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Irish American News Briefs

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

CUNY conflict conference is scrubbed

A conference on conflict resolution in Northern Ireland set for New York this week has been scrubbed because leaders there have been unable to resolve their conflicting views on disarmament.

The conference, entitled "Conflict Resolution in Northern Ireland" was due to take place Thursday at CUNY Queens College in Flushing.

North peacebroker George Mitchell was to moderate, but he himself decided that the conference was a non-starter.

"At this propitious moment for Northern Ireland’s future, the Irish leaders who intended to participate in the conference need to concentrate all their thoughts and energies on breaking the impasse over disarmament so that they can proceed to the formation of a new government in Northern Ireland," Mitchell said.

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Political figures expected to attend the conference included the SDLP’s Seamus Mallon, Reg Empey of the Ulster Unionists and Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness. McGuinness was also lined up to speak at a public forum in Manhattan but will not be traveling to New York following the conference cancellation. The conference is now expected to take place in October.

Hibernian role vital

Hibernians were needed more than ever in the search for peace and unity in Ireland, AOH National President Thomas Gilligan told members of the Order in Stamford, Conn.

"We must remain vigilant so that American involvement in the Irish peace process does not become a mere tool for British interests," Gilligan told those attending the AOH Connecticut State Past President’s Dinner in Stamford Hibernian Hall.

"We can do this by working with our political leaders to ensure that the partition and colonization of Ireland ends with the third millennium," Gilligan said.

Very briefly

Members of St. Ann’s Parish in Ossining, N.Y., and Bronxville Reformed Church are this week combining their efforts to build a house in Northern Ireland under the auspices of Habitat for Humanity International, the group founded by former president Jimmy Carter.

"This is a great opportunity to work together in Belfast, helping someone to own a simple decent home while spreading good will there," said Jim Killoran of Ossining. Killoran is president of Habitat’s Westchester board.

€ $100,000 earmarked by Gov. George Pataki for drawing up New York State’s Famine curriculum for public schools is being held up due to the impasse in Albany over the state’s budget. $200,000 has already been approved by legislators for funding of the curriculum which is being developed at Hofstra University.

€ Dollars should soon be heading to Kerry from New York following a fund-raiser this week at the Irish Consulate in Manhattan in aid of the planned Kerry Literary and Cultural Centre. The center will be located in Listowel. Kerry TD Jimmy Deenihan is expected to attend the Thursday evening event.

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