Category: Archive

Irish government a part of Sept. 11 commemoration

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Susan Falvella-Garraty

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Plans to commemorate the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks are now in the final stages. New York City officials announced earlier this month plans to hold a morning program that will feature digitaries marching accompanied by bagpipers from the New York City fire and police department toward the site where the Twin Towers once stood.

President Bush will arrive in lower Manhattan for a sunset service to honor the memory of the almost 3,000 people who lost their lives when the two hijacked jets were slammed into the towers.

Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen will represent the Irish government at the various ceremonies. In addition, the Irish Consulate in New York said it is

planning a special church service specifically for the Irish families who lost loved ones in the attack.

The American Red Cross announced this week that it would underwrite the expense of long-term mental health treatment for people directly affected by any of the three terrorist attacks that resulted in loss of life in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.

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“We will work with our sister societies to provide benefits where ever those who qualify are today,” Red Cross spokesman Mitch Hibbs said last week.

Those who qualify will be reimbursed for the cost of psychotherapy, drug or alcohol treatment, psychotropic medications and, in some cases, hospital care. They can seek help from any licensed mental health professional they choose and are not limited to specific agencies or practitioners.

An estimated 150,000 families fall into the eligibility categories designated by the charities. Among those covered will be family members of people killed in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks; people injured on Sept. 11; rescue and

recovery workers and their families; residents displaced from their homes; those evacuated from the Trade Center and other buildings near Ground Zero,

and children in Lower Manhattan schools and their families.

Those who moved away from the areas, even if they have relocated to foreign countries, will qualify for benefits.

Irish consular officials in New York said it has been almost impossible to determine exactly how many Irish citizens died on Sept. 11. There were seven known Irish nationals who perished on that day. There has never been a final accounting of just how many died who may have held dual Irish-U.S. citizenship, but their closest guess

puts the number in “three figures.”

Experts observe that this will be the largest undertaking by a charitable group to offer counseling. Several of the organizations that raised funds in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11 have come under fire for not disseminating the funds and

keeping a high percentage for their groups.

In addition to the psychiatric assistance, family members who lost loved ones in any of the attacks may also qualify for Family Travel Assistance if they wish to attend the ceremonies this September 11 in the United States. Hibbs said those in Ireland who wish to avail themselves to either service

can contact Irish Red Cross Society in Dublin or the American Red Cross in the United States.

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