Category: Archive

Forum calling

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Irish American community leaders are looking to the spring for a forum, an event that would rekindle a series of such gatherings that go back to 1984 with just one break in 2004 when none was held.
“There has to be a forum this year. This year is as important as any in the past that we have held one,” former New York State Assemblyman John Dearie told the Echo.
Dearie, who organized the first forum in 1984, an event that attracted Democratic nominee Walter Mondale to the Bronx, said he had already been in touch with a number of presidential campaigns from both parties.
He said that a forum would be open to all candidates although he acknowledged that there would likely be fewer in the field after the slew of primaries on February 5th, so-called “tsunami Tuesday.”
Dearie, a Democrat, said organizers were inclined to hold the forum before the party conventions. That would mean sometime in the spring.
One possibility, he said, was staging it in New York City on St. Patrick’s Day when it was likely that more than one of the candidates would be in the city.
He said that it was critical that the event be a bipartisan one and to that effect the participation of Democratic congressman Joe Crowley, and Republican representative Peter King, in the organization of the event was pivotal.
Attorney Brian O’Dwyer, a veteran Democratic activist, said it was definitely the right idea to hold a forum this year.
“It’s time for us to make sure that the major candidates for the White House respond to Irish America,” O’Dwyer said.
At a forum the candidates would be asked to respond to questions covering a range of issues from Northern Ireland to better legal access to the U.S. for the Irish.
The latter issue has already been given big billing in New Hampshire where a leading member of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform caused a stir when he challenged Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney at a rally.

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