a parade in your local town, or start a facebook page, or write a song, a blog piece or a poem. If none of that appeals to you maybe you could just read a book about how your country was formed. It is essential to understand a little of your own history. Without a sense of where we have come from it is impossible to fully understand who we are.
And this paralysis does not just stop on the shores of Ireland. I meet countless American’s who claim to be Irish. To you, who are so proudly proclaiming your heritage I ask the same question; what happened in Easter week of 1916?
I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t know very much about it either until quite recently. I’d even published a memoir of my time growing up in Northern Ireland, “That’s That” Random House 2013, but I still didn’t know very much about 1916. My knowledge comprised of an embarrassingly vague hodge podge of names and details that barely served to form a crude outline of the portrait of actual events. Thanks to the determination of Kevin McCann to bring this story to light I have been sufficiently informed of my history in the time since.
In closing, let me say this; as a writer I don’t care which side of the centennial debate you are on, but if we are ever to move forward from this preposterous political stalemate we’ve been locked in for a thousand years between England and Ireland for God’s sake use this opportunity to say something. Regard this centennial as a benchmark. Mark my words, it will be a cultural milestone no less profound than the Easter Rising itself. The very future of our Irish identity hangs in the balance.
Sean MacDiarmada and the other six signatories of The Proclamation of The Irish Republic sacrificed their lives to ensure that we as Irish men and women had a country and a voice to speak of it. Let’s at least honor them by using those voices. It’s the very least we can do.
Posted by Jim on
Queens County will be hosting a Major Degree on Friday October 24, 2014. This Degree is being held at St. Rose of Lima Church Hall located at 130 Beach 84 Street, Rockaway Beach, NY. Candiates are being asked to report at 6-6:30 PM, and observers need to be their by 7:30 PM. Its going to be $20.00 for each candiate.
This Major Degree is going to be performed by the “Red Branch Knights Major Degree Team” of Queens County. For more information or questions, please contact AOH Queens County President John Manning at 917-589-0047.
Posted by Jim on
AOH DIVISION 5, WOODLAWN
• JUDGE WILLIAM MOGULESCU- Irish Civil Rights Lawyer
• RAY O’HANLON-IRISH ECHO Senior Editor
• TIM McSWEENEY- Vice President, New York State AOH
• JERRY COLLINS-McLean Ave Parade, Bajart Post Chaplain
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26, 3:00-7:00PM
RAMBLING HOUSE PARTY ROOM
Katonah Avenue & 236th Street
BRIAN CONWAY – BRUCE FOLEY
Grants for Irish History-Dancing-Music-Gaelic Games Awarded
FREE BUFFET • CASH BAR • $25 Donation
Tickets and Info 718.324.8726
Posted by admin on October 23, 2014
4th Annual Int’l POW Day: Picket in Front of British Consulate, NYC
Saturday, October 25 at 1:00pm
British Consulate-General – New York in New York, New York
The 4th Annual International Day in Support of the Irish Prisoners of
War held in Maghaberry, Portlaoise, Hydebank, and Magilligan jails
will be held on October 24, 25, and 26.
Posted by Jim on October 21, 2014
Victims of Northern Ireland’s bloody conflict have staged a protest at Stormont to pressurise politicians into dealing with the past.
They want the Executive, British and Irish governments to implement proposals agreed during the failed Haass talks last year.
John Teggart, whose father was shot dead by soldiers in 1971 during an incident referred to as the Ballymurphy Massacre, said: “We are here as a reminder to the politicians that there are real people involved.
“We need to let the politicians know that whatever they decide to do, we need to accept it and they need to know that we will continue until we get our just demands.”
The day of action was organised to coincide with a new round of political talks aimed at tackling controversial legacy issues as well as the current financial difficulties facing the Stormont administration.
Among those taking part were families of people killed in the Dublin, Monaghan, Dundalk, and Castleblaney bombings.
They joined relatives of those killed as a result of State and paramilitary violence in Belfast and Londonderry including the Bloody Sunday, McGurk’s Bar, Ballymurphy and Loughinisland families.
In a symbolic move the bereaved campaigners placed victims’ shoes at the steps of Parliament Buildings with a note or photograph detailing their loved one’s murder.
Paul O’Connor from the Pat Finucane Centre, which helped organise the event, said: “We are calling on the British government to directly fund all legacy investigations through a unit independent of the PSNI.
“The collapse of the Victims and Survivors’ Service, the cuts to the Police Ombudsman’s office and the proposal to move historic investigations to the PSNI following the demise of the HET have left victims feeling vulnerable and angry.”
Special measures set up to deal with the past have been badly affected by budget cuts in recent weeks.
Last month the PSNI announced it was axing the Historical Enquiries Unit (HET) which was set up to investigate unsolved Troubles killings. The Police Ombudsman has also reduced resources dedicated to examining historic allegations of police misconduct during the conflict.
The Coroners Service is also struggling to find the resources to deal with a series of long delayed inquests from the Troubles.
And although a £100 million Treasury loan secured by the powersharing Executive has temporarily alleviated the financial problems at Stormont, it has effectively only pushed the issue back to next year, when the loan has to be repaid.
Earlier this year Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers refused to set up an independent review to probe the shooting dead of 10 civilians by soldiers from the parachute regiment in west Belfast more than 40 years ago.
Mr Teggart added: “We are here and the Government need to take on board our proposals.”
“My father was shot 14 times and he deserves justice.”
Posted by Jim on October 20, 2014
by Friends of Sinn Fein
Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy has said that British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers needs to stop pandering to Unionists and realise the Good Friday Agreement cannot be rewritten.
Speaking after Theresa Villiers addressed the Ulster Unionist Party Conference Mr Murphy said,
“The statement that by British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers that the Irish Government will play little role in the political settlement of the North runs contrary to the Good Friday Agreement.
“The Irish Government is a key player and signatory to the Agreement on par with the British Government so the British Secretary of State has no power to change that unilaterally.
“Her contention that the Ulster Unionist Party has a long and distinguished history of doing the right thing for the people of the North also rings hollow for the Nationalist population who had to live under 50 years of misrule based upon sectarianism and discrimination.
“To date the contributions of Theresa Villiers on the issue of welfare cuts, the executive budget, parades and other unionist demands draws into question her political judgement and ability to command the respect necessary to reach agreement.
“Theresa Villiers needs to realise that pandering to Unionism will not resolve the current issues and that the talks will only succeed if everyone enters without preconditions and honouring the Good Friday Agreement commitments.”
Posted by Jim on
In a few short weeks, millions of Americans, particularly children, will be engaged in the joyous celebration that is Halloween. This festive holiday is another of the gifts that Irish Immigrants have brought to America; its origin and customs dating back to the ancient Gaelic holiday of Samhain, which was not only the start of that culture’s new year, but had as its central message the struggle between the forces of light and darkness. It is with this in mind that the Ancient Order of Hibernians asks that all its members, their families and friends to boycott Spencer’s Gifts affiliate Spirit Halloween stores when making their Halloween purchases.
Spencer’s Gifts has a long and well established history of exploiting negative stereotypes and tropes targeting Irish Americans. Among the items recently sold at Spencer’s were clothing emblazoned with such phrases as “F**K Me, I’m Irish”, “Irish Girl Wasted” and a shamrock festooned shirt with “Everyone Loves a Drunk Slut” among other items denigrating Irish Americans. Spencer’s Website is currently selling an “Irish Chug O Meter” beverage bottlewith the settings “Sober, Buzzed, Drunk, Wasted, Irish”, another cup emblazoned “Drink Til You’re Fu**n Irish”, and perhaps the winner in setting a new low “Your Mom is not Irish, but I F**KED her anyway”. All Americans should be outraged at such ethnically based stereotypes, but additionally outraged that at a time when our nation is having serious discussions regarding sexual abuse and domestic violence Spencer’s products are promoting a message conflating binge drinking and an abhorrently demeaning image of women.
When in the past called to account for this promulgation of bigotry and defamation in pursuit of profit, Spencer’s spokesmen have often invoked the “It’s only a joke” defense. It is interesting to note that it appears to be only the Irish that Spencer’s Gifts singles out for such “humor”; it appears to be only our proud heritage that is profaned for profit. Spencer’s has dismissed the protests of the Hibernians as we attempt to defend our culture and our heritage by saying we are not reflective of their demographic; i.e. that since most Hibernians have too much taste and sense to shop in Spencer’s they can ignore our just and valid concern as they pursue their target audience of 18-24 year olds (half of whom are under age yet are being targeted by Spencer’s binge drinking message). It is with this in mind that we ask you to boycott Spencer’s affiliated Spirit Halloween stores.
Spencer’s Spirit Halloween stores, which pop up in unused retail space in shopping malls during the month of October, account for fifty percent of Spencer’s annual revenue of $250 million dollars. No doubt some of the profits earned this October will be used to purchase the merchandise that will be for sale in Spencer’s in March denigrating our noble heritage. While we may never shop in Spencer’s, we likely do, particularly as parents and grandparents, make Halloween purchases. Sending a message that their defamation of the Irish in March hurts their bottom line in October at their lucrative Spirit Halloween shops should cause Spencer’s to rethink their St. Patrick’s Day merchandise choices as they place their orders now for March.
We ask that you make an informed decision to not subsidize defamation of Irish Americans in March by patronizing Spencer’s Spirit Halloween Stores in October, and ask your friends, irrespective of their heritage, to join us in saying there is no room in 21st Century America for the bigoted “Know Nothing” stereotypes of the 19th Century by choosing another retailer for their Halloween purchases.
In the ancient Gaelic spirit of Halloween join us in the light of sending a message of respect for all heritages and to reject the darkness of defamation and denigration that Spencer’s promotes for profit
Neil F. Cosgrove, Anti-Defamation Chair
Posted by Jim on
by Irish Central
Former Senator Gary Hart is expected to be named as the US government peace envoy to Northern Ireland this week and to leave soon for talks there.
The 77-year-old former Colorado senator and presidential candidate will work closely with Secretary of State John Kerry and will report to the State Department.
Kerry and Hart are close and Hart endorsed him for president in 2004. Insiders say he would have been in line for a major cabinet position if Kerry had won.
His imminent appointment was first signaled in the Washington Post.
Hart will be going to Ireland at a time when crucial talks are taking place following a long stalemate between the two largest parties in the Northern Ireland government, Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party. Fears of a government collapse are said to be very real.
Both the British and Irish governments have gotten involved in the talks, which got off to a poor start last week when DUP leader Peter Robinson boycotted due to the presence of the Irish government.
Hart has already paid a visit to Ireland and reported back to State, but this would be his official appointment. He would be following in the footsteps of major figures such as Senator George Mitchell, who chaired the successful peace talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement, and Richard Haass now head of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
Hart has interesting Irish connections. He fled to Oughterard in Galway and rented a cottage there after his abortive run for president in 1988 when his alleged affair with Donna Rice resulted in a media frenzy and his temporary withdrawal from the race.
He once said 50 percent of him wanted to be president and the other 50 percent wanted to live in Ireland and write novels.
In a speech shortly before 9/11 he predicted a major attack on America that would cost many lives
Posted by Jim on October 18, 2014
by Niall O’Dowd @ Irish Central
Cahill says she was abused by an IRA operative in 1997 when she was sixteen for a period of a year and there was an attempted cover-up.
She also says the IRA held a “kangaroo court” and made her and her alleged rapist appear before them.
It is important to state at the outset that the man accused of the rape was cleared in a court of law when the case was presented because Mairia decided not to testify and also that police investigated the kangaroo court charge and found no evidence.
It is also worth noting that Mairia Cahill has met Fianna Fail leader and Adams opponent Michael Martin and is set to meet Northern Ireland First Minister DUP leader Peter Robinson on Monday, making this a very political issue
Mairia Cahill implicates Gerry Adams, whom she says she met for advice, and was told by him that rapists were very manipulative and that maybe she had actually enjoyed it.
Adams has a very different version. He says he agreed to talk to her when a close associate of his who happened to be a relative of Mairia Cahill asked him specifically to do so.
That close associate was Siobhan O’Hanlon, niece of Joe Cahill, herself a much beloved figure in the Republican Movement who died tragically young of cancer.
Siobhan’s sister EIlis O’Hanlon went the other direction, as a columnist for the rabidly anti-Adams Sunday Independent where she became one of Sinn Fein’s most ardent critics.
Last year, on October 13, Eilis wrote in the “Sunday Independent” about an anonymous woman, almost certainly Mairia, who made the exact kind of allegations to her in an interview that are now being made this week.
It is interesting to note the connection as this is precisely the kind of journalism Eilis O’Hanlon has employed against Sinn Fein except now it is clear the story has gotten wider currency.
The idea of Adams suggesting that Mairia was manipulated into liking the abuse has drawn an especially strong reaction from the Sinn Fein leader who has commenced legal action against the BBC program “Spotlight” which allowed such an allegation.
Adams has been vilified for decades now in many publications. Indeed, just this week the press ombudsman found against Independent Newspapers for utterly misrepresenting his position on a story they had written.
So it takes an extreme accusation to draw a threat of legal challenge from Adams. Clearly, he feels very strongly about this one.
Adams says he recommended to Joe Cahill and Siobhan O’Hanlon that Mairia go to the RUC, the then Northern Irish police, and it seems she eventually did so but then did not testify. So what is this latest eruption about then?
Hard to know. A troubled woman making allegations that already were dismissed by courts has now dragged Gerry Adams into the fray.
It certainly makes for good headlines and prominent enemies are gleeful, but does it make any sense?
I believe that Adams, given his own family history of his father being an abuser and his own brother Liam’s conviction for abuse, would be extremely careful dealing with any such allegation.
It utterly beggars belief that he would try and pass off such a serious allegation as something the young woman might have enjoyed against her will.
The second part of the story involves Maria saying she was brought before an IRA court. If so that was a dreadful thing to do to a traumatized young women and there is no excuse for it. But the police could find no evidence of it. Plus she never made the claim that Adams was part of that court.
She also says there are other cases involving abuse and Republicans and both Adams and Sinn Fein Vice President Mary Lou McDonald have urged anyone with information on that to come forward which is certainly what should be done.
So what do we have?
Yet another allegation surfaces about two cases that were dismissed but which drag in Adams and a sensational allegation that can never be proven is made.
There are sections of the Irish and British media who have been only too happy to pronounce Adams guilty until proven innocent on numerous occasions and this seems yet another one.
But in the end the evidence or lack of as presented in courts and decided by courts clearly points in a very different direction.
Reality check: just the facts, the cases were dismissed.
Facts are inconvenient things for Adams haters, alas.
But that doesn’t stop them trying.
Posted by Jim on October 16, 2014
Commodore Barry Club of Brooklyn
P. O. Box 090-824
Brooklyn, NY 11209
Mary Nolan, President
by Brian Kassenbrock
Director of Public Relations
COMMODORE BARRY RESEARCH PAPER
The Commodore Barry Club of Brooklyn, Inc. is pleased to announce an opportunity for undergraduate college students who are interested in researching Irish American history and the contributions of Irish Americans to the United States. The Club is calling for these students to submit a five to eight minute research paper of about one thousand words on the theme of the accomplishments of Commodore John Barry. In particular, the writer will address the problems that Barry faced in his time and how he solved them.
The contest will begin on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014 and will end on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. Entries shall be submitted electronically to the above cited website, “Contact Us” page during that time frame.
The first prize will be five hundred dollars ($500), the second prize two hundred fifty dollars ($250) and the third prize one hundred dollars ($100).
A blind jury of educators who have participated in past educational presentations will be the judges.
The prize winners will be asked to deliver their papers at ceremonies at Commodore Barry Park, located at Flushing Avenue and Navy Streets in downtown Brooklyn tentatively scheduled for 11 AM on Thursday, March 12th and to be our guests for a luncheon which will follow.
Each paper shall use the following format:
Name of Student:
Title of Paper:
Text of Paper:
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact us through the website or by phone. We look forward to receiving your submissions.
Posted by Jim on
Radio Free Eireann is heard on WBAI 99.5 FM and wbai.org on the web where
it is archived for 10 days..
This week we will be back home at Rocky Sullivan’s of Red Hook. Even before then
you can come to Rocky’s for the pizza and the best pint in New York
Rocky Sullivan’s of Red Hook, 34 Van Dyke Street in Brooklyn.
Come stop by Rocky’s for a pint and listen to the show live. Enjoy some good food and great people.
Posted by Jim on
Martin Galvin with a letter that featured in the Irish Echo in September 2014. It pertains to a planned commemoration for Tyrone republican, IRA volunteer Liam Ryan, killed by loyalists in collusion with the British state 25 years ago.
“We will have you up at the Battery for a free drink,” Liam Ryan joked, mixing Tyrone wit and Republican spirit, at my news of traveling to Dublin for weekend meetings between the Irish Northern Aid executive and Sinn Fein leadership. The same British ban used as a pretext for the Royal Ulster Constabulary murder of John Downes during their attack on a peaceful rally in Belfast, would insure that we might meet in Dublin, or Monaghan, but not in the Battery Bar in Ardboe, County Tyrone.
“Our friends have been about this last week,” he continued. It was a sort of Republican speak or code, meaning that the Royal Ulster Constabulary backed by British troopers had been patrolling heavily in the Ardboe area.
He added, “I may be back in the Bronx with you but will say more when I see you.” These words were ominous. My friend, Liam Ryan, had spent years in New York saving hard earned dollars with a dream of going home to Ardboe and buying the Battery Bar on scenic of Lough Neagh. He had married happily and was the proud father of a young son. For Liam to hint at leaving Ardboe meant that he was under serious threat which he would not talk about on a likely tapped telephone line, but would explain when we met.
I would never see him again. The following evening the crown forces which had been flooding the Ardboe area, would suddenly disappear. At closing, as Liam Ryan stood by the door, a loyalist death squad would arrive at precisely the correct time and place. Liam Ryan would be murdered as he attempted to slam the door shut and protect those patrons still inside. One of the customers would also be killed by a rifle powerful enough to permanently scar the structure.
There would be little doubt that British patrols had help pick and pinpoint Liam Ryan for death. It was taken for granted that the British had shepherded and shielded the arrival and escape of the murder gang. The RUC eventually arrived, smug smiles belying any pretense of sympathy.
My friend had been murdered. His son would grow up without a father; his wife was heartbroken, his parents, brothers and sisters devastated.
Many in New York and beyond shared their sorrow. He had lived at 3805 Review Place in the Bronx, was a member of Clan Na Gael, supporter of Irish Northern Aid, Con Ed employee, frequent visitor to Gaelic Park and involved with many Tyrone groups. He became an American citizen but never forgot Ireland or his hopes that one day his native Tyrone would enjoy the same freedom and economic opportunities that he had found in America.
An Independent Republican Commemoration is being organized by Liam Ryan’s family in Ardboe, County Tyrone for November 29, 2014, the twenty-fifth anniversary of his murder. We have been asked to organize short video interviews with many of those who knew and remember him, to be played in Ardboe as part of the commemoration.
Anyone wishing to participate should call 718-324-8726.
Posted by Jim on October 10, 2014
The Albany LAOH and AOH present The 2014 Freedom For All Ireland Night
Saturday November 15, 2014 – 6:00 pm
375 Ontario Street
Albany, NY 12208
Guest of Honor and Winner of the 2014 Father Murphy Award
AOH National Immigration Chair
Music by Rakish Paddy and Friends
Ticket price $20.00
Raffles ~ Food ~ Prizes
Music Sponsored by Irish 2000 Music and Arts Festival
Freedom For All Ireland (FFAI) is a National AOH/LAOH initiative that promotes One Island, One Ireland with peace, justice and equality for all.
Proceeds raised by this event are donated to over thirteen worthy charities/causes throughout the North of Ireland.
Posted by Jim on
Sunday November 16, 2014
4:00pm to 8:00pm
St. Patrick’s Church Auditorium
enter thru 97th St. and 4th Ave.
Music by Frank Keegan Band and Mary G.
Tea * Coffee * Beer * Irish Soda Bread
Set Ups Provided B.Y.O.B.
Mary Nolan – (718) 833-3405
Mary Lennon – (917) 520-2868
Tickets $25.00 per person
Posted by Jim on
Annual Dinner Dance will be held Sunday Nov. 23rd
Rory Dolans Restaurant located at 890 McLean Ave. from 3:00pm to 7:00pm
Tickets are $60.00
James Burke – NY State AOH President
Fr. Brian McCarthy – Bronx County Board Chaplain
John Dunleavy – Past Chairman St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee
For more information on Dance or Journal Ads contact Bob Nolan at nolanbxbp@Hotmail.com
Posted by Jim on October 5, 2014
The Gramercy House, a new pub in the location formerly The Copper Door, presents the Gramercy House Seisiun, NYC’s newest Irish traditional seisiun. It kicked off on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 and will continue weekly every Wednesday at 7pm.
Open to ALL musicians/singers and/or folks who may just want to listen, they plan to feature some of NY’s best trad Irish musicians.
Opening night featured John Walsh (guitar), Andrew McCarrick (flute) and Denny McCarthy (fiddle) of Jameson’s Revenge.
To keep up to date on upcoming seisiuns, join the Gramecy Seisiun group on facebook.
The Gramercy Ale House
272 Third Ave. (between 21st & 22nd St.)
New York, NY
Posted by Jim on October 2, 2014
Thursday, October 2nd Marty Golden will host another Super Storm Sandy Recovery Town Hall at 7 pm at PS 277 at 2529 Gerritsen Avenue.
Monday, October 6th from 1 pm to 3 pm MTA will bring their MetroCard Van to Senator Golden’s office at 7408 5th Avenue.
Coney Island Hospital and I will provide free flu shots from 11 am to 3 pm ont he following days:
Tuesday, October 7th at Our Lady of Grace at 435 Avenue W.
Thursday, October 9th at the Bay Ridge Manor at 476 76th Street.
Friday, October 17th at the Carmine Carro Community Center at 3000 Fillmore Avenue.
Call my office at 718-238-6044 for an appointment.
I look forward to hosting a Free Shredding Truck from 11 am – 1 pm at my offices on:
Saturday, October 18th at my district office at 7408 5th Avenue.
Sunday, October 19th at my satellite office at 3604 Quentin Road.
Residents are invited to bring as many personal documents as they wish to shred.
Friday, October 24th I will host Build It Back customer service representatives at the A.O.H. Hall Baile na nGael at 2750 Gerritsen Avenue from 12 pm to 8 pm to answer questions from those recovering from Super Storm Sandy.
Thursday, October 30th at 9:30 am will be my Annual Veterans Day Breakfast and Awards Celebration at the Bay Ridge Manor. Call Anthony Testaverde at 718-238-6044 to RSVP.
Friday, October 31st from 3:30 pm to 9 pm will be my Annual Haunted Halloween Walk and Fairy Tale Forest in Owls Head Park at 67th Street and Colonial Road.
For questions, to make an appointment or to reserve a space,
call my office
at 718-238-6044 or email me at email@example.com.
Posted by Jim on September 10, 2014
When 9/11 arrives, remember the living
They sacrificed their health. Photo by MATT MOYER
BY Richard Alles , James Slevin
In a little more than a week, we will mark the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Here in New York, the names of those killed in the attacks will be read aloud by their family members, friends and coworkers. Across the country, Americans will gather at memorials to honor the memories of those who died.
As a nation, we rightly resolved to never forget the attacks. But the truth is, we haven’t entirely kept that promise.
What many Americans may not know is that as the nation recovered, a public health disaster was just beginning to unfold. Thousands are sick because of the attacks, as well as the rescue and recovery operations that continued for months afterward.
In the days approaching this Sept. 11 and on the day itself, we ask Americans to remember all the victims of that terrible day — those who lost their lives, and the thousands of living victims who are sick and dying from illnesses and injuries, some of which have taken years to fully manifest.
We all know the outlines of the story. After 9/11, Americans from all 50 states rushed to Ground Zero to help in any way they could. Thousands of people worked in extremely hazardous conditions, often without proper protective equipment.
As they labored, the site smoldered, and rescue and recovery workers breathed in a toxic stew of chemicals, asbestos, pulverized cement and other health hazards released into the air when the towers fell.
The dust cloud that so unforgettably rolled through lower Manhattan after the attacks settled in homes, offices, buildings and elsewhere — exposing tens of thousands more to the same toxins.
Thirteen years later, more than 30,000 9/11 responders, as well as survivors of the attacks and area residents and workers, have an illness or injury caused by the attacks or their aftermath, and over two-thirds of those have more than one illness.
Many are disabled and can no longer work. They are suffering from a host of chronic diseases: asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease, to name but a few.
Medical research has identified more than 60 types of cancer caused by 9/11 toxins. At least 2,800 people have been diagnosed with cancers caused or made worse by the aftermath of the attacks, a number that is sure to grow in the years to come.
More than 800 New York Fire Department members and more than 550 New York Police Department personnel are struggling with serious 9/11-related illnesses, many of them cancers, and have had to retire from their jobs for health reasons.
That is in addition to the more than 70 firefighters and 60 NYPD officers who have died from their 9/11-related illnesses.
Memorials and monuments to our losses continue to be built across the country in Arizona, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey and elsewhere. This outpouring of commemoration — not just in metal and stone, but in solemn ceremonies and prayer vigils, stair climbs and other events — is important to the American spirit. It is a source of comfort for those who lost loved ones and shows that the nation truly remembers those who lost their lives.
But sadly, there is still little mention that 9/11 is, on a daily basis, impacting the health of thousands of living Americans every day. That needs to change.
This Sept. 11, as Americans gather to honor and remember those who lost their lives that day, we are calling on the organizers of these memorials — governors, mayors, city councils and neighborhood and civic groups throughout America — to recognize the living victims of the attacks as well.
As your town or neighborhood holds a 9/11 remembrance, we hope you will remember and mention the thousands who struggle every day with illnesses or injuries caused by the attacks. These heroes need your support, too.
Alles is national legislative director with the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. Slevin is vice president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. Both are members of the 9/11 Health Watch board of directors .
We shall never forget
We shall keep this day,
We shall keep the events and the tears
In our minds, our memory and our hearts
and take them with us as we carry on.
Posted by Jim on August 25, 2014
AOH member has advised us that their timeshare is for sale or rent in Mystic Dune 5 Star Resort. The two bedroom condo sits on PGA alternate Golf course with screened in porch opening on course. The Resort is 10 mins. away from Disney Gate and Universal. Condo can sleep 8, has full Kitchen, washer/dryer, dinning room, huge living room with big screen TV, Master Suite has separate bath with whirlpool tub. Resort has 5 pools, offers miniature golf, basketball, tennis and fitness center. Country Club has fully stocked Pro-Shop, light snacks and sandwiches, full Restaurant offering 5 Star menu and Conference and Banquet Hall. The cost to buy Deeded Condo is $11,000.00 per Unit. The cost to rent is $1,000.00 per Unit per week. Anyone wishing more information on these properties contact Jim@BrooklynIrish for forwarding info.
Posted by Jim on April 30, 2014
Residents of a quiet Antrim seaside village have used the 83rd anniversary of the sectarian murder of three local men to call on the British government to apologise for its role in the slaughter.
On June 23, 1922, a British army and Special Police battalion entered Cushendall, singled out three young nationalists and dragged them up an alley, where they were shot dead.
The murders of John Gore, John Hill and James McAllister were in reprisal for the IRA murder the previous day of Field Marshal Henry Wilson — the man who ordered the pogroms against Northern Catholics throughout the early 1920s.
Wilson was shot dead in London by the republicans Reggie Dunne and Joseph O’Sullivan, who had served in the British army during World War I. Both men were later hanged.
A subsequent British government inquiry into the Cushendall killings dismissed claims from soldiers and police that they had been fired upon first.
The English official FT Barrington-Ward, who headed the investigation, concluded: “No one except the police and military ever fired at all.”
Medical reports revealed powder burns on the dead bodies, indicating the victims had been shot from close range.
However, the then Northern unionist government, led by Ulster Unionist James Craig, rejected the findings and held its own inquiry into the shootings.
The Northern government dismissed all the evidence given by residents of Cushendall implicating the British army and police and accepted the soldiers’ claims that they had been fired upon first.
After the killings, Britain’s Liberal government — at the behest of TP O’Connor, the Westmeath-born MP for Liverpool — threatened to publish the findings of Barrington-Ward’s inquiry.
However, the Liberals were replaced at the next election by the Conservative Party, which was more sympathetic to the Ulster Unionist administration.
One of the first acts carried out by the new Tory government was to place the details of the Barrington-Ward inquiry under the Official Secrets Act, barring it from view for 50 years.
Historian Michael Farrell best explains the cover-up in his book Arming the Protestants.
He writes: “O’Connor was told that the British government had commissioned the report only because British troops had been involved.
“The Northern government showed no concern to discipline its forces and stamp out reprisals and seemed oblivious to the effect this must have on the Catholic population. The British coalition government made only a very feeble effort to get Craig’s government to take action. Their Conservative successors did nothing at all.”
Barrington-Ward’s report was again due to be made public in 1972 but publication was delayed for a further 25 years because of the Troubles.
It was not until 1997 that the people of Cushendall became fully aware of the horror that had occurred in the village on June 23, 1922.
Sinn Féin councillor Oliver McMullan has led the calls for the British government to apologise for its role in the three murders.
He said: “These were innocent men killed by British troops in cold blood.
“The British government’s own inquiry ruled that the only people to open fire in Cushendall that night had been the military.
“If the then Northern government was satisfied that the soldiers had been fired upon first, why were the circumstances surrounding the shootings covered up for 75 years?
“The people of this village are owed an apology.”
Relatives of John Gore, John Hill and James McAllister still live in the north Antrim area, as do the families of two other men wounded on the night, Danny O’Loan and John McCollum.
Two Cushendall men whom the Special Police falsely accused of opening fire on the military and prompting the murders were forced to flee to the United States, fearing for their lives.
Several other nationalists in the village, including Oliver McMullan’s grandfather, were threatened by the Special Police with death.
Mr McMullan said a British government apology would go some way to lifting the shadow of the murders that has hung over his village for close to a century.
He said: “A few years ago, locals clubbed together and put up a plaque commemorating the lives of John Hill, John Gore and James McAllister.
“Their needless deaths are something we always have in the back of our minds.
“It was certainly the biggest sectarian murder ever to occur in Cushendall and one of the worst in the Glens area.
“An apology won’t bring them back but it at least will give some comfort to the families of those murdered.
“The British government should recognise the role its forces played in what were nothing more than sectarian state killings.”
Posted by Jim on March 28, 2014
Below is an article by SF MLA Gerry Kelly on “the new beginning to policing…fair and impartial, free from partisan political control”. Interesting, Mr Kelly, since the majority of arrests, incarcerations and interments without trial has been due to the PSNI/RUC’s relentless pursuit of republicans on alleged offences dating back to the troubles post Good Friday Agreement. Mr. Kelly goes on to say…”with the PSNI replacing the RUC in 2001”. Did you say, “Replacing the RUC”? Don’t you mean replacing the RUC’s name with the name PSNI in order to protect the guilty? This may be an old cliché, but it still holds true – ‘a rose by any other name is still a rose’ Mr. Kelly.
“The GFA, which created the political architecture to facilitate a peaceful and democratic path to the re-unification of our country”…Mr. Kelly, there is nothing “democratic” about republicans still being pursued, arrested and interned without trial. The illegal detention of Marian Price, Martin Corey, Stephen Murney and the highly publicized arrest, trial and incarceration of Gerry McGeough on 32 year old charges to name a few, was far from democratic. In fact, it was down right undemocratic and it happened on Sinn Fein’s watch, as they were now part of the “new policing structures and accountability in the last 6 years”.
While Mr. Kelly’s article below practically applauds the PSNI/RUC and suggest we here in America should embrace them with open arms, the PSNI/RUC continue their relentlessly pursuit of republicans while the security forces are left unscathed, unprosecuted and protected by the British government, DUP and Sinn Fein in spite of the part they played in the murder of innocent Catholics through acts of collusion with loyalist death squads during the same time period as those republicans who have been or are being arrested right now on alleged offenses dating as far back as 1972.
Mr. Kelly says that “Given such a scenario, protests against joint PSNI-GARDA participation in an event such as the St. Patrick’s Day parade-a manifestation of Irishness and Irish culture-is unwarranted and has been met with a degree of surprise and nonchalance by the nationalist and republican community in the North of Ireland. Oh, really? If that was truly the case, Mr. Kelly, you wouldn’t have taken the time out of your busy day to write this article and have it distributed throughout America by Friends of Sinn Fein USA if you really believed that. Secondly, no one protested the GARDA. They protested the PSNI/RUC.
In reading this article over a few times, I believe I am starting to understand the real reason behind why Mr. Kelly wrote this article in the first place. It certainly wasn’t to tell us that “the protests were met with a degree of nonchalance in the north”. No, there is more to it. Reasoning tells me that the PSNI/RUC invite by the parade committee and the tweets by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness supporting the PSNI/RUC marching in the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade ignited a rather large flame under the majority of Irish-Americans who support the cause of Ireland’s self-determination and were outraged by this stunt.
You see, prior to the PSNI/RUC marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade and post GFA, the media, the British government, and now Sinn Fein, have been able to demonize those who think and speak outside the box. Good people, with good intentions, who have been involved in the cause of Irish freedom and the re-unification of Ireland for more than 20-30 years, who dare to question, criticize or challenge some of Sinn Fein’s policies are labeled “dissidents”. A buzz word deliberately used to most likely alienate them from the heard. However, this time, Sinn Fein can’t label us ALL dissidents because too many of us, from all different Irish-American groups, including solid supporters of Sinn Fein, spoke out in protest against the PSNI/RUC marching in an Irish Catholic parade. Therefore, Sinn Fein is now trying to explain away why they supported the invite to begin with and I see this article as nothing more than a form of “damage-control” and trying to keep us Irish-Americans in our place.
Posted by Jim on March 12, 2014
We Only Want the Earth
“Be moderate,” the trimmers cry,
Who dread the tyrants’ thunder.
“You ask too much and people By
From you aghast in wonder.”
‘Tis passing strange, for I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most moderate are,
We only want the earth.
Our masters all a godly crew,
Whose hearts throb for the poor,
Their sympathies assure us, too,
If our demands were fewer.
Most generous souls! But please observe,
What they enjoy from birth
Is all we ever had the nerve
To ask, that is, the earth.
The “labor fakir” full of guile,
Base doctrine ever preaches,
And whilst he bleeds the rank and file
Tame moderation teaches.
Yet, in despite, we’ll see the day
When, with sword in its girth,
Labor shall march in war array
To realize its own, the earth.
Posted by Jim on January 28, 2014
Just before he died, Daniel Cassidy released a pioneering book that begins to prove how American slang has a root in the Irish American urban experience.
As usual, snoots would rather fall on the side of error than to end the kibosh on ascribing Irish origins to any aspect of Anglo-American society.
Ireland has a native civilization older than England or France, and it has out-proportioned contributions to modernist culture, but it is more usually described as derivative rather than an originator of trends. Despite stubborn refusal, “jazz” and “poker”, “moolah” and “spunk” all derive from Irish Gaelic, which was used in New York by the Irish like Yiddish and Spanglish was used later-on in the city.
Some dismiss these theories without any real understanding of the Irish Gaelic language. They existentially must disallow the language had mixed with English – jerks without the knack to dig it. Others dismiss the theories in loyalty to academia’s wine and cheese status quo, and don’t wish to seem too maverick, or too “street,” like Cassidy who had an unabashed Brooklyn accent. There’s an element of snobbery involved in the outright refusal many swells have for this working stiff’s tome.
Cassidy was among those who have begun to case the hidden history, anyway, and show how gambling slang, underworld lingo, street gang terms, street-wise cant, merchant code and political jargon in New York City is teeming with Irish Gaelic that melted into American English.
Fellow politically-minded academics present English history and culture as being spic and span of Irish influence, and so ignore impulsively, both Irish American slang-smiths in the modern period and Irish Gaelic teachers who taught the early Medieval English how to read and write. They prefer to label Irish words in English as unknown, or originated in more swank cultures like Latin or French. It’s basic prejudice on the side of the common hegemony, rooted in ignorance.
This is a small taste compiled from Daniel Cassidy’s boss book, “How the Irish Invented Slang”, and from Niall Ó Donaill’s “Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla”.
We don’t normally exclaim “Gee whiz” or “Gee whilikers” anymore. We associate such talk with a classic time in New York, when Irish Gaelic was the secret language of the slums, an Irish Gaelic word which means ‘s slom é, or “it’s bleak.” In the slums it was common to hear Irish people say Dia Thoilleachas, Gee Hillukus, which became Gee Whilikers, and means the “will of God.” “Gee” is the approximate pronunciation of Dia, or the Irish word for God. “Holy cow” means Holy Cathú or Holy Cahoo or Holy Grief. “Darn” is another Gaelic exclamation. In Irish you say daithairne ort, which means, “darn on you” or “misfortune on you.” Gee whiz comes from Dia Uas or Geeuh Woous which means “noble god.”
Irish love words were once all over pop songs pumped out from Tin Pan Alley. “Mother Macree”, or mother of my heart, was a huge hit from those early days of pop. A big name in early popular theater, was Irishman Dion Boucicault who wrote ‘The Streets of New York”, and included lots of Gaelic in the titles and dialogue of his blockbusters.
Irish pet names like peata, or pet, are still current, as is báb or bawb, which is babe today.
Love songs were published as sheet music for people to sing to at the piano, and it was commonplace to hear Irish pet names like Avourneen, Mavourneen, Acushla, Agrah and other lovely words like that
The Irish were pioneers in pop culture, and they littered American popular entertainment from Mother Macree to Huckleberrry Finn with snippets of their language.
If you want to cully support, you’re calling on your cuallaí, or friends to help you. In modern Irish, collaí has the sense of being carnal or sexual.
If you want to gather people together you make a ballyhoo about the gathering, which in Irish is bailliú, and pronounced like ballyhoo. You might use a slogan in your ballyhoo to promote the gathering, as slogan comes from slua ghairm, the yell of a crowd or a battle-cry. Ballyhoo entered the language at the circus, where Irish people would use slogans to make ballyhoo about a new show everyone should come out and see. Buddy is another Irish Gaelic word, which comes from the Irish expression, a vuddy, or a bhodaigh, which means something like “pal.” The root of the word bhodaigh is strangely, bod, which is the Irish word for penis, and pronounced like bud.
Speaking of body parts, the Irish put their Gaelic mark all over the stiff, or corpse, which comes from the word staf or “big guy.” If someone has their snoot in the air, they’re acting like snoots, which comes from the Irish expression snua aird or when someone appears to be on high, and is acting like a swank swell with his nose in the air.
Swank is the Irish word somhaoineach or “valuable” in disguise. Swell is the word sóúil or “luxurious” dolled up to suit the English speaker. If you kick a rich guy in the can, you’re kicking him in his ceann which is the “extremity” of a thing, and also “head,” which is at the other end from the tail end.
Dogs comes from do chos your feet. The vulgar word for the vagina, pussy, isn’t so bad, it just means pus or pouty lips in Irish Gaelic. It’s a descriptive term, and not insulting. Mug, however, is insulting, and the common phrase “ugly mug” comes from the word muic, which means pig.
Irish Gaelic was a secret language in Éire, which was once an Ireland riddled with foreign spies, and so it was a language to keep the copper (the catcher, the thinker) from catching on. Cop comes from ceapaim, and means “I catch, think etc.” You try to keep the cop from figuring out your racket, or your reacaireacht, your “dealing, selling or gossiping.”
Just like the word bailiff came from the Gaelic word baille for bally or homevillage, the word in New York for the cop on the beat, was the ceap on the béad, the protector on ill-deeds.
Another kind of Big Shot is the racketeer, who can be a cop or a goon – glommers collecting grift – official or underworld. There’s little difference when you boil it down between official thieves and illegal ones, and the Irish knew this, observing the most organized acts of criminality enacted by a dolled up British state, exploiting and criminalizing their own civilization. Big Shot is the Irish word for chief in disguise: seoid, meaning “jewel” or figuratively, “chief.”
Racketeer is also related to the Irish word reachtaire which was the title for the money-taking administrator at a colonial big house or at a church office back in Ireland. On the streets of New York, the racketeer has translated the duties and strategies of the colonizer into street crime rackets for himself–the oppressed learn the methods of oppression better than anyone.
A word that should be brought back is “joint” for place or establishment or room. It’s a word that instantly conjures an entire world of old New York. It comes from the Irish word for protection or shelter, a place with a roof, such as in the root of the Irish word for penthouse, díonteach or jeent-ock.
If you want to ditch a joint, and skedaddle in a jiffy, because some dick has copped on to your whereabouts, you want to de áit a díonteach or de-place a joint, and sciord ar dólámh or make an all out slip in a deifir in a “hurry,” because some dearc or “eye” or PI, has ceaptha or thought or caught on to your whereabouts.
Eugene O’Neill was another huge name in early American pop culture. His plays were also high art, but riddled with Irish themes and language. His favorite word for money was jack, which is a straight-up glom from the Irish tiach, or money or purse. A guy with a jack-roll, was a guy with a wad of cash, spoondoolies or dollars, rolled up. Spoondoolie is one of those old slang words that got resurrected recently in video games, along with Simolions, the currency of Sim City, an urban planning computer fantasy. They’re weird English takes on Irish Gaelic expression for a big pile of money or suim oll amháin.
Not everyone is hip to the process where words in one language get misheard and pronounced differently in the new language. In Irish if you want make sure someone understands your meaning, you say, Diggin tú? It’s a normal phrase you hear at the end of sentences all the time. In America, An duigeann tú? Became Diggin you? or You dig? It takes a certain knack to understand how closely related the concepts and sounds of tuig and dig are to each other.
Most scholars go by their goofy hunch, that tells them that Irish Gaelic is some dead language no one ever spoke. In fact, it was the first language of most Irish Americans that came here in the big flood of Irish after the famine, when that famine adversely targeted Irish-speaking areas first and foremost, sending Irish speakers to America before anyone.
In the anti-Gaelic mind, Irish language is a queer idea, and way too vast a thing to even engage – easier to kill it than to incorporate it into an academic’s repertoire of reference. The academic makes this decision usually because he or she is already burdened with three centuries of censorious English state propaganda about the meaning and origin of Anglo-American civilization, which did not come about like their poets’ tell us it did.
Another reason Irish Gaelic is neglected as an original source for American slang, is because a lot of the street slang that the Irish made up, relates to a world of vice and crime, some Irish would prefer did not exist.
There is shame associated with the destruction of native Irish Gaelic civilization, because the Irish lost their literature and institutions with the victory of the British Empire over their native government. They were impoverished, and took up crime in some instances. The Irish share with Black people and Jews, an urban legacy in America that is not squeaky clean, but rather dirty, like life is dirty when you have no money.
Having street smarts is one way to look at the world realistically, and not be duped by those who would double cross you to take your jag on the personal level or your natural resources on the imperial one. Those who first come to the city as hicks or boobs, come with the law of hospitality firmly entrenched in their hearts, only to awaken from such kindness by the cruelty of urban America. It’s dangerous to be a dork or ninny in the dog eat dog world. That’s why there are so many words for the person-preconditioning, the person before he develops the cop-on that accompanies an ambitious life post-nincumpoop to make it in New York.
One way to wake up is to get slugged in the face and have your jag jacked. The Fighting Irish is a common aptronym that describes the occupation of many a brawler that had to whale on an opponent to survive or climb the ladder leading out of the rat race.
As an organized people, they were sparring with the much better organized establishment. The Irish bickered with the WASP elite until the established order in New York broke down, reformed the sweatshop system of labor in Victorian Anglo-American society, and conceded to the unions and political machines the rights and benefits that created the middle class from the working class that the establishment would have been happy to see slaving away in sweatshops to this day. Instead, the Irish organized and fought for a conception of America that yielded working people an American Dream, a chance to climb out of the slum and into a middle class job and lifestyle.
Lace curtain Irish is a term that describes the middle class Irish who climbed out of the slum into the spic and span homes of the American dream. They left behind a time in American cities when the Irish were smack dab in the middle of street life, theater, pop entertainment and politics. The swells from the WASP tradition who owned the banks and institutions of American society tried everything to defame and prevent the Irish from joining their swank ranks, but that ended, or so the story goes, when JFK broke the barrier that separated the WASP from the Irish, and went from Harvard to the White House, key bastions of the establishment’s institutional power.
One of the ways the Irish got there was by giving up their jazzy speech for the snazzy touch that remade them into crackers and honkies. Although it’s commonplace to describe the Irish today as white establishment members, par excellence, they come from Irish Gaelic roots that put them in the middle of New York street life. We’re comfortable enough now where we can re-engage that original condition, and reclaim for ourselves a key position in the history of American pop entertainment, language and culture.
Taken from the article originally published in 2010.
Posted by Jim on January 10, 2014
Tuesday, January 21st
At 7:00 p.m., we’re kicking off a new
Irish language beginners’ class
then a new,
more advanced class
takes over at 8:00 p.m., to be followed by our
set dancing class at 9:00 p.m.
and our weekly trad seisiun at 10:00 p.m.
34 Van Dyke Street (at Dwight Street) Brooklyn, NY
Posted by Jim on December 17, 2013
113-117 Donegal Street
Belfast, Northern Ireland
BTI 2GE November 28, 2013
BELATED TRUTH ON MRF
Fergal Hallahan was more right than he imagines (25th November) about the derision accorded anyone with the temerity to accuse Britain of deploying a Military Reaction Force of plain-clothes British troopers who gunned down unarmed nationalists using non-military weapons.
During my years as both editor of the IRISH PEOPLE weekly American newspaper and National Director of Irish Northern Aid, I was tasked with presenting such facts to the American public and especially Congressmen.
The contention we Republicans repeatedly made was that the crown had sent out the MRF, and later wiped British fingerprints from their killings by shifting from the MRF to having the shots fired by loyalist proxies. This tactic had obvious advantages, including avoiding British Army casualties like those inflicted by the IRA at the Four Square Laundry. It allowed the British plausible deniability. Collusion in murders carried out by loyalists could be denied outright or blamed on a cadre of crown force bad apples, no matter how much targeting intelligence, agent control or safe passage the British had supplied.
Britain’s answer to these charges never changed. British officials would declare, self-righteously that “Her Majesty’s government” would never stoop to deploy such a unit. The British Army “yellow card” rules were sacrosanct, they scoffed, and this code was rigorously applied whenever British troopers opened fire. These sanctimonious British denials were believed by the public, politicians and journalists to the extent that this hand-picked death squad remained largely unknown to the public.
Panorama’s programme,”Britain’s Secret Terror Force” proves that Republicans were right about Britain’s deployment of a terror force, the MRF. It proves that those high-ranking British officials who denied that the crown would stoop to such tactics were either deliberately misled by the crown or deliberately misleading others on the crown’s behalf. Members of this British terror squad have no worries that they will face justice for killing unarmed Irish civilians like Daniel Rooney or Patrick McVeigh. They freely boast of their misdeeds, for the television cameras, confident that they enjoy a selective immunity and impunity, not granted Republicans like Gerry McGeough, Seamus Kearney or John Downey.
We Republicans were right about the MRF and just as right about Britain’s tactical shift from the MRF terror force to doing their ‘dirty war’ work through loyalist proxies. Must we await another Panorama documentary before people face the facts about Britain’s complicity with loyalist killers in collusion murders? Must we wait to see members of British forces who directed collusion murders congratulating themselves in televised interviews?
Slan, MARTIN GALVIN
Posted by Jim on November 15, 2013
Although Irishtown had been known as Brooklyn’s most recognizable, infamous waterfront neighborhood for Irish immigrants in the mid 1800s, it was the city’s long waterfront property that stretched both north and south of Irishtown that was heavily settled by the Famine Irish. In truth, Irishtown could only be seen as the capital amidst the long stretch of Brooklyn waterfront neighborhoods facing the East River and Manhattan.
By the census year of 1855, the Irish already made up the largest foreign-born group in New York. This constituted a dramatic shift in the ethnic landscape of Brooklyn. In just ten years, the amount of Irish-born inhabitants had jumped from a minimal amount, to 56,753. Out of a total population in Brooklyn of 205,250, its newly arrived Irish-born inhabitants made up about 27.5%.
The impact of such a large amount of immigrants in a short period of time may be difficult to imagine, but it must be remembered that these newly-arrived were not only all from one ethnic background, but they were also terribly destitute, bony from intense starvation, malnourished, disease-ridden, uneducated and untrained people that came from an outdated medieval agrarian community. On top of all of this, at least half of them did not speak English and instead spoke Gaelic and were landing in a culture that was traditionally hostile to their form of religion: Catholicism.
Famous sketch from the 1840s of an Irish mother digging with her children desperately to yield a crop in time to save their lives.
The Great Hunger in Ireland of 1845-1852, or what is commonly, if not erroneously called the “Potato Famine,” caused over 1.5 million (if not more) Irish tenant farmers to flee for lack of food.
“Few newcomers had the resources to go beyond New York and therefore stayed for negative reasons,” said Ronald H. Bayor and Thomas J. Meaghan in their book, The New York Irish. “Most… had no other options… The best capitalized Irish immigrants were those who did not linger in New York, but went elsewhere, making New York and other harbor cities somewhat atypical of the rest of Irish America.”
The waterfront neighborhoods of antebellum Brooklyn was such a place. These neighborhoods of mostly English Protestants and old Dutch aristocracy were quickly overwhelmed by these Catholic “invaders” crippled by diseases, starving and with a legacy of rebelliousness, secrecy, violence and faction fighting within their fiercely communal cooperations. In short, these great numbers of Brooklyn immigrants were in no way interested in assimilating into the incumbent Anglo-Protestant culture.
Since 1825 and the opening of the Erie Canal, Brooklyn had begun to boom as the New York Ports along the Hudson and East Rivers now had access to the great and rising cities in the midwest and beyond.
A color drawing from 1855 looking west toward Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. Just beyond it in the area that looks shaded was “Irishtown.” The New York Times described it in an 1866 editorial thusly, “Here homeless and vagabond children, ragged and dirty, wander about.”
Soon, New York become the busiest port city in the world. There was labor work to be had in Brooklyn, in the manufacturing and loading and unloading of goods to be sent around the country and around the world.
Brooklyn was broken down into wards at that time, and although much of the population lived along the waterfront, there were plenty of other neighborhoods inland that were heavily populated by the English and Dutch before the Great Hunger. But the newly arrived Irish immigrants did not go inland, they stayed along the waterfront where the labor and longshoremen jobs were.
One neighborhood in particular gained fame, though it is not as much known today as it was then:
The Fifth Ward from an 1855 Fire Insurance Map, where Brooklyn’s Irishtown is located by the Navy Yard. It was called Vinegar Hill (from the 1798 rebellion in Ireland) even before the Great Hunger.
Located in the old Fifth Ward, Brooklyn’s Irishtown never gained the kind of infamous popularity that Manhattan’s Five Points garnered (as I previously wrote about in Code of Silence), it was nonetheless the center of the immigrant, working class slums and the brawling, closed-off culture of the wild Irish.
Located on one side next to Brooklyn’s Navy Yard that built ships and on the other side with the ferry companies connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan across the East River, Irishtown was centrally located.
Although Irishtown was the face of Brooklyn’s Irish community, it did not even have the distinction of having the most amount of Irish-born (which exclude American born of Irish stock) in it during the 1855 census. The dock and pier neighborhoods of Brooklyn were not just in the Fifth Ward, they were spread from the waterfront in Williamsburg north of Wallabout Bay all the way down to Red Hook and the Gowanus Canal.
During this time, there are three other wards that outnumber Irishtown in total Irish-born of the 1855 census. Cobble Hill, the Fulton Ferry Landing and southeast of the Navy Yard, north of Fort Greene Park. The brownstones of Brooklyn Heights are still considered mansions for the rich Brooklyn landowners at this time, but later will be divided and subdivided for the working class Irish.
The densest area of Irish-born is obviously from the Navy Yard, both inland and on the water to the Fulton Ferry Landing, but surprising numbers existed in the north along the Williamsburg waterfront and south in Cobble Hill, Red Hook and the Gowanus Canal. In fact, 47.7% of the total population of Red Hook in 1855 is Irish-born.
- *Census for the State of New York for 1855 (Ward#, area, Irish-born residents)
- Ward 1 (Brooklyn Heights 2,227)
- Ward 2 (now known as DUMBO 2,967)
- Ward 3 (East of Brooklyn Heights 1,964)
- Ward 4 (south of DUMBO 2,440)
- Ward 5 (Irishtown 5,629)
- Ward 6 (Fulton Ferry Landing 6,463)
- Ward 7 (Southeast of Navy Yard, north of Fort Greene Park 6,471)
- Ward 8 (Gowanus 1,717)
- Ward 10 (East of Cobble Hill 6,690)
- Ward 11 (West of Ft. Greene Park, south of Irishtown 4,985)
- Ward 12 (Red Hook 3,332)
- Ward 13 (East of Navy Yard where current Williamsburg Bridge is 2,036)
- Ward 14 (North of Williamsburg Bridge along waterfront 4,314)
- In these wards, Irish-born constituted 32% of Brooklyn’s total population
In fact it is Brooklyn’s most famous Irish-American toughs, the White Hand Gang that originated not in Irishtown, but in and around Warren Street in Cobble Hill and Red Hook at the beginning of the 20th Century.
So, it is right to assume that masses of Famine Irish landed and settled around the more famous neighborhood of Brooklyn’s Irishtown, but it is the general waterfront area from Williamsburg down to Gowanus, in the pier neighborhoods of the fastest growing port and industrial areas of the city where the majority of them settled. In fact, of the 56,753 Irish-born in Brooklyn in 1855, about 51,000 of them lived in the waterfront neighborhoods.
Long before Ellis Island took in immigrants, Southern Manhattan’s Battery Park did. After disembarking there, many Irish immigrants took the ferry to Brooklyn or moved from the slums of Manhattan to the Brooklyn waterfront for the jobs on the docks and piers there.
And they just kept coming, well after the famine ended. With connections in Brooklyn, Irish-born brought their extended families and friends to New York over the coming years, funding new passages to the city helping keep the Brooklyn working class Irish poor for many years to come.
By 1860, Brooklyn was the largest city in America with 279,122 residents, a large portion of which were either Irish-born or of Irish stock as it is still some years ahead of the considerable amounts of Jewish and Italian immigration to Brooklyn later in the century.
By the census of 1875, the population of Irish-born in Brooklyn jumps to 83,069. In 1880, the U.S. census, which counted both place of birth and parents’ birth place as well, estimated that one-third of all New Yorkers were of Irish parentage. By 1890 as Brooklyn neighborhoods were expanding east and south, the amount of people with Irish stock is at 196,372.
Posted by admin on June 1, 2013
Meetings to be held in the Baile na nGael on 2750 Gerritsen Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11229 on the last Monday of the month at 8:00pm unless otherwise indicated.
All County Board members and all Division Presidents and Vice Presidents are required by County By-Laws to attend County Board meetings. All Division Officers should attend and all members are invited to attend. Current Travel cards are required for entry to meetings, those, that can’t attend a meeting, should notify the County President or Vice President at least 24 hrs in advance.
County Officers are as follows:
President: John O’Farrell Div. 35
Vice President: Frank Thompson Div. 12
Recording Secretary: Steve Kiernan Div. 12
Financial Secretary: Tom Crockett Div. 35
Treasurer: Randy Litz Div. 22
Standing Committee: Mike Gaffney Div. 35
Marshall: Jim Healy Div. 12
Sentinel: Joe Glynn Div. 19
We hope that all members of the A.O.H. in Brooklyn work as tireously for this Board as they have for the past Boards.
Slainte, Jim Sullivan, Immediate Past President Kings County and N.Y. State District Director
Posted by Jim on September 22, 2011
Posted by Louise Sullivan on
Posted by Louise Sullivan on
Posted by Jim on September 21, 2011
Posted by admin on July 7, 2011
Pray for the following people and their families: The people and children who suffered with the aftermath of the Hurricane Sandy and the floods that it brought (Midland Beach, South Beach, New Dorp, Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island, Gerritsen Beach, Breezy Point, Rockaways, Broad Channel and Long Beach), the courageous people of the Short Strand section of Belfast, political prisoner Martin Corey. If anyone wants to have us remember a loved one in our prayers, contact us at Jim@BrooklynIrish.com.
Posted by admin on June 20, 2011
Division 12 Elected Officers are:
President – Kevin Mahoney
Vice- Pres. – Frank Thompson
Recording Sec’t – Steve Kiernan
Financial Sec’t – Tim O’Shea
Treasurer – Tom MacLellan
Marshall – ?
Sentinal – ?
Posted by Louise Sullivan on June 20, 2010
Posted by admin on
Have a Happy Summer. Don’t forget the Coney Island Great Irish Fair in September
President – Joanne Gundersen Div 22
Vice Pres – Judy Rose Div 22
Rec Sect – Rose Coulson Div 22
Treasurer – Mary Hogan Div 6
Historian – Katherine Keane Div19
Miss&Char – Bridie Mitchell Div 6
Cath Act – Tricia Santana Div 19
Mist Arms – Margaret McEneaney Div 19
Sentinel – Ann Marie Bendell Div 19
Posted by Louise Sullivan on