Category: Archive

Vote outcome fuels optimism in New York

February 15, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

As voters went to the polls for last Friday’s referendum, New York’s Irish immigrants waited expectantly for news of what politicans were calling one of their homeland’s most historic decisions.

By Sunday, newspaper editors had notched up the type size as headlines heralded the resounding yes, and what many here hope is a new era in Irish politics.

In interviews over the weekend the city’s Irish residents shelved at least some of the caution they expressed before the vote to applaud a new opportunity for peace. And nagging concerns over dissident reactions to the agreement could not dampen growing hopes for the future.

“It’s the greatest thing that ever happened. I hope it’s a success, I hope it carries on,” said Donegal native Ed McCool, expressing the relief that many here felt over the results.

Taking shade from the blistering sun as they watched the games at Gaelic Park on Sunday, Donegal men, Donal Gallagher, Shaun Whyte, and Gary Dowd agreed – the 85 percent affirmative vote north and south was a step towards ending the strife.

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“It’s many years overdue. I think it’s going to hold, it’s inevitable. Will there be a down-side, of course there will? There’ll be some boys trying to destroy it, but it’s bound to come through in the end.” Gallagher said.

“The people want peace and why shouldn’t we have it. It should hold out,” Whyte added.

With the ruck of a hurling match behind her, Yvonne Gallagher, also from Donegal, said she believed the vote was a start in the right direction.

“We’ve no other chance at this point, if we don’t take this, we’ve nothing else,” she said.

Dubliner Keith McCarthy agreed: “It’s a chance for a bit of hope,” he said.

Mary Ryan from Waterford, said she thought the hard work that had gone into producing the Belfast document would help maintain the peace: “I think it’s great that they’re for it. We’re been looking for it for a long time and I’m delighted we’ve got the results we were looking for.”

Friday’s vote of acceptance may have delivered a sense of relief, but some at Sunday’s match were talking practicalities – the new Northern assembly, and how it would function. Assembly elections later this month will be the first ground-level test for the new settlement.

Micheal McGee, from Monaghan, standing with two friends, Jack Sullivan and Breandan O Buachalla, said the referendum was the first chance the majority of people had to express their views.

“There is always going to be a few people against it. Basically I think it’s going to work out for the best, maybe not in my lifetime, but it will work out,” McGee said.

“People were fed up. The day of the gun is dead. The few people shooting are the old school,” he said.

Dubliner Jack Sullivan said he believed with all the major parties involved, the agreement could now bring about change for the better, and had, at least, put a stop to the violence.

“There’s always going to be subsidary groups trying to do minor things, But we’ve to make sure peace doesn’t collaspe because of subsidiary groups.” said Cork native O Buchalla.

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