By Ray O’Hanlon
Bertie Ahern is to make his first official visit to New York as taoiseach on Nov. 11 and 12.
During the visit, Ahern will deliver a major policy address dealing with Northern Ireland and Anglo-Irish relations at an event hosted by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy.
He is also due to meet with the Ireland American Advisory Board, a group of American corporate leaders established at the behest of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds in the early ’90s.
Meetings with New York Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani are also listed as is a meeting with the Irish Business Organization.
During the two-day stopover, Ahern is also expected to preside at a Friends of Fianna F_il fund-raising event at a Manhattan hotel.
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Meanwhile, the National Committee on American Foreign Policy hosted Ulster Democratic Party leader Gary McMichael at an event on Tuesday, Oct. 26. This followed last week’s speech to the group by Sinn FTin President Gerry Adams.
Both McMichael and Adams were asked to address the question: “Implementing The Belfast Agreement: What Went Wrong?”
Unity Conference looks at GFA
The Irish American Unity Conference is hosting a convention in Newark, N.J., Saturday that will explore the Good Friday peace agreement in the context of human-rights reform in Northern Ireland.
“Obligations and Future of the Good Friday Agreement and its Impact on Human and Civil Rights Reforms” is the theme of the conference, which will be held at the Wyndham Garden Hotel at Newark Airport. The event is open to the public.
The opening panel discussion will include presentations by the National Security Council’s European director, Dick Norland, and Ireland’s vice consul general in New York, Adrian McDaid.
Three other panels will follow and they will deal with “Economic Equality,” “RUC and Criminal Justice Reforms” and “Human Rights Cases.”
The featured lunchtime speaker will be Sinn FTin National Executive member Francie Molloy. During the conference a number of awards will be presented. They include the Bernadette Barry Award, presented to Kathleen Fearon; the Pat Finucane Award, presented to Rep. Chris Smith; the Dan O’Kennedy Award, to Kevin Barry, and the New Jersey IAUC Award, to Rep. Bob Menendez.
The Sean MacBride Award will be presented to Mon. Robert Sheeran, president of Seton Hall University; the Paul O’Dwyer Award will go to Rep. Donald Payne, while the Economics Award will be presented to New York City Comptroller Alan Hevesi.
The conference runs from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., while the dinner program runs from 8- 11 p.m. For details, call (800) 947-IAUC(4282) or (201) 444-4786.
Endurance was popular
More than 140,000 people visited “The Endurance” exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History up to its closing on Oct. 11.
The exhibit, a tribute to Kildare-born Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, ran at the museum for six months and is now moving to new quarters, the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., where it will open on Nov 16 and run until Feb. 6, 2000.
Spokeswoman Lisa Cohen told the Echo that the American Museum, which is also running the exhibit in Washington, was delighted with the turnout in New York.
Ad Hoc concern
The four co-chairs of the Congressional Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs have urged full implementation of the Good Friday peace agreement.
In a statement, the four, Rep. Ben Gilman, Pete King, Richard Neal and Joe Crowley, said they understood the difficulties and concerns facing Northern Ireland’s political parties during the Mitchell Review of the agreement.
“However, we strongly believe that it would be a huge mistake not to implement the Good Friday agreement, the best and only deal for peace.
“We urge the Unionists to recognize the imperativeness of the agreement and further urge them to immediately establish the Executive so that the God Friday agreement can work. There is no alternative,” the four said.
The Irish Center of Washington, D.C., has announced a two-day commemoration entitled “The Irish Remember . . . Serving Uncle Sam” to be held in the city Nov. 9-11. Events will include a gala dinner and wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Memorial. For details, call (301) 962-7206.