By Ray O’Hanlon
Expressions of support have been pouring into the Cooper Gallery in Jersey City after a fire last week, apparently caused by arsonists, delayed the opening of a photo exhibit, "Faces of War: Children of Belfast."
"Calls have come in from Belfast, London, Limerick and Santa Fe," gallery co-owner Stephan Shedrowitz told the Echo.
The photographs are the work of Michael Schwartz, who has expressed the belief that the fire was deliberately set and politically motivated.
Shedrowitz shares that view. "Nothing was taken. The cashbox and computers were still here," he said.
Shedrowitz described as "pretty disgusting" one TV report suggesting the fire was an "inside job."
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He said federal investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had discounted this view.
Investigators have yet to uncover any political motive, but the blaze is being treated as an act of arson.
The exhibition runs through Oct. 4 and opening time at the gallery has been extended to accommodate the large numbers of people now turning up to see it. The gallery, at 295 Grove St., can be contacted at (201)451-1074.
Andrews: Clinton survival important
The political survival of President Clinton is important to Ireland and the peace process, Irish Foreign Minister David Andrews indicated this week during a visit to New York.
Andrews, here to "preach the message of the peace process," told reporters that "Ireland would be disadvantaged by the absence of Mr. Clinton in the White House.
The Irish National Caucus, meanwhile, has written to every member of the House Judiciary Committee expressing outrage at "attempts to drive" Clinton from office.
"Bill Clinton is the only American president in history to have the vision, the courage, and the leadership to bring about a peaceful solution in Ireland," Caucus President Fr. Sean McManus said.
Students in Grinnell College in Iowa heard firsthand last week the difficulties posed by efforts to resolve the conflict in Northern Ireland.
"The symposium went very well for us," Belfast Sinn Féin Councilor Chrissie McAuley told the Echo.
The speaker who made the biggest impact at the event, however, was Stuart Deignan of the Democratic Unionist Party. According to McAuley, Deignan characterized the inclusion of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland politics as "feeding the crocodile."
Said McAuley: "The audience gasped when he spoke of executing republicans and turning them into crocodile handbags."
Celtic tiger a fatcat
The Irish consume more calories a day than any other nationality on earth. Viewers to the ABC show "20/20" Monday were asked to guess who chomps more calories a day, the Irish, the Russians or the Americans. The answer was the Irish with a whopping 3,800. The high rate was due to consumption of fatty meats and confectionery.