Read about the local news in Limerick!


The Common Ground

Vol. VII, Issue 1


January 2009




This month's issue will feature the city of Limerick






letter from the editor 



Over the past 20 years, the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh's focus has been on finding peace and promoting reconciliation in Northern Ireland. This has been a worthy cause, met with great success. Meanwhile, in the South, several communities have been devastated by the recent downturn that hit the global economy this past year. And other places have continued to struggle having missed, altogether, the prosperity associated with the Celtic Tiger of the past decade.

One such place is Limerick. Just a few miles away from Shannon Airport, where the River Shannon flows into the Atlantic Ocean, this city of 80,000 is, per capita, the most crime-ridden place in Ireland, North or South. A few neighborhoods on both sides of the river, as well as one section of St. John's, the small island on the Shannon, are some of the most deprived, desperate places I have ever seen in Ireland. Abandoned and burned out homes, garbage strewn across lawns, roads, and nearby fields, and school-age children roaming the streets during school hours, indicate that something is seriously wrong here. This coupled with the news that DELL computers was leaving Limerick, shedding 2000 jobs, and various other companies downsizing in response to the poor economy, reminded me of Pittsburgh in the early 80s, when the steel industry collapsed, destroying families and communities across Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Having spent the past seventeen years at the Institute, I have had the opportunity to visit Derry's Bogside; Belfast's Divis Flats, Shankill Road, and Short Strand; Dublin's housing projects in Ballymun and Tallaght. At the time, I thought conditions in those estates were deplorable. Over the years, those places have improved, but Limerick's South Hill, Moy Ross, and St. John's Island remain desperate. Drugs, murder, and other serious crimes continue to plague this city.

Thankfully, there is hope. The University of Limerick is working with local leaders to develop regeneration plans on both sides of the Shannon and on the island of St. John's. And Pittsburgh has a role. Strategists in Limerick are talking with the Ireland Institute, the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild/Bidwell Training Center, and various Pittsburgh-area universities to develop new ways to engage the city's most challenged young people. This is yet another opportunity to showcase Pittsburgh's capacity to empower communities around the world by sharing our collective experience through hard times in our own history.

We are fortunate to have a strong Irish-American community in Pittsburgh, that is called upon regularly to help in such efforts. I envision that young people from Limerick, community development professionals, and ordinary students looking to improve their lives, will come here to work and learn and return home prepared to create and take advantage of better opportunities. The participation of Pittsburgh's Irish community on such initiatives, we already know, is invaluable. Those young people of yesteryear who spent time here are now raising families in peaceful communities across Northern Ireland. They are working in safe offices, stores, and factories without fear, providing for their families, just like us. Such is the dream for the people of Limerick.

I hope you will help make that dream come true.


Jim Lamb, President

Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh



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Dell announced, on January 8, that 1,900 jobs would migrate from their Raheen plan, in Limerick, to their newest Polish facility and to third party manufacturing units abroad.  According to Sean Corkery, Vice President of Operations EMEA, said that the job migration was part of the company’s $3 billion global review. He said, ““This is a difficult decision, but the right one for Dell to become even more competitive, and deliver greater value to customers in the region.”


Dell said that this was necessary to remain competitive and increase customer satisfaction. The manufacturing migration will be completed in a phased transition during 2009 and is among a series of steps Dell is taking to simplify operations, improve productivity, reduce costs and deliver even higher levels of customer satisfaction. Over 1,000 jobs are to remain at the Limerick facility.


An official press statement was released, by the company, which said, “a competitive severance packages would be offered to the staff, and that employment assistance would be afforded and every effort made to ease this transition.”


The 1,900 jobs will be migrated to Poland between April and November of this year with the transition completed by January 2010. 


Northern Ireland's "power-sharing" executive has announced a range of spending initiatives, worth almost £200m, to counteract the downturn in the local economy.


The measures will include a £150 fuel poverty payment to 100,000 low-income households, as well as increased expenditure on school repairs and health service facilities.


The initiatives were announced by Finance Minister Nigel Dodds, and are designed to help those worst affected by the economic downturn.


 Approximately €6m has been used for schools maintenance and road works, and that particular move will be used to help the construction industry. Planned investment of £115m in major construction projects will also speed up the process of production.


This new spending is occurring due to Northern Ireland's retail sector being boosted by unprecedented numbers of southern shoppers.





Power Media International announced the opening of a new, state-of-the-art office in the Riverpoint building in Limerick.  This will be a big economic boost for the city and the surrounding businesses. Power Media International indicates that promoting Limerick enterprise is what it’s all about, and Clodagh O’Leary, the account manager on the case, is key to continuing the firm's success to date.


Ms. O’Leary is a native of Limerick, and she holds professional qualifications in public relations. She is highly experienced in the areas of creative design and event management, obtained from her time with a Dublin-based marketing and communications agency. Ms. O’Leary mentioned that it is a tough time for businesses, but they still need to promote their services in order to compete.  She said, “Public relations is one of the most cost-efficient tools available, which can be a blessing when finances are tight.”


Power Media International is a rapidly expanding Public Relations and Media agency. The Limerick office, located in the Penthouse of the Riverpoint building on Bishop’s Quay, is their fourth office.  The remaining three offices are in Cork, which is the company headquarters, Dublin, and London.  


Mr. Leonard, who established the first civic trust in Ireland 25 years ago, was one of four people honored for their distinctive contributions to public life. Among the remaining three were Cynthia Carroll, chief executive of Anglo America plc, the second largest mining company in the world, Sean Donlon, former secretary-general of the Department of Foreign Affairs and chief of staff to former Taoiseach, John Bruton, and Daniel Tierney, author of the 1995 Tierney Report.


Mr. Leonard said, “I am delighted and very proud to be a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the university, and I am also very proud of Limerick Civic Trust, its members, and the support of the people of Limerick.”


The University of Limerick says that Mr. Leonard’s special contribution was “to shift the emphasis of the organization from group activities devoted to raising consciousness of the local architectural environment, and heritage to the direct undertaking of conservation projects.


Denis helped in the eliciting of donations, sponsorship, and membership contributions from the private sector, which could then be matched with EU and Government funding. The Limerick Civic Trust has undertaken 136 projects, at present day values estimated to cost 40 million euro.








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The funeral of the late Independent, Teachta Dala politician Tony Gregory, took place in central Dublin on January 7, 2009.


Around 600 people attended St Agatha's Church on North William Street for the funeral mass of 61-year-old Mr Gregory. He died on Friday, January 2, after a long battle with cancer.


Among those in attendance were President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, Green Party leader John Gormley and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams.


The Mass was celebrated by a friend of the family, Fr. Piaras O'Douill, and concelebrated by Bishop Eamon Walsh.  Fr Peter McVerry delivered the homily, and he described how Tony's legacy will live on in the constituents of the area for whom he worked because his presence gave people “pride, hope, and confidence in their dream for a better life."



Emergency legislation, to nationalize Anglo Irish Bank, has passed in the Seanad without a vote. There was confusion at the time, as the opposition was protesting that the debate on the bill had ended, with only 2 of 20 proposed amendments being debated.  The Bill now goes to the President to be signed into law.


For the Government, Green Party Senator Dan Boyle welcomed the Finance Minister's statement that regulation was to be improved.  The Dáil has passed all stages of the bill to nationalize Anglo Irish Bank.  Earlier, Minister for Finaince Brian Lenihan said the nationalization of Anglo Irish Bank is necessary “to address a major systemic threat in the banking sector.”  It was approved by a vote of 79 to 67 .


Earlier Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said it was not credible to ask the Dáil to pass a Bill that had only become available to his party at 9am this morning.  Labour's Eamon Gilmore said the Dáil should sit for the full week, as the Government plan would only allow each section of the Bill to be discussed for four minutes.


The party wants to ensure there is a full investigation into how the bank was operated, to remove secrecy provisions in the Bill, and to make the appointment of the assessor and board members more open and accountable.



It was a big night at the Golden Globes for some of Ireland’s finest actors.  Gabriel Byrne and Colin Farrell, both of Dublin, each won an award in the category of “Best Performance by an Actor.”  Byrne won for Best Actor in a Television Series, In Treatment, and Farrell won for Best Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in “Bruges.”


President Mary McAleese and Minister for the Arts Martin Cullen congratulated Farrell and Byrne on their Golden Globe wins. Mrs. McAleese said the awards were a "fitting recognition of the great talent" of both actors. “The nomination of four Irish actors, including Brendan Gleeson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, underlines the continuing excellence and reputation of Ireland in the performing arts.”


Meyers was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television series (Drama) for his role in the Canadian/Irish co-production The Tudors, while Gleeson featured in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) category for his part alongside Farrell in In Bruges .




The Oireachtas held a special joint-sitting in the Mansion House in Dublin to mark the 90th anniversary of the first Dáil.


The first meeting of Dail Eireann took place at the same building in January 1919 following the general election held the previous month, while Ireland was still under British rule.  By coincidence, that same day they saw the first shots fired in the War of Independence, when two RIC constables died in an ambush at Soloheadbeg, Co Tipperary.


Sinn Féin had won 73 out of the 105 Irish seats in the 1918 general election for the Westminster parliament, of which 25 were uncontested.  Unionists won 26 seats, and all but three of which were in what is now Northern Ireland, and the previously dominant Irish Parliamentary Party won six.


Unionists and members of the IPP refused to recognize the Dáil, and three Sinn Féin candidates had been elected in two different constituencies, so the first Dáil consisted of a total of 70 TDs.


In the event, a total of 28 members attended.  They elected Cathal Brugha as Ceann Comhairle, and a number of short documents were then adopted.






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Five Limerick players have been named in Gerry Smith's Republic of Ireland amateur squad to face Northern Ireland on Wednesday, January 28, 2009, at United Park in Drogheda.


Mark Sheehan (Regional United), Mark Doherty (Newcastle West), Keith Hartnett (Pike Rovers), Alan Barry (St. Michael's, formerly of Janesboro), and Paul Cummins (Aisling Annacotty) have all been included in the 18-man squad.  The Limerick soccer fraternity will welcome them


Concerns were raised in October when no Limerick player was selected to travel to Piemont, Italy for the qualifying tournament. Now, Mark Sheehan, Mark Doherty, Keith Hartnett, Alan Barry and Paul Cummins have an opportunity to make their presence felt.  Manager Gerry Smith has made it clear that this game represents a significant trial for any player wishing to push his way into the squad for next summer's prestigious finals.

WiDER HORIZONS 2009 - Host FaMily Program

If you are interested in becoming a Host Family for 2009, please contact Robert Tierney at or phone (412) 394-3900.





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Our Mission:




Help the Institute:


Please visit or call 412-394-3353 for details.

Saturday, January 31

        St. Andrew's Society  presents the Burns Supper, details, TBA.  Information: Cheryl Campbell

Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle, 2329 Penn Ave., 412-642-6622, in The Strip features entertainment 9:00PM.

Paddy’s Pour House, 215 East Main Street, Carnegie, features Ballad Singer, Mike Gallagher 9:00PM.


January 31 – February 2

Irish Festival Cruise aboard Celebrity Cruise Line’s ‘Summit’ sailing the Southern Caribbean.  Entertainment with Cherish The Ladies, The Black Brothers, Johnny McEvoy, Tommy Sands, Liam Tiernan, The Matt Cunningham Band, Don Stiffe, Donny Golden, Dan Stacy, and Maura O’Connell.  1-800-441-HARP.  Online

Sunday, February 1

Echoes of Erin’s 21st Anniversary – The Ireland Report with Patricia Sharkey, Editor of the Donegal News Letter,   Echoes of Erin begins 21st year broadcasting on WEDO.



Friday, February 13

The Great Guinness Toast takes place at:


Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle, 2329 Penn Ave., 412-642-6622, in The Strip

   Paddy’s Pour House, 215 East Main Street, Carnegie 


The Claddagh Irish Pub & Restaurant, South Side Works


Saturday, February 14


        AOH St. Patrick Division 4, North Hills will host their 250 Club Banquet at the West View Fire Hall.  Information Robert Parry,

     All Ireland Social at the American Legion Hall, 5857 Forbes Ave. in Squirrel Hill, 8:00PM.   Music with CCE Musicians.  Information: Ray Connolly at 412-373-7252.

Knights of Equity will sponsor a Valentine / Doo Wop Dance with a DJ, Party, snacks and beverages at the new Club Rooms, 1248 Evergreen Road, Millvale. Donation $15.  Information, John Webber, WSK, 412-758-5446.


Beginning Wednesday, February 18

A Course on ‘Names – Their Origin and Meaning’, at CCAC, Downtown Campus, 625 Stanwix Street each Wednesday for 6-weeks.  Dates: February 18 & 25, March 4, 11, 18, & 25 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.  Tuition $69.  To register: 412.391.1210.


Beginning Thursday, February 19

·        The Window to Ireland Culture Course takes place at CCAC, Downtown Campus, 625 Stanwix Street each Thursday for 6-weeks.  Dates: February 19 & 26, March 5, 12, 19 & 26.  Course Instructor is John Webber – to register: 412.391.1210, Tuition $69.  Or John Webber – 412.758.5446.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Fundraiser at Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle, 7:00PM.  Cultural Baskets, Raffles and Entertainment.



February 26,2009


Pittsburgh Celtics, LAOH Division 11,Pittsburgh Banshees Present:

The Wolfe Tones- @ 7pm

Finnigan’s Wake 20 General Robinson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212




become a regular at these local programs!

 The Echoes of Erin is marking its 21st year!  It airs every Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.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

Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club 2009 Schedule


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     

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 of furniture, housewares, event tickets etc. that we can then distribute to our participants.

For further information or questions about how you can donate, please complete the form below.


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