By Ray O’Hanlon
A Belfast family seeking asylum in the United States has been denied a chance of a green card despite coming up trumps in the annual diversity visa lottery.
Malachy and Bernadette McAllister and their four children fled Northern Ireland 10 years ago after their house came under gunfire from loyalists.
An RUC file on Malachy McAllister was discovered soon after in what was believed to be a loyalist safehouse.
McAllister is currently awaiting a court decision on a plea for political asylum entered last year on his and his family’s behalf.
In the meantime, the family’s hopes were buoyed when Malachy’s name was drawn in the DVI visa lottery.
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However, their future was quickly plunged into further doubt when the Immigration and Naturalization Service denied the application because of convictions in Belfast gathered by McAllister as a teenager involved in republican activities.
McAllister, who was convicted in a non-jury Diplock Court, has argued that his convictions were political and not criminal. The family’s case is similar in many respects to those of others collectively known as "the deportees."
"This decision is a setback for all of the deportee cases. The INS has shown its disagreement with the peace process in Ireland by criminalizing those of us who were involved in a political struggle to free our country," Malachy McAllister said.
Adams rides south
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is back in the U.S. on a fund-raising mission this week. He’s also heading to Mexico for a number of events, including the opening of an art exhibit on Bloody Sunday entitled "Hidden Truths: Bloody Sunday 1972." Adams opens his tour Wednesday with a fund-raiser at the Track 16 Art Gallery in Santa Monica.
The Bloody Sunday event is set for Mexico City on Thursday. On Friday, Adams will be speak at Anahiac Sur University, where he will also receive a peace prize from the Mexican Academy of International Law.
On Saturday, Nov. 14, Adams will be in San Francisco for a public fund-raising event at the Russian Hall on Sutter St. while the following day he will attend a brunch. For details on the San Francisco events, call (510)452-5111.
President Clinton has signed into law the recently approved congressional legislation that will provide 12,000 non-immigrant Walsh Visas over three years to applicants from Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic. Final details of how the visas will be distributed are not expected to emerge until next year.
Boston’s helping hand
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.
Joyce on show
An exhibit featuring 24 first editions of "Ulysses" signed by James Joyce is opening this week in Manhattan. The exhibition, entitled "The Novel of the Century," runs until Dec. 18 at the Glenn Horowitz Bookseller Inc., 19 East 76th St. For details, call Laura Barnes (212)327-3538. The exhibition is jointly sponsored by The American Friends of James Joyce, Aer Lingus and the James Joyce Cultural Center in Dublin.
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 located at 344 Main St., Suite 104, Mount Kisco NY, 10549. Phone (914)666-6656.