By Ray O’Hanlon
Money to fund a Great Hunger studies curriculum in New York’s state budget has survived the veto process.
While Republican Gov. George Pataki was making headlines for his liberal use of the veto pen, he allowed stand the proposal to allocate $200,000 to the Famine studies curriculum, the brainchild of Queens Democratic Assemblyman Joe Crowley.
The Famine money will be used to put together a curriculum for state public schools. The curriculum is expected to be drawn up by academics from a number of universities in the state.
Half the money was proposed by the State Assembly and half was proposed by Gov. Pataki.
Assemblyman Crowley paid tribute to Pataki as well as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Steve Sanders, chairman of the Assembly’s Education Committee.
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“I hope New York’s example will become a model for other states,” Crowley told the Echo.
This year’s $70 billion-plus budget was subjected to Pataki’s line item veto – it was the first time he used the power to strike out individual items – only days after the New York Times, in a Metro Section story, characterized the Famine studies allocation as budgetary pork.
In all, Pataki cut $760 million in spending and $800 million in borrowing.
BILL & BRIDGET President Clinton would like to travel again to Ireland, but is not sure when he will be able to make the trip.
The explanation as to the president’s current thinking on the oft-discussed next Ireland visit came from the man himself in reply to a question from cub reporter Bridget Garraty, the 9-year-old daughter of Echo Washington correspondent Susan Falvella-Garraty.
Bridget was at the White House last Thursday for “take your daughter to work day” with her dad, CNN cameraman Tim Garraty. Breaking free from a cordoned-off area full of daughters, Bridget called out to Clinton during a Rose Garden press conference.
In reply to her “what about Ireland?” question, Clinton showed his hand. However, White House sources have since indicated that while Clinton is ready to travel to Ireland, virtually at the drop of a hat, if the parties to the April 10 agreement say they need his help, the current view is that he should not travel this side of the May 22 referendum.
The White House is maintaining close contact with the various parties in the meantime. Deputy National Security Advisor Jim Steinberg has been meeting in Ireland with leaders in recent days including Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Sinn FTin’s Gerry Adams.
Against this backdrop, there is yet no definite word as to whether or not any Clinton visit will take place in the wake of the North/South referendums.
JAIL TIME The Massachusetts teenager who pleaded guilty in the stabbing of a Monaghan man outside Giants Stadium last October has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ confinement in a New Jersey juvenile facility.
The teen will spend the next 24 months at the New Jersey Training Facility for Boys in Jamesburg. The exact sentence handed down was 31 months but the teen has already served almost seven months since the stabbing, which followed a football game between the New York Jets and New England Patriots.
Michael McGee, a native of Emyvale, survived the stabbing but was hospitalized twice after the attack by the teen, who weighed more than 300 pounds at the time of the assault.