Irish Heritage Month; The Big Reveal; and Racism


Editor’s Corner: Irish Heritage Month; the Big Reveal; and Racism
By John O’Brien, Jr. @Jobjr

WHAT a month! God, it is fun to be Irish; thank you for this blessing and many others.

There is so much to see, to do, to share within, we had to SuperSize this issue. I am so proud of all our writers, graphic artists, sales pros and delivery team that rallied so magnificently to put this, the largest issue in our history, together.

Although we celebrate, love and are grateful for so much, as publisher of iIrish, I would be remiss in not addressing the bias against the Irish that seems to keep popping up, even near-on a century after the No Irish Need Apply mentality ruled far too many in America. City of Cleveland Safety Director Kerri Howard railed against the Irish for taking so many police and fire jobs back when – even though they were often the only road out of poverty, out of Irish Town Bend, and many other places too.

I believe he is being honest when he said the next day that he was trying to illustrate that the Irish, who suffered so much discrimination, “created a culture of change by becoming part of the institution they sought to reform.”

The inevitable post-backlash apology arrived, and perhaps showed even more of the deep-rooted bias most often seen today against our Black brothers and sisters, but this time coming from one of them.

Kerri, Mayor Bibb and Police Chief Drummond all spoke about accountability throughout the evening. I have worked with Kerri peripherally on a few issues. I was stunned to hear the comments and he must be held accountable for them.

Yet, I will give him the benefit of the doubt, and hope he just didn’t convey what he was trying to say completely.

You can see reporter Mark Puente’s tweet and live video of Director Howard’s comments:

You can see the cartoon that followed the remarks at:

I have known and worked with Mayor Bibb a few years now, and I admire him. He is accomplishing significant and impactful things in Cleveland. I relish the opportunity to assist him any way I can to accomplish even more.

Mayor Bibb is sincere, a hard, hard worker and a man of best practices and vision, who won’t let the negative mentality so prevalent in our past stop positive actions and the push to be a better city, and better people. I believe Mayor Bibb’s apology is sincere, and accept it as such.

Injustice and Heartbreak in America
I have said many times that the injustice and heartbreak inherent in the journey for Black Americans has so many similarities to the injustice and heartbreak in the journey of Irish Americans. It is uncanny.

I have tried to convince Black American leaders, like Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, to share their stories as we share ours, side by side in iIrish, and let people read the similarities, so obvious to historians, for themselves. I know it is a path fraught with landmines, so most won’t touch it.

Did You Know that 38% of Black Americans claimed some Irish descent in the last U.S Census?
I am proud to have them as my brothers and sisters; my life and my family is richer. My fellow Americans, hurts can’t hide that bias still exists. I will say no more here, now. All men and women are created equal.  I am just so sick of the hypocrisy.

Back to the Good Stuff
In another striking similarity, between two of our coverage cities, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. I completed an Inner View with Michael Lamb for this issue. Michael is running for County Executive for Allegheny County – the similarities between the two cities and the two cities Irish American populations are striking, even beyond Cleveland adopting that same county executive over three commissioner form of government, to tackle corruption, ten years after Allegheny County did.  How many can you identify in the column, whose short version appears on Page 6-8, and long version appears on our website?

The Big Reveal – 2023 iIrish Person of the Year
2022 revealed our first iIrish Person of the Year, Danny Chambers (link to that column). Today, we are very proud to announce the 2023 iIrish Person of the Year … Mr. Patrick Murphy.

Time and again, Patrick has been recognized as one of the top personal injury lawyers in his field. We have sought his counsel, benefited from his advice, and are proud to have his friendship.

That said, that is only a small part of who Pat is. Pat graces our cover to start, and the story is inside, on pages 10 thru 12.

Movies, Books, Pins
Make sure you check out Christopher Johnston’s new movie, The Ascension of Mary Mulligan, showing locally on March 11, and watch this space and our social media for many more dates, to be announced. You can purchase tickets for the Treelawn showing here:

The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians (LAOH) have a beautiful new pin this year, to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday
Agreement. Follow the graphic to get yours.

Celebrating St. Patricks Day History, Traditions, and Activities. A Holiday Book for Kids by John OBrien Jr. is available at or by mailing a check for $10 to iIrish 14615 Triskett Road, Cleveland, OH 44111.

Are you getting the iIrish eBulletin? It is delivered to your inbox every 2nd Wednesday, free of charge. Sign up on or our iIrish Facebook Page


Fish Fry
Fish Frys are now everywhere. What is your favorite spot to enjoy one? I try to test as many as I can each year, but always looking for new ones to enjoy with friends.

On the Road Again

I will be speaking on Irish Immigrants to Cleveland on March 8th at the Village in the Heights, and on March 9th, the 100th Anniversary of the Assassination of Michael Collins, as part of the West Side Irish American Club’s GOAT Festival weekend. Donnybrook columnist John Myers will also be speaking at GOAT the same day, on The Good Friday Agreement. GOAT runs March 9 thru 12th at the West Side Irish American Club in Olmsted Twp. 

March 10th, iIrish is sponsoring and will be attending the U.S. Vs. Ireland Boxing Tournament in Pittsburgh, and March 11th in the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade. On March 17th, iIrish will be marching in the Greater Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade and festivities.  I hope you will join us; supporters are always welcome. I hope you will at least stop by, share a nip, and say Hi.

iIrish is made in America. We have always been green and are proudly Irish, all year long.

Nuair a stapann an ceol, an damhsa déanann an amhlaidh

(When the music stops, so does the dance)



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