Category: Archive

‘Irish Village’ row simmering in Catskills

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry Keaney

An Irish row is brewing in the Catskills.

The dispute centers on a proposed Irish history and culture museum to be built by the Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural and Sports Center in East Durham. Recently, local and state officials gathered at the Weldon House, the future headquarters of the museum, for a ground-breaking ceremony for the project that includes an Irish village and an Irish park that will be laid out in the shape of a map of Ireland.

But to Denis Meehan of Irish Village USA, it all seems too familiar. Meehan, who is based in HoKoKus, N.J., where he runs a trucking business, says the Quill Center has taken an idea he has been working on for the last six years.

Meehan has been frequenting the Catskill area since the early 1960s, has been a weekend resident since 1985 and hopes to eventually retire there.

Meehan said he is working on preparing for a restraining order against the Quill Center. "We are waiting for their plans to see if there is a similarity with my plans. It’s in the hands of my attorneys," Meehan said Tuesday. "I spent a tremendous amount of time and money at my own expense and it’s not something I will let someone come in and take away; it’s my intellectual property."

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Meehan added that his attorneys believe the people behind the Quill Center’s plans "are plagiarizing my work and if we see that in their plans, we will proceed.

"They haven’t provided us with their plans, although they have been working on them for five years," Meehan said.

According to the Quill Center’s plans, the project will be built in four phases that will take about seven years and is expected to cost about $17.5 million. State Senator John Bonacic has earmarked $250,000 in funding but the money is contingent on the Cultural Center providing him and the state senate finance committee with an acceptable business plan.

A major source of funding would be the selling of commemorative bricks for $100 that would be placed in a county inside the Irish map outline chosen by the buyer.

Kenneth Dudley, president of the Michael J. Quill Center, was unavailable for comment as the Echo went to press Tuesday. However, according to local news reports following the recent ground-breaking ceremony, Dudley said the project will go ahead. "Ireland’s Village will be built, the Irish Park will be in place by next year."

As to the dispute with Meehan, Dudley told the Echo earlier this year that he hoped Meehan would work with the center.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese