By Ray O’Hanlon
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a $25 million in funding the International Fund for Ireland for fiscal year 2002.
The figure matches last year’s U.S. contribution, which had been raised from a previous annual level of $19.6 million as a result of an initiative launched by Reps. Joe Crowley and Nita Lowey.
More than 20 members of the House have this year signed a letter to President Bush asking that he support the higher contribution for another year.
Rep. Crowley said in a statement that the work of the IFI was "now more important than ever" in helping "to ensure a lasting peace in the North of Ireland and stronger economic and cultural ties between the North and the Republic."
The $25 million has been written into the House Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill for fiscal 2000, which begins on Oct. 1 of this year. The sum will have to matched in the equivalent Senate bill and approved by President Bush before it is actually cleared for IFI use.
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One in 1.1 million
If you flew the Atlantic on an Aer Lingus aircraft last year you were one in a million plus.
A record total of 1.1 million passengers spanned the ocean with the Irish carrier during the period that saw the airline open a new service out of Baltimore/Washington.
The transatlantic passenger total was a jump of 21 percent over the previous year.
Aer Lingus currently operates services out of New York, Newark, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles as well as Baltimore/Washington. An additional service linking Toronto with Ireland is currently being considered.
But while 2000 was a high-flying year over the Atlantic for Aer Lingus, 2001 is proving to be very different story due to several factors including the economic downturn and the effects of the foot and mouth crisis.
With the Northern Ireland peace process in turmoil, college students from the North gathered in Washington D.C. this week to discuss the state of the process and where they think it should go from here.
The Second Annual Congressional Forum for "Young Leaders" of Project Children took place Tuesday in the Rayburn House Office Building.
The co-chairs of the congressional Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs, Reps. Joe Crowley, Ben Gilman, Richard Neal and Peter King hosted the forum.
Project Children, which mostly sponsors U.S. vacations for school-age children from Protestant and Catholic families in the North, also brings 32 university students from both communities to the U.S. each year to work in Washington as interns in both House and Senate offices.
The University of Ulster honored boston-based Irish American businessman John Cullinane, last week.
Cullinane, who heads the Cullinane Group, received an honorary degree in recognition of his work in promoting peace and economic development in Ireland, north and south.
The conferring took place Thursday at the John F. Kennedy Library and was presided over by the university’s president and vice-chancellor, Dr. Gerry McKenna.
It was the first time that the University of Ulster conferred an honorary degree outside Ireland.
Nelson for honor
The American Bar Association is to present its prestigious
Rule of Law Award to slain Northern Ireland attorney Rosemary Nelson.
Nelson was killed in a loyalist car bombing attack near her home in Lurgan, Co. Armagh in March 1999.
The posthumous award will be presented on Monday, Aug. 6 at the Chicago Cultural Center as part of the Bar Association’s annual meeting. The American Bar Association has a membership roll of more than 400,000
lawyers, judges and professors devoted to promotion of the public
interest and the rule of law.
Professor Mark Wojcik of the John Marshall Law School, Chicago, was
instrumental in bringing about the award for Nelson, who represented the Garvaghy Road residents in Portadown, Co. Armagh before her death.
The decision to honor Nelson has been welcomed by Ed Lynch of the New Jersey-based Lawyers Alliance for Justice in Ireland.