The Common Ground

Vol. VII, Issue 7


July 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.








In the social service field we work to prevent violence and despair. These dreadful social ills drag down young people in our poorest communities. And too often they are passed on to future generations. 

Over the past century social scientists and governments have experimented with several ideas to prevent violence and lift the impoverished with the hope of breaking these cycles. Recently I observed a new twist to an old idea in this service—an innovation with international and multi-generational positive implications. Consider this: 

Young adults living in Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic grew up in the midst of one of the world’s most intractable sectarian conflicts. The most disadvantaged of this generation were likely candidates for paramilitary recruitment and criminal activity in their communities. Thankfully, interventions to engage them in productive, positive interactions in the community fostered self-esteem, assertiveness, better relationships, and greater opportunities for educational and career advancement. A significant number of these young people gravitated toward careers in the community and youth work field.

Today, in Pittsburgh twenty-one of them are working to engage our young people in meaningful, productive activities. Across Allegheny County in various YMCA day camps and other recreational programs this summer, Irish youth workers-in-training are teaching, coaching, mentoring, and involving Pittsburgh’s most disadvantaged children and youth, perpetuating a new cycle of community wellness.

These young men and women, speaking some form of English with unusual accents are showing up at camp everyday, sustaining relationships and maintaining order. And Pittsburgh’s youth are responding enthusiastically. 

Our Irish visitors remember youth workers who inspired them just a few short years ago to do great things, to avoid violence, to finish school, to stay active and to give back. I anticipate that a number of today’s camp attendees from Homewood, the Hill District, Hazelwood, and other neighborhoods will also emerge as tomorrow’s mentors, recalling the support they received this summer from Irish mentors. 

Pittsburgh continues to play a great part in resolving Ireland’s centuries-old conflict. Now we must work with governments and communities to heal the social problems that emerged from the Troubles—violence, despair, and other barriers to civil society. 

Imagine a group of young Pittsburgh counseling professionals working with disaffected youth in Dublin or Belfast or along the border. Imagine the power of an international mentoring program that encourages young people to improve their lives by working to improve their own communities with the help of international partners. 
We can improve on our good work in Pittsburgh and Ireland. And we can start today.

Jim Lamb, President

Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh



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

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The Department of Health has warned that up to 1m people could become infected with swine flu in Ireland over the autumn and winter.The department's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, has sent a letter to GPs and other medical professionals warning them that up to 25% of the population could catch the influenza A (H1N1) swine flu virus. Dr Holohan said this would put significant strain on family doctors, hospitals and intensive care facilities.

The letter was co-signed by the National Director of Population Health, Dr Patrick Doorley. So far 144 people in Ireland have contracted swine flu.

Elsewhere, the World Health Organisation is now warning that the virus is unstoppable.
WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan has also indicated the availability of a vaccine may be further away than had been anticipated. Information from clinical trials will not be available for another two to three months and experts said a vaccine may not be generally available until October. 



A call center which has lost an important contract said it is too early to say if the move will affect jobs. The French-owned firm Teleperformance has two large call centers in Newry and Bangor. It employs 400 at its site on the Quays in Newry and earlier this year announced it was recruiting another 600 staff. 

This week the Newry center lost the contract from the firm that runs the toll on the Dublin M50 ring road. As well as Sainsburys and the National Blood Service, the Newry call center also has a major contract with the troubled Irish sports pay television channel Setanta. Teleperformance said it was too early to make any evaluation on potential job losses. 

Company chairman Jeff Smith said they were working on measures to deal with the impact of losing the toll road work."Teleperformance is still working through the implications of this news and still assessing the options available to us and the impact to our Newry site," he said. 

"Teleperformance is a growing business and as one of the UK's largest contact center out-sources we run many other campaigns for clients and therefore have a number of
opportunities that we are working on that we believe will minimize the impact of this."






Such is the pressure on benefits offices in Northern Ireland, job seekers now only have to 'sign on' once a month, it has emerged. 
Previously people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) had to attend a benefits office fortnightly. Meanwhile, the latest unemployment total for Northern Ireland now stands at 49,500, it was announced on Wednesday. 


The figure represents an increase of 1,600 on the previous month. However, the Northern Ireland seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (6.3%) remains below the UK average (7.6%) and was also lower than the European Union (8.6%) and Republic of Ireland (11.1%) rates. 

Year on year, the number out of work in Northern Ireland has risen by 91%, which is higher than the overall UK increase (85.0%). 
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said Northern Ireland was "continuing to experience the negative effect of the global downturn".  "But I am committed to doing whatever is possible to mitigate the effect of the global recession in Northern Ireland and to ensure businesses are well placed to take advantage of economic recovery when it comes." 


Commenting on job seekers in Northern Ireland now only having to 'sign on' once a month, a Department for Employment and Learning spokesman said the arrangement was temporary for three months "in response to the impact of the economic downturn". "The social security agency has mirrored these arrangements in the remaining 10 social security offices to ensure equality of treatment," he added. 


Across the UK, unemployment rose by a record 281,000 to 2.38m in the three months to May.





The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the pace of falls in consumer prices quickened in June.

Prices fell at an annual rate of 5.4%, compared with a 4.7% annual drop in May. In recent months, prices have been falling at rates not seen since the early 1930s. Compared with May, prices dropped by 0.3%. Summer sales meant clothing and footwear prices dropped by 2.6% in the month. Mortgage repayments fell again as more ECB interest rate cuts were passed on to homeowners.

Food prices were also lower, but transport costs rose 1.5% as petrol and diesel prices increased. A breakdown showed that prices of goods dropped by 5% in the year to June, while services showed a fall of 5.6%.Clothing and footwear prices have fallen by more than 12% over the year, while housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels - the category which includes mortgage repayments - are down 25.6%.








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Hundreds of people have been gathering to pay their respects to what they believe is an image of the Virgin Mary in a tree stump in Co Limerick. There have been nightly vigils in the grounds of Holy Mary Parish Church in Rathkeale after workers spotted the similarities while cutting down trees.

Those visiting the site believe it depicts an image of the Virgin Mary and believers have come in their hundreds to pray and light candles.

A spokesman for the Limerick diocesan office said the 'Church's response to phenomena of this type is one of great skepticism.' 'While we do not wish in any way to detract from devotion to Our Lady, we would also wish to avoid anything which might lead to superstition,' said Fr Paul Finnerty. Rathkeale Community Council Graveyard Committee chairman Noel White said workmen sprucing up the church land saw the image when they cut the tree.

'One of the lads said look, our Blessed Lady in the tree,' Mr. White said. 'One of the other lads looked over and actually knelt down and blessed himself, he got such a shock.' 'It was the perfect shape of the figure of Our Lady holding the baby,' he said. Now thousands have signed a petition to try to keep the stump in the grounds permanently. However not everybody is convinced.

'It's only a tree' said local parish priest Father Willie Russell.


Irish people have become more aware about climate change in the last year, a new EU survey released today has revealed. Two-thirds of Irish people now say they are well informed about the ways to tackle climate change, up 7% on 2008. Although still lagging behind the Swedes, the most environmentally aware nation in Europe (83%), at 66%, Irish citizens feel better informed than the EU average (55%).

The "myth" that the Irish are less concerned about the environment than their European counterparts "also takes a knock", according to the European Commission representation in Dublin.

Irish citizens ranked 4th highest in the EU for making a personal contribution to fighting climate change. Some 74% of Irish people are taking action of some kind, with only citizens of Sweden, the UK and Slovenia being more engaged.

In spite of the economic crisis, 58% of Irish people still feel that climate change is one of the most serious problems facing the world.

Some 68% of Irish people think that fighting climate change will have a positive effect on the economy and create jobs. 


The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation said it is disappointed with figures that show an 18% drop in visitor numbers for May compared with the same period last year. The figures from the Central Statistics Office show a fall of 150,000.The number of visitors from Britain, Ireland's largest source of tourists, dropped by 23%, while the number of visitors from continental Europe fell by 20%. 

There was no change in the North American tourist market from last year.
Overall visitor numbers for the first five months of 2009 are down by over 10% on the same period last year.






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    The GAA have undoubtedly come a long way over the last few years, having opened their doors and embraced some non-national sports, including soccer and rugby. But have they gone a step too far this time? A decision has been made by the powers that be in the Association to import the special surface materials required to re sod Croke Park from our neighbours in Britain, meaning that our hurlers and footballers will effectively be playing Irish sports on British soil. This decision has been met with some rather mixed reactions. Fianna Fail senator Mark Daly is vehemently opposed to the idea- "This is symbolically a terrible signal for the GAA to be sending out. Given the history of the stadium and the pitch, I think the GAA should be doing more to source sod from within Ireland rather than importing it," However, according to GAA stadium director Peter McKenna, the specialist turf required is not actually available in Ireland.


Our third group of the year, from Monaghan and Portadown, started their pre-departure training this week We are expecting their arrival on Labor Day weekend. 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.





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Our Mission:






Help the Institute:


Thursday, July 9-Saturday, August 1

Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, 'Doubt' at the Henry Heymann Theatre, 412.561.6000, online @ . 

Friday July 17

Evening of Irish Entertainment with Whiskey Limerick at The Irish Centre of Pittsburgh, 6886 Forward Ave, Squirrel Hill. Doors open 7.30pm. Donation $20, if BYOB $10. For info, email Mary Clarke at or phone 724.264.2228



Saturday, July 18

Shillelagh Bash at the Lawrenceville Moose, 51st & Butler Streets in

Lawrenceville.  Fundraiser for Miss Smiling Irish Eyes, Bridget Byrne on

her trip to Warrenpoint, County Down for ‘The Maiden of the Mournes

Festival’.  Entertainment, Door Prizes, Irish Auction plus more. 

Information: Pat Byrne 412-781-3759.


Friday, July 24 – Sunday, July 26

The Cleveland Cultural Festival at the Berea Fairgrounds featuring Makem & Spain Brothers, Tommy Fleming, Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, Dennis Doyle, Cherish The Ladies, Irish Descendants, Fintan Stanley, Sean Wilson, Brendan Shine, Johnny McEvoy, Batt Burns, New Barleycorn, plus many, many more.   Phone: (216).251.1711 Toll Free U.S. Only: (800).485.8013.  E-mail:  Many hotels are within a couple of miles of the fairgrounds; Sheraton at the Airport is the Host Hotel. Admission $10.00, parking is FREE.  


Saturday, July 25

25th Annual St. Brendan’s Cup Curragh Regatta at All-States Marina, Glenfield, PA at 12:00 Noon.  Pittsburgh hosting Albany NY, Annapolis MD, Boston, MA, Columbus OH, Milwaukee WI, New London CT, and Philadelphia PA.  Awards Ceremony and Social takes place at Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle from 8:00 PM.  Information: Patrick Clark, 412.761.3897 or Email:


Mullaney's Harp and Fiddle first Island Get Away party with the Buffett Man Tom Watt, from 5pm on.


Wednesday, July 29- Saturday, August 1

The AOH Pennsylvania State Convention will take place at the Radisson Hotel in Greentree. Information: Denny Donnelly 412 276 9312, email or Patti Flaus Some programs open to the public.


Thursday, August 6-Saturday, August 22

Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, The History Boys’ at The Charity Randall Theatre, 412.561.6000.  Tickets: ProArtsTickets at 412.394.3353, online 


Sunday, August 16

LAOH County Board will sponsor a 'Lady of Knock' Mass at St Patrick's Church, 17th Street and Liberty Ave. in The Strip, 10am.

Pittsburgh Celtics GFC Schedule 2009

June 28 - @ Cleveland St. Pats
July 12 - Detroit St. Anne's (Founders Field, Indianola)
July 19 - @ Detroit St. Anne's
July 26 - Cleveland St. Pats (Founders Field, Indianola)
Sept 12 - Pittsburgh Irish Festival vs. Mason Dixon GAA (Sandcastle)



Pittsburgh Banshees LGFC Schedule 2009

June 21 - Cleveland St Jarlaths (Anderson Road, Shaler High School)
June 28 - @ Cleveland St. Pats
July 12 - Detroit Wolfe Tones (Founders Field, Indianola)
July 19 - @ Detroit Wolfe Tones
July 26 - Cleveland St. Pats (Founders Field, Indianola)
August 9 - @ Cleveland St. Jarlaths
August 23 - Midwest Final (TBD)
Sept 12 - Pittsburgh Irish Festival (Sandcastle)

Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club 2009 Schedule

        Regatta Site 2009                     Regatta Date 

         Philadelphia, PA                          June 20
         Columbus, OH                            July 11 
         Pittsburgh, PA                             July 26 
         Milwaukee, WI                           August 15 
         Boston, MA                                TBA 
        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 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.