Category: Archive

Newsbriefs Salute to Irish Vietnam dead

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

Sixteen Irish-born U.S. servicemen who died during the Vietnam War will be honored at a Memorial Day ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. Members of the Donnelly School of Irish Dance will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony that will also include the presentation of yellow roses and letters to the dead Irish whose names are listed on the wall.

"Immigrants get a bad rap these days but nobody was asking for country of birth when these young men were being called up for Vietnam," said Vickie Curtin of the Washington, D.C.-based Irish Immigration Network.

The group estimates that in addition to the tens of thousands of Irish Americans, between 3,000 to 4,000 Irish-born served in U.S. forces during the Vietnam conflict. For details, call (703) 573-7423.

Injured RUC officers visit

Twelve former Royal Ulster Constabulary officers came to Washington recently to try and enlist U.S. aid in their efforts to secure better disability benefits from the British government. All were injured in the line of duty from gun and bomb attacks.

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The delegation of the Disabled Police Officers Association met with House International Relations Committee chairman Ben Gilman along with Reps. Peter King and Richard Neal, and Fr. Sean McManus of the Irish National Caucus.

"No matter how controversial policing in Northern Ireland is, I assure you we all agree in wanting injured police officers to be given the best health care available," said Gilman who is sending a letter to the British Embassy as a follow-up to the meeting.

Following the police visit, representatives from the group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives were also in Washington meeting with Capitol Hill legislators and officials from the State Department.

The group is a unionist organization highly critical of the Good Friday accord. Brian McConnell of FAIR said the delegation wanted to show U.S. legislators that what FAIR terms "ethnic cleansing" is being carried out against Protestants in South Armagh.

— Susan Falvella-Garraty

A.L.’s kind of town

As Aer Lingus readies itself to start up its new Los Angeles to Ireland service this week, the Irish carrier is also expanding its operations linking Chicago with Dublin and Shannon. From May 18 to Sept. 30, Aer Lingus is operating daily flights from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to both Irish airports. Previously, there was no Aer Lingus flight on Tuesday. "Aer Lingus is expanding its service from Chicago to meet the demand of business and vacation travelers alike," said Jack Foley, the airline’s executive vice president North America.

California Senate passes MacBride

The California State Senate has voted through a MacBride Principles bill that now goes to the State Assembly in Sacramento for another vote. The Senate measure was drawn up by State Senator John Burton, California’s leading MacBride-supporting legislator. "I congratulate Senator Burton for his excellent work," said Fr. Sean McManus of the Washington D.C.-based Irish National Caucus. MacBride Principles bills have previously passed both California legislating houses only to be vetoed at the governor’s desk. However, California’s current governor, Gray Davis, is on record as a supporter of the fair employment guidelines for Northern Ireland.

Reps. urge North executive now

The four co-chairs of the congressional Ad Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs, and the chairman of the Friends of Ireland group in Congress, have jointly written to President Clinton, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair urging immediate implementation of the Good Friday accord’s power sharing executive.

"The Good Friday accord is the best road map to resolving this arms impasse," the five wrote in opposition to unionist demands for a start to IRA weapons decommissioning before Sinn Féin’s admission to the executive.

"However, the issue has once again created a grave political vacuum in the north, which many of us fear can too-readily be filled by the anti-agreement forces," the five, Reps. Ben Gilman, Richard Neal, Joe Crowley, Peter King and Jim Walsh, wrote.

The Irish American Unity Conference said it applauded the letters, describing them as an effort to address the stalling of the Northern Ireland peace process.

May 26-June 1, 1999

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