Organizers of the forum, led by former Bronx assemblyman John Dearie, are offering presidential candidates a flexible roster that will likely mean as many as three forum gatherings in New York City, though another venue is not beyond the bounds of possibility.
Senator Clinton now appears poised to speak at a forum gathering in Manhattan on Wednesday, April 9.
“It’s highly probable, say eight out of ten,” Dearie said at presstime.
As it happens, April 9 will be the same day that Hillary’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, will be in Manhattan to attend an event in his honor at a midtown restaurant.
President Clinton was originally expected to travel for events in Ireland next week marking the tenth anniversary of the Good Friday agreement.
But the Irish visit has been sidelined against the backdrop of Senator Clinton’s escalating battle to win the Democratic Primary in Pennsylvania on April 22.
With both Clintons in New York on the same day there is now the possibility of both being present at both events: the forum and the Good Friday agreement celebration at Gallagher’s Steak House.
The Gallagher’s event – billed as “Irish America says thank you President Bill Clinton,” – is being sponsored by the Emerald Isle immigration Center and the Brehon Law Society.
The master of ceremonies at the Gallagher’s gathering will be attorney Brian O’Dwyer, chairman of Emerald Isle.
“We’re hoping for a big crowd because we want to show President Clinton how grateful Irish Americans are for the work he has done for Ireland,” said O’Dwyer.
That the event will draw a crowd appears to be in little doubt as it is free and open to the public.
The gathering will include what is being billed as a “special presentation” to President Clinton by Sean Crowley, president of the Brehon Law Society.
The first Irish American Presidential Forum was in 1984 and featured Democrat Walter Mondale. A second forum was held in New York in 1988 and was attended by Democrats Michael Dukakis and Al Gore. Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown turned up in 1992 while Al Gore was the sole attendee in 1996 and 2000. There was no forum held in 2004.
John Dearie said Tuesday that he was still awaiting a response from the campaigns of Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, both of whom have been invited to attend a forum and answer questions on issues of particular concern to Irish Americans in this presidential election year.