CURRENT ISSUE:  OCTOBER 2023

Donnybrook: Sinn Fein Leading Polls

Recent polling by Ireland Thinks for the Sunday Independent shows Sinn Fein, Ireland’s oldest political party, with a significant lead over the two historic civil war parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. But not enough to form an outright majority in the Irish Parliament, the Dail Eireann.
 
Ireland has not had a one-party majority government in decades, coalition governments have been the norm in recent years. Currently the two historic parties are in coalition government. New elections are expected in 2024. The Ireland Thinks poll shows Sinn Fein winning 67 Dail seats, Fine Gael winning 40 seats, Fianna Fail at 35 seats, Independent Party 10 seats, Social Dem party nine seats, Labour Party three seats, and five seats to various smaller parties or independents.

While still only a poll, it is evidence of a seismic breakthrough for Sinn Fein to be seen as electable and in a position to lead and govern the Nation.  The Dail was recently expanded to 174 seats from 160 seats, and new districts were drawn up giving Sinn Fein additional opportunities. The new magic number will be 87 seats to form a government. 

This means the horse jockeying will be who will be Sinn Fein’s dancing partner to form a coalition government. Politically, Fine Gael seems a very unlikely partner, and the smaller parties would be a real challenge to knit all their differences under one banner, so that leaves Fianna Fail as the likely suspect.

A joint Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail coalition government would give a very comfortable majority of 107 seats. If one had told the man or woman on the street a decade ago that the political elite would be talking of a Sinn Fein led government, they would have thought you daft. While the election is still to be had and the only poll that matters is on election day, it is a remarkable turn of events to see Sinn Fein as the leader of the pack. 

Ahern in US

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will travel to Ohio to receive the Ancient Order of Hibernians Sean MacBride Humanitarian Award. Ahern will travel to Youngstown to receive this award at the AOH Presidential Testimonial Award Ceremony October 13th and 14th, 2023. AOH President Danny O’Connell is most proud to recognize the indispensable role Taoiseach Ahern played in the Irish Peach Process.

It is especially important to recognize Ahern’s work during this 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Accord. The award is conferred to memorialize the human rights contributions made by Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Sean MacBride (son of 1916 leaders Maude Gonne and John MacBride) and to recognize the efforts of others who make similar contributions in the cause of peace, justice, and the economic wellbeing of the Irish People.

For information on the Presidents Testimonial dinner contact: [email protected]. Congratulations to Ohio’s own Danny O’Connell for his tenure at the helm of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the largest Irish and Catholic fraternal organization in the U.S.A. 

A check in the amount of $10,000.00 was presented to St. Edward High School’s Institute of Innovation from the Pete Leneghan Entrepreneurship Foundation Run/Walk

Remembering Pete

The annual Peter Leneghan Entrepreneurial Foundation 5K walk and run took place on Labor Day Weekend last month. The Foundation was created after the early death of Pete Leneghan in 2020.

Peter was a serial entrepreneur, in particular, in the hospitality business. Pete’s dad, who helped open Cleveland’s “Pride of Erin” pub, inspired his sons to carry on the tradition of hospitality. Pete and his brothers were urban pioneers in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood, building the Treehouse Pub. Peter later went out on his own to build Stone Mad Pub and Restaurant in Cleveland’s Detroit Shoreway neighborhood.

The run and walk started at his creation, Stone Mad Pub. A bright sunny day helped Pete’s family and many friends celebrate his legacy. Pete was a graduate and star soccer player at Lakewood’s St. Edward High School. This year the Leneghan family and friends presented a check in the amount of $10,000 dollars to St. Edward school to support students at the schools

Custom House Studios and Gallery

Located in lovely Westport, County Mayo, Eire will host an exhibition by Irish American Artist Dr. Maureen O’Leary. The exhibition is entitled: By the Same Sea, Homes of the Irish Diaspora. Maureen’s work focus’ on every day, unremarkable things. Her work draws us in to see the mundane, every day in a different way, literally in a different light.

One can often sense taking a double take of everyday life as it might strike us in a different way. It seems O’Leary brings these to our consciousness by looking at her largely Irish American neighbors’ homes on Long Island. Some of Maureen’s ancestral family hail for County Mayo Ireland, in essence the next county over from long Island across the Atlantic Sea.

O’Leary says, “Observing the new homes, centuries later, the product of escape and rebirth from this tragedy, has inspired this body of work. Long Island homes and western Ireland homes remain, geographically, each other’s first and last points of contact, separated only by the Atlantic Ocean. These two sets of homes form an Irish American continuum, a metaphorical neighborhood.”

The Customs House Studios and Gallery in Westport will be showing O’Leary’s work September 28th through October 22nd, 2023.  Maureen will be present for the opening reception from 6 to 8pm on Thursday the 28th of September. This collection has been published in collaboration with Achill Island’s Red Fox Press.

Dr. O’Leary lives and works in Long Island, N.Y. and is the daughter of the late Thomas F. O’Leary and Washington, D.C. based, Irish-American activist Stella O’Leary. See maureenoleary.com.

Quinn Fetted

Cleveland based Gerry Quinn, host of Quinn’s Irish Radio Show, was recently feted by Mayo County Council. Quinn, a native of Ballina, County Mayo was accorded an official reception at the County Council house in Castlebar, Mayo.

The County Council took this time to honor Quinn for his tireless work over the decades to keep the ties between Ireland and the U.S. alive and vibrant through his radio program and with his help creating and building the Cleveland Mayo Society and The Irish American Club, Eastside. Gerry’s son Sean travelled with him, as well as radio co-host Colleen Corrigan Day, Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne and members of the Cleveland-Achill Twinning Committee. Congratulations to Mr. Quinn. See quinnirishradio.com

Twinning Cleveland and Mayo

A delegation lead by Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne and Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb’s Chief of Government Affairs, Ryan Puente, travelled to County Mayo, Achill Island to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of these communities being joined or Twinned as Sister Cities. Meetings were held with Mayo County Council, plus a dedication of a memorial park bench on the newly christened Mayo/Achill Greenway, was capped with a celebratory dinner at Alice’s at the Sound. 

Additionally, Ronayne meet with business and academic leaders to open the doors for continued economic and cultural exchange between Ireland, The European Union and Cuyahoga County. Special presentations were made by Majella Gallagher, Terrence Dever and Kenny Deery of The Achill Development Group, Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiuíl (CFAA) to Kathleen & Con Mangan family, Andy Dever & Family, Colleen Corrigan Day and in particular to the family of Stephen & Ann Mulloy, who were the principal architects of formally establishing this twinning relationship. All shared a special salute to Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, who authorized and led the initial delegation. 

Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne and Mayo County Cathaoirleach Michael Loftus at dedication of 20th Anniversary Bench on Achills Greenway along the Wild Atlantic Way.

#BillofShame

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill is the formal name of legislation due to go into effect in May of 2024. After that date, London will ban any civil and criminal cases related to The Troubles. In a very rare moment of unity, to show what a shameful folly this bill is, ALL major political parties in the Six Counties have opposed the bill. 

Sinn Fein MP John Finucane stated, “The British Government’s flawed and irredeemable Legacy Bill has always only been about one thing – closing the door on families ever getting truth and justice. It is absolutely cynical and cruel that the British Government is forcing this bill through despite clear opposition from victims, all the political parties in this island, human rights experts, churches, the US, UN, EU and the Irish Government.” 

This is a whitewashing bill to protect the British Army and past Brit Governments. Expect an appeal by the Irish Republic to the European Court of Human Rights.  U.K. P.M. Sunyak is clearly thumbing his nose at the White House and bi-partisan Congressional leaders who have expressed grave concerns about the legislation.  This is what empires do.

Find this column and others from the Ocotber 2023 issue here!

John Myers

John Myers

John Myers, hailing from Dublin's Donnybrook neighborhood, is a legal professional with a rich background in both private and public law practice. He's a dedicated advocate for human and civil rights, particularly concerning Northern Ireland, and is committed to advancing the McBride Principles of Fair Employment and Irish Northern Aid. With a background in Amnesty International and active involvement in various political campaigns, Myers has made substantial contributions to the Irish-American community. He holds the role of Ohio State Director for the Ancient Order of Hibernians, with a notable list of accomplishments, including advocating for direct Aer Lingus flights to Cleveland and contributing to "Irish Cleveland." John is an attorney in Cleveland. He can be reached at [email protected]

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