In an interview in late 1994, Tara Circle’s president at the time, Ed Sheeran, said that it was easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. Since Tara’s failure to acquire King’s College in Briarcliff Manor, and particularly since his own personal bankruptcy, Sheeran has heard plenty from people blessed with wisdom born of such hindsight.
Sheeran, however, was on the playing field, driven with an enthusiasm for a project he believed would benefit not only today’s Irish Americans but generations to come. The centerpiece of this project was the effort to acquire King’s College. That effort failed, largely, we believe, because Tara simply chose the wrong place. There were, of course, some missteps, business naiveté, perhaps even some passion-clouded judgments, but mostly it was the staunch opposition within Briarcliff Manor that bled Tara’s assets dry.
This is not to say the overall management of the project didn’t leave something to be desired, as those who collectively loaned Tara $1.3 million might reasonably argue. The repayment of that money remains a liability for Tara, a liability from which the group should not be excused if the integrity of future Irish-American endeavors are to be protected.
Tara today hopes for a chance to redeem itself by acquiring Alder Manor in Yonkers, a smaller, manageable, and, quite simply, more convenient location than was King’s College. Whether it succeeds, and whether that venue is indeed viable, remains to be seen.
If Tara had been successful in its effort to acquire King’s College, it’s a safe bet to say that Sheeran, a former grand marshal of the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, would today be a hero in the New York Irish-American community. While he failed in the Tara effort, we have not uncovered any evidence to support any contention that this failure was the result of malfeasance, fraud, malicious intent or some spurious connection to Sheeran’s proposed business project in Roscommon, which never got off the ground. Indeed, in an effort to prove it had nothing to hide, Tara officers — belatedly, we must say — only recently sat down with the Echo to outline where Tara’s money was spent.
Risk-taking, a much-admired part of the American psyche, is a necessity for dream-making. For the unjustly vilified Sheeran, in particular, it has all turned into a horrible nightmare. But one can say he didn’t try.
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Sheeran’s efforts — and indeed those of Tara Circle and its supporters — bring to mind these words from Teddy Roosevelt: "Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."