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Newsbriefs Governor signs Kieran’s Law

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

New York Gov. George Pataki signed Kieran’s Law last Monday, enabling parents to carry out a nationwide criminal background check on prospective nannies.

The legislation was signed in the Westchester County Courthouse more than five years after 10-month-old Kieran Dunne of Rye, N.Y., was abused and killed by his nanny, Ann Franklin. Both the Dunne and Franklin families had close Irish-American connections. The Dunnes hired Franklin after placing an ad in the Irish Echo.

“When a parent entrusts the health and well-being of their child to a potential caregiver, they deserve to know if that individual has a criminal background” Pataki said.

Peggy and Dave Dunne, parents of Kieran, attempted to check Franklin’s record before hiring her, but were legally unable to do so.

The Dunnes spent the past five years fighting for passage of Kieran’s Law. Under the law, a parent can ask that a prospective care-giver submit to having fingerprints taken. For a fee, the fingerprints can then be forwarded to the the FBI for analysis.

“We are very pleased that Kieran’s Law was passed unanimously in both houses and is being signed into law by Governor Pataki,” Peggy Dunne said. “The harsh reality is that if Kieran’s Law had existed when we were looking for a caregiver, our baby would still be alive today.

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“Parents will no longer have to deal with the veil of secrecy that for too long has prevented [them] from getting this vital information,” Pataki said.

— Elizabeth McNamara

Release H-Block Three

Sinn FTin has called for P=l Brennan, Terence Kirby and Kevin Barry Artt, imprisoned near San Francisco and fighting British extradition warrants, to be included among the prisoners released as part of the Northern Ireland Good Friday peace agreement.

“Prisoner releases is an integral and indispensable part of the agreement reached in Belfast on Good Friday,” Sinn FTin declared in a statement issued Friday last from its Washington office. “There can be no equivocation about this matter.”

Sinn FTin stated that in terms of the letter of the agreement, the British authorities had linked Brennan, Kirby and Artt to the IRA, which is a qualifying organization for the prisoner release program.

Sinn FTin said that the British government’s extradition request to the U.S. authorities in regard to the H-Block Three should be withdrawn as an immediate measure aimed at building confidence. Sinn FTin also said that the U.S. authorities can contribute to this too by granting immediate bail.

— Harry Keaney

Irish radio programs on NPR

A number of RTE radio programs will soon be available on affiliates of National Public Radio.

RTE will provide a half-hour bulletin of news and sports Monday through Friday.

“The Right Side,” a program of wit and contemporary music, will be aired on Saturdays. “Soundbyte,” a review of the Irish media, will be broadcast on Sundays.

“This will be a useful addition to our daily satellite, internet, shortwave and phone services in the United States,” Julie Hayde, of RTE’s broadcasting developments, said.

— Harry Keaney

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