By Ray O’Hanlon
Hofstra University on Long Island has been presented with the task of developing a Great Hunger curriculum for New York State public schools.
The decision to select Hofstra was confirmed this week by the State Education Department
The department has officially contacted Dr. Maureen Murphy of Hofstra’s Department of Curriculum and Teaching, requesting that her department develop the curriculum by June 30 next year.
"We’re looking forward to working with Maureen Murphy on the program," George Gregory, superintendent of social studies at the State Education Department, told the Echo.
Murphy herself expressed delight with the decision, stating that her department would immediately set about putting together the curriculum in several forms: book, internet and CD Rom.
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The formulation of the curriculum is being underwritten with $200,000 from the New York State budget. It will be applied to all grade levels from fourth grade up.
Interested parties were asked to submit proposals for drawing up the curriculum at the end of August.
The plan emerged from a law passed by New York legislators in 1996. The initial bill was drawn up by then Assemblyman — now Congressman — Joe Crowley and signed into law by Gov. George Pataki.
The move prompted considerable debate, some of it heated. This was particularly evident in an acrimonious exchange of letters between Pataki and then British Ambassador to the U.S., Sir John Kerr.
Aer Lingus Newark move
Aer Lingus has announced a route change that will mean flights from Newark now going "Express" to Dublin before continuing on to Shannon.
Return flights to Newark will originate in Shannon, fly to Dublin and from there to the New Jersey airport.
The service to Dublin operates five days a week. Wednesday and Saturday are excluded.
In recent months flights out of Newark have been landing first in Shannon.
An Aer Lingus spokesman said that the primary destinations are changed from time to time depending on demand for seats on flights to each Irish arrival point.
Up until Dec. 10, meanwhile, Aer Lingus if offering a special $298 round-trip out of Newark. Tickets must be purchased 72 hours after reservation and on or before Dec. 1.
Continental Airlines also flies to Ireland from Newark and both carriers have been clearly taking a competitive attitude towards one another over the past year.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is expected to return to the U.S. in early December. He is scheduled to appear at the Kennedy Library in Boston on Monday, Dec. 7. The following day he will be in Washington, D.C., to receive the Harriman Award for his efforts on behalf of peace in Northern Ireland. Nobel laureates John Hume and David Trimble are also due to receive the award, as is President Clinton.
Sinn Féin sources indicated that the party is looking to the Washington event as a possible opportunity to break fresh ground in the currently stalled peace process.
The sources took the view that having the various North party leaders under one roof with President Clinton might turn out to be an invaluable and urgent opportunity. Adams has expressed his serious concern to the White House in recent days over the state of the peace process.
He will conclude his U.S. visit with a book signing in New York. The venue is expected to be O’Neill’s on Third Avenue.
Meanwhile, Rep. Pete King is in London and Belfast this week for a series of meetings with political leaders on both sides of the Irish Sea.
King said that the good Friday accord required good faith and compromise from all parties. "It is absolutely disgraceful that the Ulster Unionists are violating the agreement by trying to prevent Sinn Féin from taking its two cabinet seats," King said.
Bring back Big Jim!
America today needs a labor leader like Jim Larkin, AFL-CIO leader John Sweeney said in Dublin this week.
Sweeney was in Ireland attending the launch of a new book on the Irish union organizer who was imprisoned in several U.S. jails before being released in 1924.
"I’m sad to say that we need Brother Larkin back now in the worst way because in America worker-bashing and union busting have once again become the sport of choice for employers and our government has become a bystander in the struggle for economic justice," Sweeney said.
"For workers trying to organize, freedom of speech is a sometimes thing. If you speak up or out, you get singled out for harassment, intimidation and discrimination.
"For union sympathizers, there’s no freedom of assembly. If you assemble you get fired, just like 10,000 American workers get fired every year for union activities," Sweeney said.
McDermott book wins
Irish American Alice McDermott has captured the National Book Award for her novel "Charming Billy," a tale of an Irish American from Queens who falls in love with a girl from Ireland. In accepting the award, McDermott, a Brooklyn native now living outside Washington, D.C., paid tribute to her Irish-Catholic roots which have been an inspiration for virtually all her writing.
Caucus friends no more
Two U.S. Senators have pulled their names from the list of more than 80 congressional "friends" of the Washington, D.C.-based Irish National Caucus.
Sen. James Jeffords from Vermont has joined fellow Republican Strom Thurmond in asking that his name be removed from the list as a result of the Caucus publicly opposing impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.
"I’m disappointed at his partisanship. I expected better from Senator Jeffords," said INC president Fr. Sean McManus.
NICE new home
The Northern Ireland Children’s Enterprise, a group that brings Catholic and Protestant kids to the New York area for vacations, has set up a new headquarters in Mount Kisco, N.Y.
"Due to exceptional growth of the organization within the last year this is the right time for NICE to establish its own headquarters in the U.S.," the group’s chairman, Donal Murphy, said.
NICE is now at 344 Main St., Suite 104, Mount Kisco, NY, 10549; (914)666-6656.
Clare native Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell, who heads the diocese of Knoxville, Tenn., has been named the new Bishop of Palm Beach in Florida.
€ University College Cork historian J.J. Lee has been named Glucksman Professor in Irish Studies at New York University. the announcement was made by Robert Scally, academic director at NYU Glucksman Ireland House.