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Catholic Charities’ toy drive suffers

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Because of an outpouring of generosity toward families of World Trade Center victims, other important charities have suffered from a lack of donations, according to the Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens.

At Catholic Charities, director of communications Margaret Keaveney said that she was especially worried about the Christmas toy drive, one of the organization’s many charitable functions, which, she says, is suffering because people’s generosity has been so focused on the Sept. 11 tragedy.

“I went down into our basement where normally we would have a lot of toys, and we only have two little toys there,” Keaveney said. “[The toy drive] is one small part of what we do, but it’s very important for kids to have something to unwrap on Christmas.”

Keaveney said that in years past people have donated toys directly or have given money that they have asked to go toward buying toys for children in needy families.

Ironically, because of the economic fallout of the attacks on America, Keaveney fears that there will be even more needy families who will require assistance because parents will have lost their jobs.

“They’re indirect victims of Sept. 11: people who have lost employment, working families who are near the bottom,” Keaveney said. “We are trying to get the word out, hoping that people will respond in whatever way they can. It’s a case of people having been distracted.”

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Northern mini film fest

Two of the most powerful and violent films ever made about the Troubles in Northern Ireland will be shown Sunday, Dec. 16, at NYU’s Cantor Theater, 36 East 8th St., NYC.

“Elephant” (1989) and “Contact” (1985) were directed by acclaimed British director Alan Clarke. In “Contact” a demoralized officer leads a platoon of terrified teenaged English soldiers on patrol in Northern Ireland’s “bandit country.”

Clarke’s most controversial film, “Elephant,” is a meaningless series of sectarian murders. This rare screening was originally scheduled for New York in October 2001.

At the same venue, “The Firm” will be shown — a film about how soccer violence progressed from pure violence to a form of organized crime, to the extent that all the leaders know each other’s home phone/mobile phone numbers.

“The Firm” will be shown at 6 p.m. “Elephant” and “Contact” will follow beginning at 7:30. Tickets are $5 per show, $7 for both shows.

Mums word on FBI claim

The New York Archdiocese is mum on a report linking unnamed “Roman Catholic charities” with the Provisional IRA.

“We have no comment to make on that report,” archdiocese spokesman Joe Zwilling said.

Zwilling was referring to a New York Times report pointing to alleged links between unnamed “Roman Catholic charities” and the Provisional IRA, cited recently by U.S. officials at a symposium in the Persian Gulf state of Abu Dhabi.

U.S. officials cited prosecution of “Roman Catholic charities” tied to the IRA during the symposium at which they sought to convince Arab leaders that U.S. terrorist investigations are not being aimed solely at Muslim and Arab groups.

The allegation specifically referred to Boston-based “Roman Catholic charities,” the Echo later learned.

When contacted by the Echo about the seminar, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston asked the Echo for a copy of its most recent report about the allegation. A copy was provided but a follow-up call to the Boston archdiocese had not been returned by presstime.

INS before 245i?

Any return of immigration provision 245i might have to await the full revamping of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, according to a well-placed source.

The INS has come in for critical scrutiny since Sept. 11 and proposed legislation aimed at changing its structure and responsibilities is already before Congress.

245i would allow undocumented immigrants, Irish included, to obtain permanent residence without having to leave the U.S. and face possible bars from the country of three or 10 years.

A temporary restoration of the provision was put on hold in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack on America.

AOH Sept. 11 Remembrance

The New Jersey AOH will remember the nine members killed in the World Trade Center tragedy with a memorial High Mass on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 11 a.m. at the Pro-Cathedral, 91 Washington St., Newark. Chris Byrne of the band Seanchai will play Gaelic dirges on the uileann pipes. A reception will follow at the Hamilton Pub, 27 Central Ave., Newark. Details, Dick Cronin at (732) 721-6332.

Harvard honors Bulger

The Friends of the Harvard Celtic Studies program honored William M. Bulger, president of the University of Massachusetts, at its 6th annual Christmas banquet on Dec. 11.

The annual event raises funds for scholarly research in Celtic studies.

Philip C. Haughey, president of the Friends group, praised Bulger for his “lifelong commitment to education and for his support of Irish cultural activities in Boston.” Past recipients have included Irish poet Seamus Heaney and software developer John Cullinane.

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