The Common Ground

Vol. VII, Issue 8


August 2009



Common Ground readers and other supporters of the Ireland Institute can now
follow Jim on Twitter. Log on to, and enter Jim's ID in the search tab.  His ID is jlamb1410.

You can now find us on Facebook! Go to and search Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh, and ‘become a fan’ to find out the latest news about our visitors or upcoming events.








The following is an excerpt from Jim Lamb's speech at the graduation held, for our 2009 Tyrone Donegal Wider Horizons group, on Thursday 13th September.

Tonight we are gathered to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of 21 young visitors to Pittsburgh. For the past eight weeks they have been living, working and learning, together, far away from home.

These young men and women from Ireland, North & South, Protestant and Catholic, grew up in communities that have been divided by sectarianism, fear, and despair. I would venture to bet that each one has been affected by the "Troubles" of the past 40 years. They've all had family members or friends killed or hurt or terrorized or persecuted, either by security personnel or paramilitary groups. And we won't be surprised to learn that they themselves have been victims of harassment. In Northern Ireland and a long the border, until very recently that's just the way it was.

True, the Peace Process we've all studied and read about has improved conditions to a great extent. in spite of their differences, Unionist and Nationalist politicians are working together in Stormont and in local councils across Northern Ireland. Residents of the south are traveling north in numbers greater than at anytime in recent history. authorities and other organizations are working co-operatively, North and South, in a way that seemed unimaginable just a few short years ago.

Still, in parts of Omagh and Strabane, where some of these men and women come from, the idea of mixing with the "other" tradition remains taboo.

In spite of that, these 21 young people have committed themselves to a program that encourages that mix. The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh, in co-operation with the Tyrone Donegal Partnership and the International Fund for Ireland, with support from the US, Irish, and UK governments, is proud to present to you tonight our 62nd Wider Horizons group graduation.

Now, this group is particularly interesting to me for a number of reasons. First, all 21 of them had the stamina and discipline to make it through the entire eight weeks. They should be commended for that, as most Wider Horizons groups typically lose a participant or two due to homesickness and the rigorous nature of the Pittsburgh program.

Second, this is a group that did as much for Pittsburgh as Pittsburgh did for them. Let me explain. Over the past eight weeks, these young men and women have been working in day camps across the region. They themselves were mentors to some of Pittsburgh's most disadvantaged young people. In placements at the YMCAs in Hazelwood, Homewood and the Hill; at Gwen's Girls, and at various organizations caring for the physically and mentally challenged, these 21 gave of themselves to improve conditions in Pittsburgh, if but for one summer. For years I've spoken to you about our collective outreach to Ireland's most disadvantaged...and here we have tonight a group of young people, assisted by our efforts, to reach out to our own young people. I think that's outstanding and I want to recognize that special gift that they gave Pittsburgh.

Along with our academic partner, Duquesne University, our amazing host families and our quality work placements, we have worked to provide an atmosphere of equality and opportunity. 

Jim Lamb, President

Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh



Please submit your feedback to:  Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh * Regional Enterprise Tower

 * 425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1410 * Pittsburgh, PA 15219 or

Call/fax our offices:  Telephone:  (412) 394-3900  * Fax:  (412) 394-0502

To subscribe/unsubscribe or comment on this newsletter please send an email to:










return to top


More than 67,000 people have been billed incorrectly since Barrier Free Tolling began on the M50 (which circles Dublin City) in August last year. They also show that 12,500 people a day are not paying their toll within the required time. However, the operators say the system is improving. 

Barrier Free Tolling on the M50 began last August, with it came freer flowing traffic but it also resulted in a barrage of complaints. 

The system has been misreading 200 cars a day. That has resulted in more than 67,000 people being issued with incorrect notices to date. But the system has also been unable to read about 160 cars every day, so over 54,000 motorists have literally gone under the radar. Around 12,500 journeys a day are not being paid for within the required time. 4,000 notices are being issued daily to those who have not paid within 14 days. 2,500 people a day are failing to pay up by the final deadline of eight weeks resulting in penalty proceedings being issued. However, BetEire Flow who operate the system say it is improving and that the number of complaints and problems are declining.



Last week, around 57,500 students received the results of their Leaving Certificate exams. 

This year's results followed previously seen patterns of low achievement in mathematics and science subjects.

The number sitting higher level mathematics fell, with only 16% of students sitting the paper. 

Once again there was a low uptake of physics and chemistry at higher level and high failure rates in all science subjects.

After the emergency rescheduling of the second English paper (a disaster we covered in June's Common Ground), students' results in that subject are broadly in line with those of previous years. 

While there are minor fluctuations, the State Examinations Commission said the rescheduling of the paper did not adversely affect the quality of this year's scripts.

Meanwhile, Minister for Education Batt O'Keeffe congratulated all who sat the examinations.

He urged those who received good grades in maths and science subjects to consider third-level courses in these areas.

With the first round of CAO (higher educational institutions body that centrally processes applications for college places) offers are due out next week, Minister O'Keeffe said students who do not get the results they hoped for should not despair.


Meanwhile details of 1,000 part-time post-graduate third-level places for unemployed workers in September have been announced by the Minister .

The new places will be in the country's seven universities and 13 institutes of technology across a wide range of specialist, higher diploma and graduate certificate-level programs.

The move follows the minister's allocation last week of 1,500 part-time undergraduate college places for the unemployed. 




Ryanair has said it will further reduce the number of flights it operates in and out of Dublin Airport this winter. The low-cost carrier said it will have 14 planes based in Dublin this winter, compared with 18 a year earlier, while the number of flights will fall by 20% to 1,000. The airline had already said in June that it was cutting the number of planes at Dublin to 16 this winter.


Ryanair has claimed Dublin Airport was one of Ryanair's most expensive airports - along with Stansted - and also blamed the cuts on the Government's €10 tax on airport departures. It said it estimated that overall traffic at Dublin Airport this winter would drop by 250,000 from a year earlier.

Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary called the tax 'insanely stupid', claiming it was devastating Irish tourism. The Dublin Airport Authority said Ryanair's decision was based on the downturn in the economy and pointed out that six of the airline's top ten routes this year were from the airport. 



One third of all police stations in Northern Ireland may close over the next two years.

Senior PSNI officers are to ask the Policing Board to sell off 26 stations, because they are spending millions of pounds on maintaining bases that are not used any more. 

Over 60% of the 108 police stations in the North are only open on a part-time basis, and 20 are considered to be effectively closed as they have not been used for operational duties for some time.

Sinn Féin supports the move, but unionists are against the sell-off, particularly of bases close to the border in Co Fermanagh because of the threat from dissident Republicans.


Early August saw the first pre-clearance US bound flight leave Shannon Airport in the south west of the country. It enabled passengers to go through both US Immigration and Customs inspections before departing Ireland.

The agreement was announced by the US and Irish Governments last November and sees Shannon become the first European airport with pre-clearance for the US.

The move is seen as granting unique status to Shannon, opening a range of potential opportunities for services and setting it up as an international aviation gateway between Europe and the US.

Speaking last November, Shannon Airport Director Martin Moroney said that having pre-clearance at Shannon will also 'reduce processing costs and connection times for airlines, again enhancing the airport's attractiveness to carriers'.

Limerick and Mid-West TD Niall Collins today said: 'This is the first step in a boom for Shannon Airport as passengers throughout Europe realize the benefits of clearing customs before traveling to the US.'

Mayor of Clare Tony Mulcahy described the opening of full custom and border protection services at Shannon as a 'landmark development for the County Clare hub and the Mid West Region'.

He said that the delivery of the new facilities 'underlined the resilience of the Mid West Region and the argument for a fully independent Shannon Airport Authority.'







return to top



Dublin Bus has announced details of a new 50c, City Center Fare designed to facilitate shoppers, visitors and workers traveling in the city center. The move follows, what Dublin Bus says is, the successful introduction of the new College Green Bus Corridor. The company says the fare will help to further improve people's mobility and access to the city. 

It will apply all day, seven days a week on frequent bus routes. Dublin Bus says that already 500 people per day are availing of the new fare. It says customers should look out for a City Center Fare sign at bus stops. To avail of it onboard, customers simply ask for the 'City Center Fare,' according to Dublin Bus.


Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness has said she is alarmed at 'the abject failure of the Government' to plan for the future of agriculture. Speaking after she opened the National Livestock show in Tullamore, Ms McGuinness accused the Government of focusing on a dangerous agenda of slashing farm supports.

However, speaking on RTÉ's This Week program earlier, Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith rejected claims from farming groups that he was not doing enough to support farmers. Around 60,000 spectators attended the Co Offaly event, which is the largest summer festival for Irish farmers. The Tullamore Show had been growing spectacularly during the early parts of this decade. However, poor weather conditions forced the late cancellation of the event for the last two years.

After these disappointments, the organizers have found a new venue for the show.

It was held on the 260-acre Butterfield Estate near Blueball, which is about 3km outside Tullamore. There were 650 trade stands at the showgrounds in Blueball and some of the best livestock in the country is on display. Speaking at the show, IFA Deputy President Derek Deane said the event was an important show-piece, highlighting the significance to the economy of Ireland's €2bn beef and livestock sector.

Mr Deane said there is real anger and frustration among farmers over cutbacks in Government spending on agriculture, and warned it would be a massive own goal by the Government if it imposes An Bord Snip Nua cutbacks.






return to top


Did you know that American Football is alive and well in Ireland?! 


The Shamrock Bowl is the ultimate prize in the Irish American Football League's calendar. The IAFL season started at the end of March and from the beginning, two teams dominated proceedings: the Dublin Rebels and the University of Limerick Vikings.


Winners for the last two years, the Vikings began with a pre-season friendly against the Philadelphia Blue Flame (a US Police and Firefighter's football team), in Co. Kerry where they came out on the wrong side of a 22 - 3 loss.


Despite that pre-season loss, the Vikings went on to have a tremendous season, finally beating the Dublin Rebels in the Championship Game - the Shamrock Bowl - with an overtime field goal to win by 9 - 6.

The game was played at the Shaw's Bridge Complex, Belfast in front of around 500 vocal fans and the Sandy Row Falcons Cheerleaders added a touch of glamour to proceedings. Defense dominated from the start in what turned out to be a low scoring game.


The Viking's Running Back #36 Adrian Garvey (a distant cousin of the Bus!) carried the ball into the endzone from 3 yards, though the snap on the point after attempt was fumbled and the score stayed at 6 - 0.


The Rebels Offense rallied and six minutes later Rebels #8, Sam Hodgkins carried in from 11 yards out to level the scores and the chance to go in front was blocked by the Vikings.


The second half was played hard and fair by both sides but they were unable to put anymore points on the board and the game ended in a tie.

This was the first time that a Shamrock Bowl game had ended in a tie and sudden death overtime came into force. The Rebels received the ball and started at their own 28 yard line. On third down and six, Rebels Quarterback, #16 Andrew Denehy passed the ball towards #81 Barry Flinn but up stepped Vikings #12 , JP Nerburn who picked the pass and returned it to the Rebels 30 yard line.

Strong running from Garvey brought the ball to the Rebel's 18 yard line, where they were faced with a fourth down and eight and elected to go for a game winning field goal which was converted by #5, Daniel Smith from 33 yards out.

Adrian Garvey was voted MVP for the second year in a row.

The party in Limerick is due to end any day now. Congratulations to the Vikings!


Our third group of the year, from Monaghan and Portadown, are expected to arrive on Thursday 3rd September. They'll be here for eight weeks. If you are interested in becoming a Host Family for the Wider Horizons Program, please contact Robert Tierney at or phone (412) 394-3900.





return to top


















































Our Mission:




Help the Institute:


Sunday, August 30

Irish American Unity Conference will sponsor a ‘Hunger Strike

Commemoration’ Mass at St. Patrick’s Church, 17th Street &

Liberty Ave. in The Strip, 10:00AM with Fr. O’Donnell



September 3 – 6

The National Festival of Wales hosted by Pittsburgh’s St.

David’s Society, at Hilton Hotel.  There will be Concerts,

Seminars, a Welsh Songfest plus more. 


September 10 – 26


Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, Crime and Punishment’ at

the Henry Heymann Theatre, 412.561.6000. 

Tickets: ProArtsTickets at 412.394.3353, online

Saturday, September 12

Hibernian Hunger Project "Produce to People" Braddock location 9th

Street & Talbot Avenue Braddock Pa. at 8:30am.  Information: Terry

Callahan by Email: or Kevin O’Donnell

Email: or 412-613-3500. 

Friday, September 18

AOH Division 4, North Hills are sponsoring their 2nd Annual Irish Heritage Classic at ‘Pittsburgh National Golf Club’ in Gibsonia PA.  Registration / Lunch 11:30AM; benefits the Tuition Assistance Fund.  Information: Patrick Regan 412.338.1123 or Bob Parry 724.933.0427



Pittsburgh Celtics GFC Schedule 2009

Sept 12 - Pittsburgh Irish Festival vs. Mason Dixon GAA (Sandcastle)



Pittsburgh Banshees LGFC Schedule 2009

Sept 12 - Pittsburgh Irish Festival (Sandcastle)

Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club 2009 Schedule

        Regatta Site 2009                     Regatta Date 

         Albany, NY                                August 29 
        Annapolis, MD                           September 19 

For more information contact:


Check Performance Schedules, Etc.

Aran from Johnstown PA -    

George Balderose  -

Carnival of Souls -

Ceann  -

Cue Ball Music

Cahal Dunne  -

Tony Egan   -

Michael Gallagher  -

Terry Griffith 

Guaranteed Irish    -

Hiraeth  -

Hooley  -

John McCann  -

Corned Beef & Curry - http://

Michael Murphy & TSRB

Na Gaels  -

Jack Puskar  -

Red Hand Paddy  -

Rolling Scones  -


Pittsburgh Irish Dance Schools

            Bell School of Irish Dance

            Burke Irish Dancers

    Pittsburgh Irish Reelers

    Shovlin Academy of Dance

    Pittsburgh Ceili Club


Pittsburgh Irish Sports

Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club (PIRC)

    Pittsburgh Banshees

    Pittsburgh Celtics     

become a regular at these local programs!

 The Echoes of Erin is marking its 21st year!  It airs every Sunday afternoon at 12:30-2:00p.m. on WEDO, 810 AM.  Diane Byrnes continues to provide Irish music, news, and other great information from the Emerald Isle.  Keep up the good work, Diane!


Paddy's Pour House located on Main Street in Carnegie, PA hosts live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night starting at 9:00 p.m.  Tuesday nights, come for Irish Night: Guinness, Smithwick's, and Half and Half specials 8-12 p.m.  For more information, visit their website or call (412) 279-0770.


Catch the Thistle and Shamrock every Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. on WYEP 91.3FM for Celtic music performances and discussions.


We're always looking for events to include: If you'd like to include your next event in this newsletter, please send event information including date, time, location, admission cost, and contact information to





A Celebration to bring together the Pittsburgh community for three days of Celtic camaraderie. Our goal is to contribute to the rich cultural expression of Irish history and tradition that exists in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Irish Festival is also the largest Irish party in the city!


HIGHLIGHTS: Traditional and contemporary entertainment, Irish food and refreshments, Irish 
marketplace, children’s activities-performances-sing-a-longs, storytelling, Irish dance workshops and performances, ceili dancing, Irish dogs display tent, special Gaelic Mass (Sun 10 am), Gaelic conversation, Irish musical instrument demos, Teen Zone, Hedge School, Gaelic Sports, Blarney Bingo, darts, and more!  


DATES: September 11-13 2009 (Friday- Sunday)


TIMES: Friday 4pm-midnight, Saturday 11am-midnight, Sunday 9am-6pm


LOCATION: Riverplex (between Sandcastle and Waterfront, behind Costco Wholesale) 1000 Sandcastle Drive, West Homestead (Pittsburgh), PA 15120 


ENTERTAINMENT: Gaelic Storm, Pogey, Scythian, Slide, Ceann, Graham Wright of the Glengarry Bhoys, The Prodigals (Sunday only), Cahal Dunne, Dennis Doyle, Michael Murphy and the Shannon River Band, Matthew Craig and The Kerry Tipper Band, Red Hand Paddy, Hooley, Mike Gallagher, Burke Conroy Irish Dancers, Pittsburgh Ceili Club, Pittsburgh Irish Reelers, Bell School of Irish Dance, Shovlin Academy of Irish Dance, Terry Griffith, Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh, Mark Guiser, Alan Irvine, Patrick Regan and many more to be announced! (Program subject to change)


ADMISSION: $8.00 adult advance, $10.00 at the gate, $8.00 Senior (60+) and Students with ID, $5.00 Military Active/Retired with ID, $3.00 children (3 - 12 years), under three is free! Tickets can be purchased at the gate or in advance at $2.00 ADMISSION FRIDAY 4:00-6:00PM, HALF PRICE ADMISSION FRIDAY 6:00-8:00 WITH COLLEGE ID. SUNDAY DISCOUNT FOR PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS.


SPONSORS: Costco Wholesale, Guardian Storage, PA Dept of Community and Economic Development, Murphy’s Irish Stout and Irish Red Beers


INFORMATION: For more information, schedule of events, future mailings, or involvement, please call 
(412) 422-1113 or visit our website at . Travel packages –  or 


CONTACT: Nan Krushinski - Executive Director


The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh’s mission is to promote mutual understanding of the Catholic and Protestant traditions in Northern Ireland and economic development throughout all of Ireland. The Institute fulfills its mission by providing quality programs in job training, economic development, leadership development, educational alliances and reconciliation. The Institute is a change-oriented organization that collaborates with industry, educational and government institutions in the development of all programs.

The Ireland Institute relies on its donor and volunteer network to continue its mission of mutual reconciliation and economic development. Your generosity is kindly appreciated.

The Ireland Institute is available to accept donations through the United Way. Please remember our code for the United Way Campaign of Southwestern Pennsylvania: 4534. We are also listed as a non-Profit under the Combined Federal Campaign. Our number is: 12438. A third option is to donate through the local Federal campaign. This number is: 9016.

If you prefer, a tax-deductible donation can also be made directly to the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh. The Ireland Institute also appreciates in-kind donations such as event tickets etc. that we can then distribute to our participants.

For further information or questions about how you can donate, please contact us at 412-394-3900.




 All articles are adapted from www., the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish Examiner, BBC, and other news sources.