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Inside File Greener greenbacks

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

Even Bertie Ahern will be smiling at this. As "IF" has previously reported, the taoiseach is contemplating a new law that would ban money collected by Irish political parties in nasty foreign places such as New York, Philly and Boston. The primary party in Bertie’s crosshairs is undoubtedly Sinn Féin, which has been raking in the dollars in recent years and sending them back to party headquarters in Dublin.

Enter George W. Bush, who last week presented his nominee for treasury secretary. As readers know, the name of the treasury secretary is printed on various dollar bills, ones, five, tens, and so forth. Dubya’s nominee is Paul O’Neill, former big wheel in the aluminum business. Let’s hope he signs his full name because if he signs his name "P. O’Neill," Bertie is going to have a canary when he says the longtime Provo code name on the back of all those Shinner dollars.

Joyce cuts

The Circe Episode from "Ulysses," crayon markings and all, was not the only James Joyce treasure to go under the hammer at the recent Christie’s auction. Several other Joyce items were whisked away by new owners. A first edition of "Ulysses," published by Shakespeare & Co. in Paris in 1922, went out the door for $28,000. A typescript carbon copy page from the "Circe" episode was sold for $26,000. A carbon copy mind you.

Also, an autographed letter from Joyce sent to a George Pelorson was snapped up for a mere $2,800. Timing is everything and this letter was written on May 2, 1939, two days before "Finnegans Wake" was published. A day later and it probably would have fetched a few hundred more.

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Circle the wagons

"Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, president-elect Bush’s national security team, are likely to turn the country’s foreign policy inward with a robust missile defense and a reluctance to use peacekeepers in ethnic conflicts abroad." This was the first paragraph in an Associated Press report last week that suggested that Dubya sees Washington as a kind of Alamo surrounded by a ballistic Maginot Line.

For Irish Americans eager to see Dubya follow in Bubba’s footsteps to Ireland, the second paragraph in the AP report brought little comfort:

"Compounding their conservative philosophies, Bush’s inexperience in international affairs is apt, at least at the outset, to produce a less-expansive role than Bill Clinton’s."

Lending a helping hand in Ireland, of course, does not mean dropping the 82nd Airborne into North Belfast. We can only hope that Dubya figures out quickly that a one-person army can do good work in the wee sod when that person has the backing of the White House.

That one person, an envoy, is as yet unknown in the context of the Bush presidency. Bill Clinton might be a viable choice for many, of course, but it seems that the unionists have had enough of him. And he a pal of the queen.

Hillary’s call

Now that she’s a full-time politician, there’s no getting away from New York for Hillary Clinton. While she was in Ireland as part of her husband’s recent peace mission, Hillary got the word that Edward J. Malloy had been named the grand marshal for the 2001 New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade. Quicker than you can say "vote for me," Hillary was on the blower congratulating the union big.

And about Hillary and the parade: Now that she is a senator, all eyes will be once again on her attitude to marching in the event while the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization brigade is excluded. A decision either way now carries greater consequences than last year, when she was only a politician in waiting. Hillary, of course, is a formidable figure and will not be easily intimidated by any side in the ongoing parade imbroglio, no matter what she decides.

Manton’s medal

Tom Manton has not gone away, you know. The former Queens congressman and grand marshal of the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade stepped up to the microphone again recently when he was presented with the St. Patrick’s Medal by the New York parade committee.

Manton still heads the Democratic Party in his borough and, according to Crain’s New York Business, will figure prominently in the choosing of a Democrat in the 2002 New York mayoral contest. Crain’s had Manton giving Comptroller Alan Hevesi the nod over city Council Speaker Peter Vallone, but that prompted a quick denial from Manton.

Politics is nothing if not a series of quick denials. Both Hevesi and Vallone have strong records on Ireland, so Manton will have to look elsewhere for clear differences between the two.

They Said

€ "Washington: "The place to be during the Clinton years, when the special relationship between the U.S. and Britain broke down and the Irish ‘flying columns’ stormed Capitol Hill. A city where you can get high on politics, and a great posting, especially for young diplomats."

Frank McNally, writing on Ireland’s expanding diplomatic service in The Irish Times Magazine.

€ "He was easy to spot in any battle he entered and there were many, including the political ones. He ran for office 12 times, often on shoestring budgets. Twice he made it to the Big Top. In 1963 he was councilman-at-large in Manhattan, and in 1973 City Council president, where I got to meet and admire this man with the shock of premature white hair and the soft Irish brogue he brought to America from County Mayo, where he is now buried."

Dennis Duggan in Newsday, writing about the naming of "Paul O’Dwyer Way" at the corner of Lafayette and Duane streets in Manhattan.

€ I spent a day with one of America’s minorities, as they explored their past, identified their enemies and reveled in their culture. They recalled their diaspora, the genocidal measures taken against them and the ‘final solution’ that tries to exterminate them. But they were not Jews.

"Their ancestors were forced into crossing the Atlantic in ships, a trip many did not survive. And they have been vilified as lazy, genetically inferior and apelike. But they were not African-Americans.

"Their good land was seized and they were banished from it to less desirable areas of their country. But they were not American Indians.

"And now they were raging against oppressors who could be rightfully called ‘Anglos.’ They extolled the beauty of their native language and held a religious service in it. But they were not Hispanics. I spent a day among the Irish."

Columnist Enrique Fernandez, writing in the Florida’s Sun Sentinel newspaper.

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