The Common Ground

Vol. IX, Issue 8

August 2011



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A Message from our President James J. Lamb


In 1986, a number of committed Irish American Congressmen, both Republican and Democrat, led by House Speaker Thomas ‘Tip’ O’Neill, created a mechanism that would positively and profoundly change the lives of generations of men and women from Ireland, North and South. The International Fund for Ireland was formed through congressional legislation to bring peace, reconciliation, and economic regeneration to those communities most affected by the Northern Ireland “Troubles.” This would prove to be one of the most successful campaigns for peace, advancing civil society, economic and community development in the history of the world.

For nearly twenty-five years, the US Congress, along with other nations’ policy makers, allocated resources to the International Fund for Ireland, based jointly in Belfast and Dublin, facilitating various programs to enhance communities; encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation among the two cultural traditions there; improve infrastructure; and create opportunities for business, trade, and investment. There is no denying the positive impact made by the IFI in Ireland. When you travel through Northern Ireland and the border areas today you see a very different landscape, both literally and figuratively, as compared to twenty-five years ago. In spite of the immediate financial crisis that grips Ireland, North and South, this is a very modern place. And while the peace process is tested regularly by dissidents from both traditions, the general consensus is that Northern Ireland has no intention of going back to the bad old days of the dirty war.

Yes, the International Fund for Ireland has done incredible work. And the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh has been a proud partner, delivering IFI Wider Horizons Programs since our inception in 1989. Approximately 17,000 young people have been transformed by the Wider Horizons Program in locations all over the world. Over 1300 of them participated right here in Pittsburgh. They have gone back to Ireland and Northern Ireland armed, not with weapons, but with skills. Ready to win not the war, but the peace.

Around the world there are any number of conflicts rooted in race, sectarianism, cultural difference, socio-economic class, etc. And the US government is active militarily and/or diplomatically in all of them. Among them Northern Ireland’s emergence from conflict to civil society has proven to be America’s most impressive, most cost efficient, most successful foreign aid investment.

The ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, and more so in the Republic today are economic. And when economies deteriorate hostilities begin to emerge, especially in working class neighborhoods where residents compete for jobs, access to good education, decent health care, and a better standard of living. With no intervention, a new generation stands to lose what we collectively won over the past twenty-five years—a civil society based on the rule of law, democracy, civil liberty and a free market economy. In order to prevent another dirty war, new interventions are called for.

The United States Congress and the Administration spent most of this summer haggling over the debt ceiling and short-term economic issues. Most observers agree that political posturing on both sides of the aisle was a far cry from the consensus building of former leaders, like those men and women of 1986. Pandering to loud, though illogical messages, some members of Congress seek to eliminate any and all forms of aid to Ireland and other foreign lands where conflict continues to perpetuate unrest, inequality, poverty, and despair.   These members of congress and their constituents may not understand how small investments in peace and prosperity ultimately save tax payers money. That’s a topic for another essay some day.

Still, I am hopeful that when Members of Congress return in September they will be reminded of the great authority they have to profoundly impact future generations at home and abroad. I hope they pause to review the results of America’s twenty-five year contribution toward peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. I hope they realize that while peace there has taken root, reconciliation is just beginning. I hope they accurately assess the needs of Northern Ireland today, in this era of post conflict, modernity and generally civil society. I hope they differentiate between those needs and the needs of a region at war in 1986. I hope they agree to support and build upon the peace process with focused resources toward reconciliation, integration, and economic empowerment for all.



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

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IIP News


Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh 

In service to peace

The Irish Castle Vacation Prize Raffle

Ashford Castle – Galway       Dromoland Castle – Limerick         Clontarf Castle – Dublin

Roundtrip airfare for two - 6 nights accommodations - Car rental for 1 week 

 Donation $20

Winning ticket will be drawn December 19, 2011 at The Harp & Fiddle, 2329 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA15222

For more information, contact the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh at 412-394-3900

Cash or Check made payable to Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh

Prize Subject to availability of dates. Allow three weeks for booking.

If you think you can sell a book of 10 - please contact us. If you can sell a book - the 11th ticket is on us as a thank you!









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Employees in the majority of small businesses continue to face a pay freeze with the trend set to continue next year, a survey has claimed.

The Small Firms Association (SFA) study found wage increases were only being given to reward productivity and innovation.

Patricia Callan, SFA director, said job creation must be the Government's priority, arguing it is better to be on "reasonable" pay than have hundreds of thousands claiming benefits.

"While there is little or no wage growth in the Irish economy, moving forward it is imperative that if any pay increases are implemented that they are clearly linked to productivity gains if competitiveness is to be restored," said Ms. Callan.

The survey of 592 companies found that 76% have frozen basic pay rates this year, with 69% planning to continue the trend next year.

Some 7% have dropped wage rates by an average of 10%, with 3% expecting another 10% on average cut next year, and 13% have implemented a basic pay increase of 2.5% on average, with 22% expecting to increase basic pay in 2012 by 3% on average if their firms continue to grow.

"Basic pay increases are more likely to occur by exception on productivity and innovation grounds," Ms. Callan added.



Almost three-quarters of Northern Ireland businesses anticipate steady and sustained growth over the next decade, according to a report.

Despite strong economic headwinds including rising unemployment, high demand for debt relief and weak consumer demand, Northern Ireland company owners are the most positive in all UK regions about the potential for 10 years' time, said the report for Barclays.

Two-thirds of business leaders felt there would be much more foreign ownership of UK assets over the next decade.

Adrian Doran, head of Barclays' corporate Northern Ireland operation, said: "It is very encouraging that many businesses believe in the fundamental strength of Northern Ireland as a place to do business, and hopefully underlines that many of the challenges we are currently experiencing are temporary rather than permanent.

"It is also telling to see that locally based businesses are more positive about their region than the UK as a whole, showing the importance of regional development.

"The fact that 70% of Northern Ireland businesses are anticipating steady and sustained economic growth over the next decade should also be welcome news for a Government that is focused on developing a growth strategy."

He said the proposed changes to corporation tax could also boost investment.

The survey said 70% of Northern Ireland businesses expect steady and sustained growth over the next decade.

The research is based on a survey of 664 businesses of all sizes across the UK, and is part of a wider report on the predicted business landscape in a decade, 'Business 2021', which will be released next month. The sample includes 51 companies from Northern Ireland.

When asked to identify areas of growth, 89% of businesses in Northern Ireland identified the technology sector as one of the areas most likely to fuel economic growth over the next decade, while 86% cited the hospitality and tourism sector and 71% the manufacturing sector.


Trócaire has said it has received donations totaling €5.8m from the Irish public in response to its emergency appeal for the famine in east Africa.

The Irish charity said it is planning to spend €7.5m this year as part of efforts to respond to the crisis and will use the public's money to 'dramatically increase food distribution over the coming weeks'.

An estimated 10m people have been affected by drought conditions in large areas of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Trócaire said it will target its aid at 450,000 people and will aim to increase the amount of food, water, health and livelihood programs it has in the region.

During the week, charity group Dóchas, which represents over 40 Irish aid agencies, said the Irish public had donated over €12m to various charities dealing with the east African famine. A further €5.6m has also been donated by the state.




COVER your ears -- some of the world's top Formula 1 drivers will be roaring around the streets of Dublin next year.

On June 3, the streets of the capital will be transformed into a 'racing track' for the inaugural City Racing Dublin. The organizers anticipate crowds of up to 250,000 will attend.

Former world champions Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are all in talks to take part in the Dublin event. At least one of the stars will definitely come to the event, the organizers promised yesterday. Details will be confirmed by the end of September.

City racing, featuring high-tech F1 cars, has been taking place in Moscow and Rotterdam since 2006.

The event features demonstrations by drivers from Formula 1 with international racing cars and next year will see Dublin's quays and city center streets used as a F1 race track.

Lotus Renault, Vodafone McLaren and Ferrari have all taken part in events elsewhere, and participating stars have included Fernando Alonso, Vitaly Petrov, David Coulthard and Adrian Sutil.

"You normally pay a premium price to see a Formula 1 car racing past but here at Bavaria we like to do things differently and bring Formula 1 close to the public and free of charge," Peer Swinkels, a board member of sponsors Bavaria.

"We are sure the people of Dublin will experience an unforgettable day."

The three-hour event is free -- however, there will be some VIP tickets available to buy in coming weeks. Roads around the city center will be closed and diversions put in place the night before.

The route will go from the Convention Center next to the Samuel Beckett Bridge, head up to Trinity College, turn at the Central Bank and then zoom back to the quays.

There will be huge television screens placed all along the route so crowds won't miss a moment of the action. Patrick Cooney, managing director of Gleeson, said the day would be the most exciting event of the year.

"Having witnessed the event first hand in both Rotterdam and Moscow, I am confident this will be a great event and will be supported by both the people of Dublin and all over Ireland. It will be the most exciting event in Ireland in 2012."

For non-car enthusiasts there will be a whole host of different activities taking place over the weekend including a Spiegeltent, fashion events, live music, and a gala dinner and, of course, plenty of Bavaria after-parties.








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A group of Irish coaches from the FAI have returned home from a two-week coaching camp for young people in the Middle East. 

The Football Village of Hope is an Irish-Government-funded project that brings Israeli and Palestinian children together to play football in the hope of breaking a cycle of hatred between both sides.

Political tensions are high between the countries at the moment, which caused problems for the organizers.

Israeli authorities withdrew visas from many of the children, and some Palestinian families were put under pressure not to participate in the camp.





Northern Ireland's Health Minister Edwin Poots has said he hopes to ban tobacco sales from vending machines in the province from next February. 


It would be the latest in a series of measures taken by the Department of Health concerning tobacco sales. They include an attempt to introduce regulations banning the display of tobacco products at point of sale as well as vending machines. 


Mr. Poots said he would consider views from everyone involved in the business.  He added it could be next spring before the ban on displaying products was introduced. 


University students interested in studying abroad in Europe now have new program options at top-ranking universities in Northern Ireland and Ireland through International Studies Abroad (ISA).

Beginning in spring 2012, ISA, one of the leading study abroad program providers in the United States, will offer programs at Queen's University Belfast and the National University of Ireland, Galway.

"Our programs offer students the opportunity to explore a different side of the Europe," said Jimmy Brazelton, ISA Coordinator of New Program Initiatives. "Students who study in Ireland or Northern Ireland will take courses with locals at renowned universities while immersing themselves in traditional Irish culture."

In addition to offering courses in Irish Gaelic, the programs feature student excursions to destinations such as Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Wexford, County Antrim, and Londonderry, to name a few, all led by on-site ISA staff members.

"As we gear up for ISA's 25th anniversary in 2012, we're excited to add Ireland and Northern Ireland to our growing list of study abroad locations," said Arturo Artaza, Executive Vice President of University Relations and Marketing. "We're pleased to be leading the field with on-site resident staff to support students in both Belfast and Galway."

Queen's University Belfast, founded in 1845, is the largest higher education institute in Northern Ireland and is recognized as one of the UK's 20 leading research universities. From Accounting to Women's Studies, ISA students can choose from over 3,000 courses in 100 different subject areas to fulfill academic credit requirements while abroad.

National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway, founded in 1845, is a leader in research and teaching. Hosting more than 100 student societies and sports clubs, NUI Galway encourages the integration of international students throughout the entire campus. ISA participants can join any of these student organizations or the university's popular volunteer program to enrich their experience abroad.

For more information visit ISA’s website







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Fourteen-man Dublin squeezed past Donegal in a dour, defensive struggle at Croke Park to qualify for their first All-Ireland football final since 1995. Both sides packed their defense, with Donegal adopting a particularly cautious approach, which looked as if it would pay off when they eased into a three points lead early in the second half.


A low-scoring encounter finally went Dublin's way, strangely after they lost full forward Diarmuid Connolly to a straight red card on 57 minutes. The Dubs managed just two points from play, but they just got over the line, and deservedly so, to set up a clash with Kerry in the decider. The game was almost nine minutes old when Colm McFadden treated a heaving crowd of 81,436 to the first score, from a free.


But it was McFadden's careless pass which gave Bernard Brogan the opportunity to go one-on-one with 'keeper Paul Durcan, but the Dublin attacker sent his shot zipping wide at the far post.


The Dublin attackers were never allowed an inch of space by a Donegal defense which suffocated its opponents with strength of numbers and intense pressure on the man in possession. Donegal also found it difficult to make progress against a packed Dublin defense, but when forced to shoot from distance, eased in front with a long range effort from Ryan Bradley. That was in the 24th minute, and was only the game's third score, a feature which had already drawn jeers from an increasingly frustrated attendance.


Man of the Match, Bernard Brogan converted his second free to bring the sides level, but that was to be the Metropolitans' lot in the first half. And Donegal finished with a couple of excellent points from play, a long distance Kevin Cassidy special and a delightful McFadden slice.


It was 0-4 to 0-2 in favor of the Ulster champions at the interval, and they had a glorious goal chance immediately after the restart when McFadden broke clear, but he blazed his shot over the bar.


Goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton landed a Dublin free, his ninth score of the championship, but McFadden restored the Ulster champions' three points advantage with another superb effort from play.  Defenses were still very much on top, but the introduction of Kevin McManamon was a major plus for Dublin, his strong running exposing some weaknesses in a Donegal rearguard unit which had lost key man Karl Lacey through injury.


A Cluxton '45 had just narrowed the gap to a point when Connolly was sent off for striking out at Marty Boyle, but that setback appeared to lift Pat Gilroy's side. They pushed on and scored the final three points of the game, McManamon bringing his side level, before Bryan Cullen and Brogan hammered home the final nails.


Dublin will now face Kerry in the All-Ireland Final in what should be a great game of football. Kerry last met Dublin in the final in 1984 and 1985 beating them on both occasions.



If you are interested in becoming a Host Family for the Wider Horizons Program in 2011, please contact Robert Tierney at or phone (412) 394-3900.





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September 9-11, 2011


21st Annual PIttsburgh Irish Festival at Riverplex, Sandcastle. Call or text 412-422-1113 for more information.


Fri 4pm-12 mid, Sat 11am-12 mid, Sun 9am-6pm

Adult - $12 at the door/$10advance
Child - 12 and under free
Senior/Student - $8 with ID
Friday 4pm-6pm $3 admission!

2011 Entertainment Line-up
Gaelic Storm
Makem and Spain Brothers
Screaming Orphans
Carbon Leaf
Tom Sweeney
David Kincaid
Colin Grant Band
Dennis Doyle 
Cahal Dunne
Alan Irvine
Bell School of Irish Dance
Burke-Conroy School of Irish Dance
Corned Beef and Curry
Guaranteed Irish
Mark Guiser
Matthew Craig and Kerry Tipper
Mike Gallagher
Patrick Regan
Pittsburgh Irish Reelers
Pittsburgh Police Pipes and Drums
Red Hand Paddy
Shovlin Academy of Irish Dance
Terry Griffith
and more to be announced!!

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 Gaelic Athletic Association (PGAA)

- a representative organization of the Pittsburgh Celtics, Pittsburgh Banshees, and Pittsburgh Celtics Youth



Pittsburgh Hurling Club (PHC)

-a representative organization of the Pittsburgh Pucas

Open Practices: Tuesdays @ 5:30pm, Frick Park



Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club (PIRC)




Become a regular at these local programs!

 The Echoes of Erin is marking its 22nd 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


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 -

Michael Murphy & TSRB

Na Gaels  -

Jack Puskar  -  

Red Hand Paddy  -

Rolling Scones  -

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, the Irish Emigrant, the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish Examiner, BBC, and other news sources.