By Ray O’Hanlon
Dr. Kevin Cahill, president general of the American Irish Historical Society in New York, has been chosen as grand marshal for the 2000 New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Cahill, a specialist in tropical diseases, was presented as grand marshal of the 239th consecutive parade at a press conference at the Park Avenue offices of the Mutual of America insurance company in Manhattan Monday.
A Bronx native, Cahill has been the recipient over the years of a number of awards, including the papal Grand Cross Pro Merito Melitersi.
Cahill told the Echo that he considered it a great honor and distinction to be chosen to head a 239-year-old parade.
"As the first physician to be grand marshal, I regard it as an honor for my profession," he said.
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Cahill added that he also considered his selection as being an honor for the American Irish Historical Society and the College of Surgeons in Dublin, where he has lectured over the years.
"I am looking forward to the day and hope it’s as sunny as the last parade day," he said. "I well remember watching the St. Patrick’s Day Parade with my father as a child."
The 2000 parade is being dedicated to the veterans of the Korean War. The year 2000 will mark the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of that conflict.
Meanwhile, the parade committee announced its selection of the top 10 grand marshal of the century. They are Cardinal John O’Connor, Bill Flynn, Tom Manton, John Lahey, Albert Reynolds, Gov. Hugh Carey, Dorothy Hayden Cudahy, Mary Holt Moore, Peter King and Connie Doolan.
Adams & Co. coming
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will be heading a Sinn Féin delegation to New York on Jan. 12.
Adams will be accompanied by the two Sinn Féin ministers in the power-sharing executive, Martin McGuinness and Bairbre de Brún. Making up what will be a foursome is the party’s leading elected politician in the Republic, Caoimghín O Caolain, T.D.
The visit is being organized by Friends of Sinn Féin and the main public event will be held in Manhattan.
FOSF president Larry Downes said that the delegation would be spelling out Sinn Féin vision for a new Ireland and the party’s role in it.
Downes said that Adams was expected to stay longer than the other three in the U.S. but that final details had yet to be worked out.
Philly embraces Famine teaching
The Philadelphia School District has come out in favor of including a Great Hunger curriculum in the city’s schools.
In a recent letter to Bob Gessler, president of the Philadelphia County Board AOH, Dr. Catherine Balsley, director of curriculum support for the Philadelphia School District, agreed to take a number of steps that would lead to instruction in the Great Hunger becoming part of every student’s education.
The agreement to include Famine teaching followed discussions between the PSD and Irish American leaders in Philadelphia and subsequent public hearings sponsored by Councilman James Kenney.
"The fight for Irish Famine education should be seen as another MacBride Principles campaign," Gessler said.
In what is likely to be the first of many expressions of support, a U.S. congressman has nominated North peace broker George Mitchell for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Rep. Sam Gejdenson, a Connecticut Democrat and ranking member of the House International Relations Committee, has written the Nobel committee urging its members to award Mitchell the 2000 prize.
"No one has done more for peace in 1999 than George Mitchell," Gejdenson said in a statement. "He deserves our heartfelt thanks for his heroic work over the past four years. And he deserves the world’s highest peace honor for what he has done."
McAllister hearing postponed
A hearing in the McAllister family deportation case set for the federal court in Newark, N.J., on Jan. 4 has been postponed until Jan. 25. For details call (973) 594-1253.