By Ray O’Hanlon
Davy Crockett, Colonel Travis, Jim Bowie. Gerry Adams? Well, yes. The Sinn FTin leader will likely take his position at the Alamo in a couple of weeks as he leads a veritable SF invasion of the U.S. for the St. Patrick’s Day season. Indeed, the numbers of high ranking Shinners roaming from sea to shining sea could well match or exceed the army of General Santa Anna, the man who sent Crockett and the lads to meet their maker back in March, 1836. On the Texas leg of his trip, Adams is expected to visit Dallas, Houston and San Antonio where a pilgrimage to what’s left of the famed adobe mission, symbol of the Texan struggle for independence from Mexico, is a must for all revolutionaries, bearded or otherwise. Adams is also expected to march in the famed Savannah, Ga. parade before heading to Washington for a chat with the powers that still be.
Meanwhile, prominent SF members including Martin McGuinness, Pat Doherty, Mitchel McLaughlin. Alex Maskey, Sean McManus (from Sligo), Bairbre de Brun, Gerry Kelly, Martin Ferris and even veteran republican Joe Cahill are expected to span America in what is certainly the party’s biggest fundraising/speaking tour to date. “IF” reckons that if the British had any wit they would vacate Northern Ireland in the absence of Adams & co. and give credit for Irish unity to…THE ALLIANCE PARTY. Ah, dream on lads, dream on!
Waiting in the outfield
Those Famine Ship boosters are still hoping that the New York Mets will see fit to dig a little deeper into their pockets than $855 but so far there seems to be little movement on the ramparts over at Chateau Shea.
Meanwhile, it has not just been the Echo that has been lobbing cannon balls and boiling tar at the famed Queens keep. The New York Post recently added a volley, courtesy of sports columnist Phil Mushnick.
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Mushnick wrote that the Echo had given the Mets “a beating” over their reluctance to come up with a decent sum in the wake of Irish Night on August 5 last.
Mushnick noted that the Mets, “who months ago issued a news release championing the fact that Irish Night was in no small part a charitable endeavor, issued no release championing their donation of 855 bucks.”
By the by, the Famine Ship’s Jeff Cleary is still awaiting a reply from Mets co-owner Fred Wilpon. Cleary wrote Wilpon a letter expressing the hope that a few more dollars could be found.
Wilpon was named in a recent Daily News story detailing how the Mets spent $2.9 million in New York City taxpayer money “on a battery of consultants to plan everything from luxury suites to hot-dog stands at the team’s [planned] new stadium.
“Mets expenses paid by the city include private-jet trips, luxury limo rides and cocktails at the Waldorf.”
Wilpon, according to the report, made available a private jet from a firm he heads to the Mets scouting party, which flew to four U.S. cities. The tour cost $41,905. Catering aboard the plane trip cost $1,148. Needless to say, it wasn’t quite like this on the Jeanie Johnston, the Famine-era ship being rebuilt in Kerry.
The Irish Night donation, it was hoped, would pay for a few planks and nails on the new vessel. But the $855 is being viewed as insulting and has already been replaced with a $1,000 donation from West Point businessman Denis Maher. Perhaps the Mets will really go for broke and top Maher’s check with a sum that matches the food and drink bill on that jet. Caviar anyone?
That Ad Hoc vacancy
What of that vacant Democratic seat on the Ad Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs? The committee has been humming along on three engines since Tom Manton rode off into the wilds of Queens. There are now three Democratic members of Congress with their eyes on Manton’s chair. His successor in the 7th District, Joe Crowley, is one as is Eliot Engel of the Bronx. And, “IF” hears, so too is Donald Payne, the New Jersey rep., who, if he prevails, would become the first African American Ad Hoc Committee co-chair. There seems to be no great rush to fill Manton’s considerable boots although there is always the possibility that green smoke will pour forth from the Capitol Dome come St. Patrick’s Day. “IF” awaits with keen anticipation.
Stand up Mary Ann Irwin and be counted. You’re the only one. The only woman aide to New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal Maureen O’Hara. Seems that the obviously still hot-blooded screen siren is going to march up Fifth Avenue surrounded by — Mary Ann excluded — a gang of lads. The question is, are they all quiet men?
Kerry joins Cork
Rumblings at the recent Kerry Association in New York on the lines of mutterings from the rebels from Cork. Seems that some disquiet was voiced by folks with ties to The Kingdom over the fact that the line of march for the upcoming New York parade would be denied the Irish weeklies. Cork and Kerry seeing eye-to-eye is not an everyday occurrence mind. This could be the biggest thing since the Sioux got together with the Cheyenne. Of course, 30 other counties have yet to speak up at all. Still, two are beating their drums. A wee bit anyway.
Rakin’ it in
“IF” hears that the rockin’ rebels over at those plush downtown WBAI Radio Free Eireann studios — en suite, harbor view etc. — managed to rake in a few bucks with their fundraiser last weekend. And this despite a fax campaign by anonymous opponents aimed at clogging up the phone lines. The cruise faxes, a copy which landed on “IF”‘s desk, demanded that “not one penny” go to “Radio Free Eireann” because it “refuses to tell the truth about the treaty that 90% of the Republican community in Ireland voted to implement.” Did someone mention “treaty”? Anyway, the rebels inside the studio still managed to reel in about $6,000 in two hours while the rebels outside were complaining about “disingenuous spinning of the truth about the peace process.” When it comes to fundraising, there’s nothing like an auld split to inspire those wavering donors.