Category: Archive

Visa hopeful Kavanagh does his bit

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Kavanagh, author of a book on the 50 American states, has been trying to land a Schumer diversity visa for the past ten years, without success.
While a few hundred Irish do manage to lay claim to the highly valued visas, Kavanagh has been one of a far larger number of hopefuls swept aside by an annual tidal wave of applications from around the world.
No matter — absence doesn’t mean you have to be helpless.
And it was with that thought in mind that Kavanagh took copies of his book, “Fascinating Facts & Flags of the Fabulous Fifty States,” into the streets of Dublin on a recent weekend for a sale in aid of Hurricane Katrina victims.
Kavanagh set up his stall in both O’Connell and Grafton streets.
And the reaction from Dublin shoppers, strollers and curious tourists was pretty well, as he had expected.
“Altogether I sold 90 books at cost price, ten euro, so I was able to raise $1,245,” Kavanagh told the Irish Echo.
Kavanagh told buyers that the money for his book would go directly to the American Red Cross.
“I know it’s only a drop in the ocean, but people were great and each customer wanted to have a bit of a chat,” said Kavanagh.
“They were glad to give something and at the same time learn a bit about the U.S.
“The Americans who stopped couldn’t believe what I was doing and one woman even broke down in tears,” he added.
Kavanagh’s one-man relief mission did not stop with deeds.
He got in a few words too.
Some people were critical of his efforts and took the view that the Americans could look after themselves.
Kavanagh stood his ground.
Beyond that he spoke on a popular radio talk show when the issue of Irish government aid to the Katrina victims was being discussed.
“I pointed out all that the U.S. had done for Ireland down through the years, Europe in particular and the world at large. Therefore it behooves us to show some sort of solidarity and gratefulness,” Kavanagh said.
Apart from this, he added, the Red Cross was not a government organization so any beef that critics of his effort might have with the U.S. government was wide of the mark.
Kavanagh raised an additional couple of hundred dollars from book sales the following weekend.
He sent the combined sales total in a bank draft to the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C.
Kavanagh — who was born in 1963 and named after President Kennedy — said he was still longing for the day when he strikes it lucky in the visa lottery so that he could make the same transatlantic journey as his check.
He will be applying for one of the next batch of diversity visas when the time comes this month.
He isn’t getting his hopes up too high.
Still, Kavanagh has a kind of faith in the future that is almost, well, American.
“Stars and stripes for ever,” he said.

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