By Ray O’Hanlon
New York City Public Advocate Mark Green has urged U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno to grant asylum to the McAllister family from Belfast.
"The McAllister family qualifies for political asylum under United States law because they were persecuted in Northern Ireland and because it is likely that they will be persecuted should they return," Green wrote in a recent letter to Reno.
A rescheduled hearing in the McAllister deportation case has been set for Feb. 8 at 8:30 a.m. in the federal building in Newark, N.J.
The McAllisters, from Belfast, are battling U.S. deportation efforts because they believe their lives will be endangered if they are forced to return to the North. Before coming to the U.S., the family home was attacked by loyalist gunmen.
The federal building is at 970 Broad St. For information, call (973) 594-1253.
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The annual Brooklyn Memorial Mass for the victims of Bloody Sunday will take place this Sunday, Feb. 6, at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 58th Street and 5th Avenue. Sponsored by the Bay Ridge Irish Association, the Mass has been held every year since the Bloody Sunday killings in 1972. There will be a march to the Mass assembling at noon at 58th Street and 4th Avenue. This year’s event is being chaired by Mary Nolan, who can be reached at (718) 833-3405.
Don Mullan, the Derry native who has devoted much of his life to investigating the Bloody Sunday killings and the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, is in the U.S. this week and is due to speak at Rocky Sullivan’s in Manhattan on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 6 p.m. Mullan and the relatives of the bombing victims are maintaining that the only way to set minds and hearts at rest is by way of a public inquiry with statutory powers. The bombings of May 17, 1974 resulted in the largest number of deaths in any single violent incident of the Troubles.
Brigid Award winners named
Chicago Friends of Concern presented its annual Brigid Awards on Tuesday, Feb. 1, St. Brigid’s Day, at the Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago. The awards were established by a group of Irish-American women in Chicago to honor women whose lives embodied the qualities of justice, generosity and compassion.
This year’s National Brigid Award winner is Olympic athlete and model Aimee Mullins. Mullins, a double amputee, is a co-founder of HOPE (Helping Others Perform With Excellence). The local award recipient is Vi Daley, an alderman in Chicago’s 43rd Ward. The awards were presented by author and former RTE journalist Deirdre Purcell. Proceeds from the awards luncheon are being divided between Concern, the Irish relief agency, and a local Chicago charity.
Cardinal’s parade wish
New York’s Cardinal John O’Connor wants to watch one more St. Patrick’s Day Parade from the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral before he retires. The New York Post reported that O’Connor, who is 80 and recovering from brain surgery, wants to remain at his post for another six to nine months and in that time review the parade on March 17.
Meanwhile, Rep. Vito Fossella, a Republican from Staten Island, has announced plans to introduce legislation in Congress that would result in O’Connor being presented with a Congressional Gold Medal. The medal is the highest honor Congress can bestow. It was presented to George Washington, the Wright Brothers, Robert Frost and, more recently, Mother Teresa. Fossella, in a statement, described O’Connor as a man of "deep compassion, great intellect and tireless devotion."
Mitchell in Chicago
Northern Ireland peace broker George Mitchell is to speak on his work in Northern Ireland at Northwestern University, Chicago, on Feb. 22. Mitchell’s lecture, entitled "Toward Peace in Northern Ireland," is open to the public and is set for the university’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the Evanston campus. For details, call (847)491-4892.
N.J. Hibs want you
A new division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians is forming in the Belmar area of New Jersey and applications for membership are being invited. Applicants must be over male Catholics over 18. For details, call Kevin Weldon at (732) 531-2580 or Bill Young at (732) 280-0221.