Category: Archive

Echoes of 2000

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon


The Irish Echo marks the new Millennium with a special Y2K issue. There is growing fear among Irish bar owners on Cape Cod that business might go up in smoke due to tough new anti-smoking laws. One of the suspects in the Rosemary Nelson murder is arrested in California.

Concern is growing in Northern Ireland over the failure of the IRA to begin arms decommissioning. Willie Joe Cunningham, known to many as "Mr. Donegal," is dead at 88. The future of publishers Roberts Rinehart is in doubt due to a libel case being taken in Washington, D.C., against the Sean McPhilemy book, "The Committee." Mick Moloney is the Echo’s traditional artist of the year.

The Patten Commission recommendations for reform of the RUC are presented to the force. Actor Richard Harris sounds off in disgust over the portrayal of his hometown, Limerick, in Frank McCourt’s book "Angela’s Ashes."


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The future of the power-sharing executive in Belfast is in extreme doubt as IRA fails to disarm. There are new allegations of a Bloody Sunday cover-up after it becomes known that the British government destroyed evidence, including rifles, linked to the 1972 shooting dead of 13 civilians in Derry.

The Continuity IRA is linked to a hotel bombing in County Fermanagh. The Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization sues the organizers of the New York Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and the City of New York. A federal immigration judge rules that former INLA member Malachy McAllister is British. The Provisional IRA reveals a timetable for weapons decommissioning but Unionists are expected to reject the plan. Within days the IRA backs away from the decommissioning process, the British government suspends the Belfast power-sharing assembly and reimposes direct rule.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair hold a crisis meeting in effort to prop up faltering Good Friday agreement. Peter Mandelson defends assembly suspension in Echo interview. A Long Island pub owner backs away from his threat to burn copies of "Angela’s Ashes." The New York City-based Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization loses its court case against the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers and New York City.


The condition of the ailing Cardinal John O’Connor worsens. Gerry Adams says the Good Friday peace agreement is in "tatters." Irish golfer Darren Clarke beats Tiger Woods in match play. A Belfast republican, who wants to remain anonymous, says that Beatle John Lennon offered to play a concert in Belfast for republican prisoners in 1972.

The Irish rugby team amazes its supporters, and itself, by beating Italy 60-13 at Lansdowne Road. Vice President Al Gore is the only presidential candidate to turn up at the Irish American Presidential Forum in New York. Gay groups take part in a Woodside St. Patrick’s Day march. John F. Kennedy is IE magazine’s Irish American of the 20th Century. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is the Echo’s Person of the Year. Dr. Kevin Cahill leads the 239th New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade as grand marshal.

The annual St. Patrick’s Day gathering at the White House will be Bill Clinton’s last, but it fails to produce any breakthrough in the troubled peace process. The Irish Arts Center in New York marks 25 years. The Irish rugby team stuns the French, beating them 27-25.

A new Bloody Sunday probe begins in Derry. One of the accused in the Florida gun-running trial, Siobhan Browne, enters a guilty plea. Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble barely survives a leadership vote. Seven-year-old Matthew Hillick from Westmeath arrives in New York for an operation to restore his hearing. The operation is a success.


Dublin barman David Delaney is shot dead in a bar in the Inwood section of Manhattan. The new GAA season opens at Gaelic Park in the Bronx. The first batch of Walsh Visa winners arrives in the U.S. but 12 of them are quickly sent back to Ireland. There are allegations from some visa winners that they are being assigned poor jobs with low pay. Three members of an Irish immigrant family, the Rogers family, are tragically killed in a house fire in New Jersey. Tony Blair moves to save the Good Friday agreement on its second anniversary.

The scandal over payoffs to politicians in Ireland spills onto the front pages. The Munster rugby team reaches the semifinals of the European Cup. Sonia O’Sullivan wins a road race in Scotland and suddenly there is talk of another shot at Olympic glory for the Cork runner.


New York decides to have a go in the All-Ireland football championship. A big fire rages through the heart of Woodside in Queens. The Florida gun-running trial opens.

After a brave battle against cancer, Cardinal John O’Connor dies at the age of 80. Bishop Edward Egan of Bridgeport, Conn., is tipped as his successor. The parties in the North still can’t agree on how to get the assembly up and running again. Munster stuns Toulouse and reaches Euro rugby final. Author Sean McPhilemy settles in a Washington, D.C., court in the libel suit brought against him by two Northern Ireland car dealers. McPhilemy agrees to a payment to the Prentice brothers of $1 million. Galway is the National Hurling League champion. The Famine-era replica ship Jeanie Johnston’s voyage to North America this summer is in doubt. Munster falls at last fence in the Euro rugby cup, losing to Northampton. Derry overcomes Meath to win National Football League title.

Devolved power returns to Northern Ireland after Ulster Unionists narrowly vote in favor of sitting alongside Sinn Féin. But Gerry Adams warns of troubles ahead over police reform.


The Irish soccer team arrives in the U.S. for NIKE Cup. The world of music is stunned by the sudden death of tenor Frank Patterson. A review of the Walsh Visa scheme is planned amid growing complaints. Three Irish nationals are found guilty in Florida gun-running trial.

Heavily Irish South Boston wants its share of a planned waterfront development in the city. Tara Circle is settling into its new home, Alder Manor in Yonkers.

An international team inspects IRA arms dump after the Provisionals allow them to see weapons stash. Comments by Tanaiste Mary Harney may have made obstruction trial of embattled Charles Haughey impossible because it prejudices the case against the former taoiseach. The number of Irish applicants for Schumer diversity visas has slowed to a trickle. The Irish National Caucus objects to the Vatican’s beatification of Pope Pius IX because he excommunicated the Fenians.


The Jeanie Johnston voyage to the U.S. and Canada is postponed until 2001. As the 12th of July looms, loyalist protests shut down much of Northern Ireland. Violence follows the decision to ban the Orange March along Garvaghy Road in Portadown, but the Orange Order protests in the town itself fizzle out. The U.S. Congress passes a resolution calling for full implementation of the Patten Report. The Irish government orders a new probe into the 1968 crash of the Aer Lingus plane St. Phelim. The Great Irish Fair in Coney Island is to get a new venue.

South Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger is implicated in the murder of IRA gun-runner John McIntyre, missing since 1984. Bulger is on the FBI’s "Ten Most Wanted" list. The H-Block prison outside Belfast finally closes down. An apparently ailing Charles Haughey begins testifying at the Moriarty Tribunal.


Plans to expand the subway yard beside Gaelic Park in the Bronx could imperil the future of the GAA venue. Irish Americans make themselves highly visible at the Republican Party convention in Philadelphia. The party platform makes strong pledges on Ireland.

The Cavan women are winners yet again of the New York Gaelic football championship. The website Virtual Ireland receives an apology from the Irish Times over report that it has closed down. With the summer season in full swing, Cape Cod bars are feeling the financial heat from a smoking ban. Cops in Queens hunt a suspect in sex attacks on five Irish women in the Woodside area. The Democrats convene in Los Angeles and come out with a platform statement on Ireland that many see as being weak compared with the GOP version. Two years after the bombing, the victims of Omagh are remembered.

A growing loyalist feud in Northern Ireland turns deadly. The McAllister family from Belfast continues to battle deportation at a hearing before a federal judge in New Jersey. Cops arrest a livery cab driver who may be connected to the sex-attack spree in Queens. Roisin Ryan Egenton of New York is the new Rose of Tralee. Loyalist leader Johnny Adair is sent back to prison.


John Hume is to quit the North Assembly though he plans to continue as an MP in Westminster and as a member of the European Parliament. Actor Brad Pitt blames Britain for Ireland’s Troubles in an interview published in Esquire magazine. Bertie Ahern comes to New York for a special United Nations summit and to spearhead Ireland’s effort to secure a rotating seat on the UN Security Council. Ireland draws 2-2 with Holland in a world Cup qualifier. George W. Bush pledges a strong role in Northern Ireland should he be elected president in a letter to several Irish political leaders, including the taoiseach. Kilkenny wins the All-Ireland hurling final, defeating Offaly 5-15 to 1-14.

On a visit to the U.S., the deputy first minister of the North’s assembly, Seamus Mallon, lashes out at British Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Mandelson on the issue or RUC reform. A body uncovered in Boston is believed to be a victim of mobster James "Whitey" Bulger. The idea of a "Museum of Irish America" in the nation’s capital is proposed by the Irish American Cultural Institute. Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, at the United Nations, calls for full implementation of the Patten Report on the RUC. A row is brewing in the Catskills over competing plans for an Irish theme village in East Durham.

Sonia O’Sullivan sheds years of Olympic disappointment by a winning silver in the 5,000 meters in the Sydney games. Another body linked to Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger is found in Boston as the hunt for the fugitive mobster is stepped up. Within days, Bulger is charged in absentia with no fewer than 18 murders. Kerry and Galway play to a draw in the All-Ireland football final. Both Al Gore and George W. Bush now fully back the Patten Commission report.


Pressure is again mounting against Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble. A man is wounded as gunfire rocks the bar at Gaelic Park. The British government drops extradition proceedings against the "H-Block Three" in San Francisco.

Kerry wins the All-Ireland football final by beating Galway 0-17 to 1-10. The Irish soccer team draws 1-1 with Portugal in a World Cup qualifier. Ireland secures a UN Security Council seat, beating back a challenge by Italy. Brisith Northern Secretary Peter Mandelson says that Sen. Edward Kennedy is out of touch with the North. Kennedy is behind a Senate bill calling for full implementation of the Patten Commission report, but the bill’s progress is being stymied by Sen. Jesse Helms, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. New York Gov. George Pataki intervenes to secure the future of Gaelic Park. The ground’s lease is now safe until at least 2011.

A New Jersey immigration judge grants political asylum to five members of the McAllister family but orders that Malachy McAllister be deported. All Aer Lingus transAtlantic flights are grounded in a one-day dispute involving the cabin crew.

Donegal is the New York Gaelic football champion after beating Kerry 0-12 to 0-8. Tipperary wins the hurling crown by beating Limerick 3-16 to 1-17. "Juno and the Paycock" draws enthusiastic crowds at the Gramercy Theatre in New York. Tensions mount in Belfast after leading Real IRA man Joe O’Connor is shot dead. There are allegations that the shooting was carried out by the Provisional IRA.


Sonia O’Sullivan is the surprise winner of the Dublin marathon. U2 have a new album and announce it to the world by playing outdoors in Times Square. President Clinton looks set for another Irish visit. 245i, an expired U.S. immigration law provision that allows undocumented immigrants to seek green cards while remaining in the U.S., appears to be making a comeback in the budget being debated on Capitol Hill. The country readies itself for the presidential election.

Ireland is lashed by torrential rain and there is flooding in many areas. Friends of Sinn Féin is poised to break the $4 million mark in its five years of U.S. fund-raising by virtue of a dinner in New York attended by Gerry Adams.

The U.S. appeals the granting of asylum to Bernadette McAllister and her four children. The Northern Ireland police bill becomes law despite protests from nationalists. A third presidential visit to Ireland by Bill Clinton is confirmed for December. The Real IRA faces likely tougher sanctions from the U.S. government.


The redevelopment of Croke Park is £40 million over budget. The IRA releases a statement on arms but no breakthrough is promised as the Clinton visit to Ireland nears. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern unveils the "Arrival" sculpture at the UN; the work is a tribute to the Irish diaspora. AOH leaders put pressure on New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee, demanding greater accountability. Union leader Edward J. Malloy is named the parade grand marshal for 2001. President Clinton arrives in Ireland along with Hillary and Chelsea. Attorney General Janet Reno lifts deportation proceedings against nine Irish nationals. The move is seen as being linked to the Clinton visit. George W. Bush is confirmed as the 43rd president. Irish Americans wait and see if he follows up on his campaign promises on Ireland. The loyalist feud ends as the Clintons depart Ireland. Heading back to Ireland is a handwritten episode from James Joyce’s "Ulysses," bought at Christie’s in New York by the National Gallery of Ireland for $1.4 million. Congress gives new hope to undocumented immigrants by restoring Section 245i for the first four months of 2001. The year in Ireland nears its end as it began: with uncertainty clouding the political situation in Northern Ireland.

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