Category: Archive

Newbriefs Irish nab only 637 Schumers

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Irish applicants for the DV-2000 "Schumer" visa lottery have managed to secure only 637 visas out of the annual total of 50,000 offered to applicants from around the world.

564 of this total has been registered to applicants from the Republic while an additional 73 visas have been registered to applicants from Northern Ireland.

Both the North and the Republic enjoy an application limit each year of of 3,500, but under the random selection system applied in the Schumer scheme, neither met the quota after 110,000 applicants were registered out of a total of more than eight million qualified entries from around the world.

Even though only 50,000 Schumers will be eventually distributed, the higher figure of 110,000 applicants registered and notified is due to the fact that many successful applicants don’t ultimately pursue the visa offer.

"This is following a pattern and the low number [of successful Irish applicants] is to be expected. It’s pitiable, but it’s the luck of the draw," commented Eamonn Dornan of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Queens.

For advice on the DV-program, the center can be reached at (718) 478-5502.

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Irish Baby Aid

A benefit will be held to aid Erin Vallely of County Tyrone who is in need of a kidney transplant, and Clionadh O’Sullivan, of Warrenpoint, Co. Down, who is suffering from West Syndrome, on June 6 at 3 p.m. at The Wall, 54th and Roosevelt, Woodside, Queens. There will be lives bands and a raffle. Details and tickets, call Sheila Lynott at (718) 446-4646 or Hazal Coombes at (718) 336-3381.

California Senate passes MacBride

The California State Senate has voted through a MacBride Principles bill that now goes to the State Assembly in Sacramento for another vote. The Senate measure was drawn up by State Sen. John Burton, California’s leading MacBride-supporting legislator.

"I congratulate Senator Burton for his excellent work," said Fr. Sean McManus of the Washington D.C.-based Irish National Caucus.

MacBride Principles bills have previously passed both California legislating houses only to be vetoed at the governor’s desk. However, California’s current governor, Gray Davis, is on record as a supporter of the fair employment guidelines for Northern Ireland.

Reps. urge North executive now

The four co-chairs of the congressional Ad Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs, and the chairman of the Friends of Ireland group in Congress, have jointly written to President Clinton, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair urging immediate implementation of the Good Friday accord’s power-sharing executive.

"The Good Friday accord is the best road map to resolving this arms impasse," the five wrote in opposition to unionist demands for a start to IRA weapons decommissioning before Sinn Féin’s admission to the executive.

"However, the issue has once again created a grave political vacuum in the north, which many of us fear can too-readily be filled by the anti-agreement forces," the five, Reps. Ben Gilman, Richard Neal, Joe Crowley, Peter King and Jim Walsh, wrote.

The Irish American Unity Conference said it applauded the letters, describing them as an effort to address the stalling of the Northern Ireland peace process.

Irish treasure in D.C.

An art treasure from Ireland’s National Gallery is forming the centerpiece of a just opened exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Caravaggio’s "The Taking of Christ" (1602), rediscovered in Ireland in 1990, will be displayed alongside other baroque works from Europe in an exhibition entitled "Caravaggio’s ‘The Taking of Christ:’ Saints and Sinners in Baroque Painting." The exhibition is running through July 18 in the National Gallery’s West Building.

"I would like to thank the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., along with the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College, the Society of Jesus in Ireland, and our own National Gallery, for this opportunity to view one of Ireland’s long hidden treasures," said Irish Ambassador to the U.S. Sean O’Huiginn.

"The Taking of Christ," long thought to be another work, was identified in the dining room of a Jesuit house in Dublin and subsequently restored.

Protect the Hamills

Sixteen members of Congress have written to North First Minister Designate David Trimble urging protection for the Hamill family of Portadown in the face of allegations, made by Diane Hamill, that her family has been harassed and intimidated by members of the RUC.

Diane Hamill recently testified at a congressional hearing in Washington, where she gave details of the kicking to death of her brother, Robert, by a loyalist gang in 1997, while RUC officers reportedly observed, though did not intervene.

"Given Ms. Hamill’s moving testimony and the fact that both her brother and her attorney [Rosemary Nelson] have been murdered, we write to ask you to use all your public and private influence and become personally involved in ensuring the entire Hamill family is provided maximum protection," the congressmen wrote Trimble.

"We remain very concerned about her safety," they added.

The letter was signed by Reps. Ben Gilman, Chris Smith, Jim Walsh, Richard Neal, Donald Payne, Peter King, Joe Crowley, Michael Doyle, Gary Ackerman, Rick Lazio, John McHugh, William Coyne, Maurice Hinchey, Bob Franks, Bob Menendez and William Delahunt.

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