Category: Archive

Newsbriefs Aer Lingus set for L.A.

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

Aer Lingus is to start up its service from Los Angeles to Ireland on May 28, several weeks earlier than previously expected.

"We moved the date up because we will now be taking delivery of our new Airbus A330 200 long-haul version aircraft in April," Jack Foley, Aer Lingus executive vice president North America, told the Echo.

The new service will start with an inaugural flight from Shannon to Dublin and from there to L.A. on the 28th, a Friday. The flight will then return to Ireland Friday night with a non-stop flight from L.A. to Dublin and from there to Shannon.

At the outset, Aer Lingus will fly to Dublin and then to Shannon three nights a week: Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The carrier plans to increase the service to five nights by next year.

Reservations for the new service can be made from Wednesday, March 3. An inaugural Aer Lingus fare deal aimed at families, "Los Angeles Family Fare," is offering four seats — two adults and two children up to 17 — for $1,999 for travel from the West Coast to Dublin or Shannon during the month of June.

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Trimble to address equality conference

Northern Ireland’s first minister designate, David Trimble, is to be the keynote speaker at a conference on equality in Northern Ireland set for Seton Hall University and Columbia University later this month.

Trimble told New York City Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who is organizing the event, that he would be "delighted" to address the conference during its session on the Columbia campus.

The two-day conference, entitled "The Equality Agenda, Northern Ireland in 2000," will open in Seton Hall’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations in South Orange, N.J., on Friday, March 12. It will reconvene the following day at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs in Manhattan.

Trimble’s deputy, Seamus Mallon of the SDLP, is also listed as a speaker. Other speakers include Ireland’s minister of state at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Liz O’Donnell, TD, Bairbe deBrun of Sinn Féin, Gregory Campbell of the Democratic Unionist Party, and Sir Robert Cooper, chairman of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission.

Say it ain’t so, Jesse

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura took a dive to the canvas last week after remarks he made about the Irish and drink on David Letterman’s TV show.

The former pro-wrestler, who is known as "The Body," suggested in the interview that the streets of the state capital, St. Paul, were laid out by drunken Irishmen.

"Whoever designed the streets must have been drunk. I think it was those Irish guys. You know what they like to do," Ventura said while making a drinking motion with his hand.

Ventura apologized for his remarks, but back on the streets of St. Paul there was both puzzlement and anger.

"He may see humor in it, but as an Irish person, it’s offensive,” Dermot O’Mara, owner of Irish on Grand, a St. Paul gift shop, told the Associated Press.

The St. Paul City Council also got in a forearm smash. It passed a resolution that said the city’s streets were actually designed "to keep wrestlers and other undesirables out."

It takes a visit

New Jersey-based businessman Dennis Meehan, the man who wants to put the "Irish" back in the Catskills, is in Ireland this week meeting with Irish government ministers and county council representatives in an effort to drum up support for his proposed Irish theme village in East Durham, N.Y.

Before leaving for Ireland, Meehan told the Echo that he was hoping to meet with Ministers Sile de Valera and Jim McDaid. All 32 county councils in Ireland had been briefed on the proposal in advance of the visit, he said.

Irish Embassy on line

The Irish Embassy in Washington has gone on-line with its own website. The address of the website is www.irelandemb.org/ and, according to an embassy spokesman, the site has three broad purposes.

"It will act as a resource for those who seek general information on a range of issues relating to Ireland, including the peace process in Northern Ireland, the economy, and Irish foreign policy," spokesman Adrian O’Neill said. "It will also provide a source of practical information about obtaining passports and visas, applying for citizenship, tracing your ancestors and to serve as an effective gateway to a multitude of other web-sites which relate to Ireland."

Meanwhile, those who live in the greater Washington, D.C. area may now watch TV news from Ireland Monday to Friday. The broadcast, relayed jointly by RTE and Celtic Vision, is being shown on World View TV-Channel 56 each afternoon at 1:30.

Ditch emergency laws: Smith

Rep. Chris Smith has called for the repeal of Northern Ireland’s emergency laws.

Smith, the New Jersey GOP congressman, who chairs the House Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, called a hearing of the subcommittee to consider the just-published annual State Department "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices."

Smith said that the report indicated that the emergency provisions still in effect continued to sanction certain human rights abuses.

"We do not tolerate these abuses here in the U.S.," Smith said in a statement. "It seems to me that if peace and justice are to last in Northern Ireland, these so-called emergency provisions must go."

Accusing the RUC of engaging in a "sectarian war" against Catholics, Smith urged the Clinton administration to call for new investigations into the 1989 murder of Belfast attorney Pat Finucane and the 1997 murder of Robert Hamill as RUC officers allegedly looked on.

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