By Ray O’Hanlon
The Boston Irish Famine Institute has donated $50,000 for relief supplies for the victims of Hurricane Mitch in Central America.
Businessman Tom Flatley, founder of the Institute, made the donation through AmeriCares, a disaster relief agency based in Connecticut.
The donation followed a visit to the devastated region by Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law.
"We want the Institute to be a living memorial, a reminder that compassion is always needed in the world. Reaching out to those who suffer today is a humanitarian gesture that our own ancestors would have appreciated in their time of need," Flatley said.
Meanwhile, the Irish aid agency GOAL, is also helping victims. GOAL founder John O’Shea was in New York this week preparing to fly to the region with funds to underpin relief efforts.
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Sweeney for Larkin tribute
AFL-CIO chief John J. Sweeney and members of the Irish American Labor Coalition will be in Dublin next week to take part in a ceremony marking the publication of a new book covering the life of Irish labor leader "Big Jim" Larkin. The book, "James Larkin, Lion of the Fold," draws heavily on Larkin’s years in the U.S. Larkin was in the U.S. during the period of World War I and was imprisoned several times. Material on Larkin’s American years has only recently been made available by the National Archives in Washington, D.C., largely due to the efforts of former U.S. ambassador to Ireland, Jean Kennedy Smith. The book launch marks the conclusion of a year celebrating the life and work of Larkin, who died in 1947.
Call him Dr. G! Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams rode south of the border last week for a series of engagements in Mexico City that included his receiving an honorary doctorate at Anahuac Sur University.
Adams also attended the opening of an exhibit on Bloody Sunday. The U.S. leg of the visit included fund-raising stops in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Friends of Sinn Féin president Larry Downes said the California fund-raisers were highly successful with large crowds at each.
The Irish American Unity Conference has lashed out at Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble for failing to give ground on the issue of Sinn Féin taking part in a North Assembly Executive and cross-border bodies.
"David Trimble should not receive any money for the Nobel Prize until he keeps his promise to implement the terms of the Good Friday agreement," IAUC president Andy Somers said.
The group also expressed disappointment with the Irish and British governments for not forcing through full implementation of the accord.
The failure on the part of both to act amounted to nothing less than a reneging on the commitment to implement the agreement, the IAUC said in a statement, which added that "Irish history is riddled with broken British promises that only led to violence and bloodshed."
Caucus friends no more
Two U.S. Senators have pulled their names from the list of over 80 congressional "friends" of the Washington, D.C.-based Irish National Caucus.
Sen. James Jeffords from Vermont has joined fellow Republican Strom Thurmond in asking that his name be removed from the list as a result of the Caucus publicly opposing impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.
"I’m disappointed at his partisanship. I expected better from Senator Jeffords," said INC president Fr. Sean McManus.
NICE new home
The Northern Ireland Children’s Enterprise, a group that brings Catholic and Protestant kids to the New York area for vacations, has set up a new headquarters in Mount Kisco, N.Y.
"Due to exceptional growth of the organization within the last year this is the right time for NICE to establish its own headquarters in the U.S.," the group’s chairman, Donal Murphy, said.
NICE is now at 344 Main St., Suite 104, Mount Kisco, NY, 10549; (914)666-6656.