Category: Archive

Road epic accounts for Katrina-zone Irish

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

But it took a lot of tire rubber to make sure they were all safe.
With phone and internet communications severely damaged in New Orleans and along the ravaged Gulf Coast, a car was literally dispatched on a road trip of Thelma and Louise proportions in order to make sure that Irish citizens, some of them longtime residents of the affected areas, were safe and well.
Initially, the bulk of those who were giving cause for concern were accounted for in an operations spearheaded by the Irish consul general in Chicago, Charles Sheehan.
Phase Two involved David Healy, vice-consul general at the Irish consulate in New York and John Kane, the honorary Irish consul in Houston, Texas.
The two men spent several days driving from New Orleans to the Florida state line and knocking on doors before they were able to give the all clear to the Irish government.
“They managed to track down all the individuals by driving for hundreds if miles,” said a diplomatic spokesman.
Meanwhile, the Katrina relief effort being organized by the Ancient Order of Hibernians was gathering pace this week.
“There will be a lot of federal money hading for the affected area and we’re hoping to fill in some of the niches,” said the AOH national president, Ned McGinley.
“We’re off to a good start but so far we’ve only received pledges so it’s not possible to talk of firm figures yet,” McGinley said.
The effort was launched last week during a nationwide conference call of AOH leaders.
The Hibernians are planning to direct funds to affected members in the areas damaged by Katrina.
Catholic schools and churches that have been hit, especially those that may not be covered by insurance or eligible for federal aid, are being treated as aid priorities.
McGinley said that money collected would also be given to the Catholic Charities and Social Services network.
The Katrina fundraising committee is being headed by AOH national vice president Jack Meehan and includes members of the AOH and ladies AOH national boards as well as the national chaplain, McGinley said.
Tax deductible 501 (C)(3) charitable donations can be mailed to Hibernian Charity (HDRE) PO Box 818, Langhorne PA 19047. Checks should be made payable to “Hibernian Charity HDRE.”
The AOH estimates that more than 350 members of the organization have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
One of them is past national director Judge Jim McKay whose home is in the Lakeview district of New Orleans close to the 17th Street levee breach. Flood waters in McKay’s home peaked at 12 feet.
McKay’s home is a ranch house. As such is did not have a second floor. He and his wife Marie managed to escape the rising water with a few valuables and not much more than a change of clothes.
Meanwhile, Irish government financial relief is in the works with the bulk of a pledged

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