The Common Ground

Vol. VIII, Issue 6


June 2010



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 Jim_Lamb.

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For months now, I've written about Northern Ireland's progress toward peace. It has been an incredible journey marked with courage, confusion, and doubt, among many individuals and organizations. In spite of the naysayers, the dissidents, and the criminal elements that seek to maintain the ”Troubles,” a new order is taking hold, thanks to the concerted efforts of governments, political parties, corporations, community organizations, and ordinary people, in Ireland and in the US dedicated to peace and prosperity for all.

As I have studied the road to peace in Ireland, I've concluded that these various efforts, including investment in businesses, pressure from voters, commitments from community leaders, and support from people like you and me, were crucial to establishing civil society in the North. This is a lesson to good men and women around the world intent on resolving conflict. It takes effort at all levels toward that noble goal.

Moving forward I hope and expect the Northern Ireland peace process will involve greater collaboration among businesses, government, and communities. Imagine corporate investments creating jobs in disadvantaged areas, creating wealth for families, sustaining peace and prosperity.

We're working currently with venture funds, community groups and others to create these opportunities in Belfast and across the North. the sum of all efforts toward peace and prosperity is greater than its individual parts. In concert, government, business and community represent a terrific common front against terrorism. The Institute intends to coordinate these efforts to enhance their impact.

Join us. 




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

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                                                IIP NEWS

Over the last month some of the graduates have arrived on our Carbon Zero Northern Ireland Program. The program centers around the Green/Renewable energy sector and will see 12 graduates from Northern Ireland spend a year in our region. We still have a number of placements to fill - so if you know anyone working in this sector, please have them give us a call. Thanks to all those employers in Pittsburgh who have already considered this innovative program. Stay tuned!

Our 1st Wider Horizons group of the year arrived on Monday 21st June. 18 intrepid young people from Tyrone and Donegal will intern at various summer camps throughout the city - learning how organizations such as the YMCA, Gwen's Girls, and United Cerebral Palsy help their client groups. While here the young people will stay with host families throughout the Pittsburgh area.









On June 15th, the British government released a damning report into the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre, placing blame overwhelmingly on the British soldiers who killed 14 people in Northern Ireland that day.


The 1972 shootings at a civil rights march in Londonderry hardened anti-British sentiments in Northern Ireland, according to analysts, and led to many fresh recruits to the Irish Republican Army. Three decades of violence followed, known as The Troubles, in which almost 3,000 people died.


There was some provocation by the Irish Republican Army in Derry on that day, but nothing that justified the shootings of civilians, the report found.


British paratroopers on that day had no reason to believe they were under threat from the victims, gave no warnings before firing, and lied to the far-reaching official inquiry into the seminal event, the inquiry concluded.


Only one casualty was associated with the IRA, and he was probably not posing a threat when he was shot fatally, the report found.


Members of the British Army fired more than 100 rounds in violation of orders issued to every British soldier serving in Northern Ireland at the time, the report found.


"Some members of our armed forces acted wrongly ... and for that, on behalf of the government, indeed on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry," British Prime Minister David Cameron said after the release of the long-awaited report.


The crowd in Londonderry that gathered to hear the verdict of the inquiry cheered when Cameron announced that the first shot was fired by British soldiers, and that none of the victims had been armed. 


Tony Doherty, the son of one of the victims, told the crowd "the truth has been brought home at last."


"It can now be proclaimed to the world that the dead and the wounded of Bloody Sunday -- civil rights marchers, one and all -- were innocent, one and all, gunned down in their own streets by soldiers who'd been given to believe that they could kill with perfect impunity," he said.


Bloody Sunday has been considered by many as one of the greatest injustices of Northern Ireland's troubled history. 


The June 15th report found no indication the soldiers were firing at people they thought were posing a threat or that they missed, the report said.


"All the casualties were either the intended target of the soldiers or the result of shots fired indiscriminately," it states.


The report also added that the soldiers in Derry that day who were interviewed by the inquiry lied in their testimony. "Many of these soldiers have knowingly put forward false accounts in order to seek to justify their firing," it said.


Addressing the question of how high responsibility for the massacre should go, the report overwhelmingly placed it with the soldiers who were on the ground, along with their commander, who decided to launch the incursion. The report said there is no evidence that either the British or Northern Irish governments "intended, planned, or foresaw" the events of that day, or that either government tolerated or encouraged the use of "unjustified" lethal force.


Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service said it would review the report to determine whether any criminal case would be launched as a result.


"It is not practical, at this stage, to say when such decisions will be taken other than to indicate that the matter will be considered as expeditiously as possible," prosecutors said in a statement issued after the report.


The Bloody Sunday investigation, which cost more than $280 million and heard from 2,500 witnesses, lasted more than a dozen years -- making it the longest-running such probe in British history.


The soldiers who opened fire on Bloody Sunday insisted they were threatened by people with weapons. 


That's what they told the first inquiry, which came out 11 weeks after Bloody Sunday, and they were largely cleared of wrongdoing.


But ever since, the truth about Bloody Sunday has been disputed. Relatives of the victims have long maintained their family members were innocent and were not armed.


Tony Blair announced the new investigation in 1998, less than a year after he became prime minister, saying the original government probe had been too hasty and that new evidence had come to light in the decades since the killings.


The aim was not to place blame, but to find the truth about what happened that day, Blair said.


Investigators heard from current and former members of the British military and paramilitary, forensic experts, journalists, priests and police. Some military witnesses gave their testimony anonymously.


No one was given immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony, but if anyone does face prosecution as a result of the investigation, their testimony to the Bloody Sunday probe cannot be used against them.


The findings raise the possibility of soldiers being prosecuted, which could reopen bitter divisions between Northern Ireland's largely Protestant unionists, who want to remain part of the United Kingdom, and largely Catholic republicans, who want to join the Republic of Ireland.



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An Irish activist detained by Israel during the raid on the Gaza aid flotilla told an Oireachtas committee of his ordeal.

Shane Dillon, who was deported from Israel on Tuesday, appeared before the Foreign Affairs Committee this afternoon.

Mr. Dillon told the committee that no-one aboard his vessel the 'Challenger 1' offered any physical resistance to the Israeli troops who stormed it.

Instead, he said, only verbal resistance was offered and that the Israelis were clearly informed that the flotilla was an aid/peace flotilla.

Mr. Dillon said that other vessels had turned on fire hoses when the Israeli vessels approached the flotilla, but that at no stage had water cannon been used by the vessels of the flotilla.

He said the Israelis had used stun guns, assaulted people with the butt ends of rifles, pushed people to the ground and stood on them.

Mr. Dillon told the committee that the commandos also used paintball guns and smashed windows.

Fianna Fáil's Michael Woods, who chairs the committee, said it is an issue of concern that Israeli Ambassador Dr. Zion Evrony declined to come before the committee to answer questions about the incident.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called for Dr. Evrony to be expelled from Ireland.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said five other Irish people forced to leave Israel have arrived in Turkey.

A sixth is still in Israel because of problems with his passport.

A crowd of about 1,000 people, some chanting anti-Israeli slogans, welcomed the three aircrafts, which had been chartered by the Turkish government. 

These planes carried over 460 activists who were on the boat which was seized and the bodies of nine activists killed when Israeli commandos took control of the six aid vessels.

The nine dead are eight Turkish nationals a US national of Turkish origin.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on Israel to lift its naval blockade of Gaza, describing it as 'counter-productive, unsustainable and wrong.'

The Israeli government had earlier said it was vital for the nation's security and would stay in place; however, Mr. Ban said Israel had to change its policy.

The Israeli army stated that its commandos resorted to force after they were attacked with sticks and stabbed as soon as they landed on deck.

However, organizers of the so-called 'Freedom Flotilla' denied the Israeli account, saying the soldiers began firing as soon as they landed.

US Vice President Joe Biden said Israel had a right to act as it did and US Middle East envoy George Mitchell warned that the tragedy should not be allowed to undermine the peace process.

Israel has rejected a bid by the UN Human Rights Council to set up an investigation.

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed that the Middle East Quartet - the EU, the UN, Russia and the US - join the investigation.

Meanwhile, the Irish-owned vessel, the Rachel Corrie, continued to sail towards Gaza with its 1,000-tonne cargo of medical, educational supplies and cement, a material Israel has banned from being imported into Gaza.

'Everybody was very upset at what happened. Everybody has been more determined than ever to continue on to Gaza.'

Israel offered to escort the vessel and deliver the civilian aid for it and said Egypt was prepared to do the same.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel would not allow its Gaza blockade to be breached.

'No ship will reach Gaza. The Rachel Corrie will not reach Gaza,' he told Israel Radio.

Mr. Graham said, however, he would be open to an escort from the United Nations.




An author of one of the banking crisis reports has told an Oireachtas Committee that international factors must be taken into account when outlining the reasons for the crisis.


The reports criticized the Government's fiscal policy and the system of regulation in the Irish financial sector, as well as the lending policies of Irish banks.


Klaus Regling told the Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service that it would be easy to blame one or two people or institutions for the banking crisis, but said that analysis would be too simple.

He said international factors must also be taken into account when outlining the reasons for the crisis.


Mr. Regling's co-author, Max Watson, said the international environment included bad and dangerous banking practices, which were missed by supervisors.


Mr. Watson said where regulation existed, banks attempted to get around it.


He listed a number of international factors which he said created 'an accident waiting to happen'.


Fine Gael Finance Spokesman Richard Bruton said the report portrayed the perfect storm that led to the crisis.


Mr. Bruton said nobody wanted to take away the punch bowl and that the Government fuelled the flames.


Mr. Watson said that by 2006 it was no longer possible to envisage a soft landing for the economy and people were taking a risk on the boom.


He said that what happened was not a one-bank problem and that senior policy makers lacked information on the banks.


Mr. Regling said it was not part of their remit to scrutinize the internal Department of Finance policy formation, but said overall the fiscal policy was not sufficiently counter-cyclical and that tax expenditure got out of control.


He also said there was not much in the way of good advice being given to policymakers.


Labour's Joan Burton described the Department of Finance as a 'ghost' in the report that is never mentioned.


She said that the Department was simply not at the races in terms of highlighting emerging banking issues.


Ms Burton also asked how a functioning Department of Finance could not be aware of the problems that were emerging in Anglo Irish Bank.









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The Government's new support price structure for bio-energy - the use of natural materials for the production of electricity - has been announced.

The guaranteed support price (REFIT) will range from 15 cent per kilowatt hour to 8.5 cent an hour depending on the technology deployed.

The technologies supported include Anaerobic Digestion Combined Heat and Power, Biomass Combined Heat and Power and Biomass Combustion, including provision for 30% co-firing of biomass in the three peat powered stations.

It is hoped the new structure will help the development of a sustainable biomass supply sector and drive demand for biomass.

Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan said this new Government support price has the potential to contribute to economic recovery in rural Ireland as well as reducing our overall national dependence on imported fossil fuels.

However, the Minister said that in many ways this is only the start of work to progress bio-energy in Ireland.

IFA Alternative Land Use Chairman JJ Kavanagh has welcomed the announcement, but said growers will be disappointed that the prices announced are not sufficient to stimulate the bio-energy market.

JJ Kavanagh said Minister Ryan must ensure that the support prices announced today come into effect as soon as possible as growers are anxious to move into the new market arrangements without delay.


 During the second day of her official visit to New York, President McAleese opened an exhibition on The Great Hunger, called An Gorta Mór.

In an earlier address, the President said that anyone with the slightest knowledge of Irish history will know the central role played by the issue of hunger in our historical narrative.

Mrs. McAleese added that the fight against global hunger is still a priority of Ireland's foreign policy.

On May 23, 2010, the final day of her official visit to New York, Mrs. McAleese attended the city's official commemoration of the Great Famine at the Irish Hunger memorial in lower Manhattan.

The President also attended a ceremony at a synagogue where over 150 years ago members of the Jewish community collected money for famine relief in Ireland.

Afterwards, President McAleese and her husband Martin attended a special famine mass at St Patrick's Cathedral.

Her visit ended this afternoon when she attended the official New York commemoration of the Famine at the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park.


Over 20,000 people have attended the opening ceremony of Special Olympics Ireland at Thomond Park in Limerick.

Two thousand athletes will compete in 14 different events over the next four days - all hoping to qualify for the international games in Athens next year.

It is billed as the biggest sporting event in Ireland this year in which 1,900 athletes will take part in 14 different sports ranging from aquatics, equestrian, gymnastics, golf and table tennis.

The majority of sports are taking place at the sports arena at the University of Limerick, but there will be action at a number of other venues throughout the city.

Successful athletes will go on to represent Ireland in the World Games, which will be held in Athens in 2011.

The Special Olympics is a massive logistical event with 3,500 volunteers, 650 coaches and up to 5,000 family members involved in getting the games under way.

The Cranberries will perform at tonight's opening ceremony, marking their first performance in their native city for over 15 years.

Special Olympics Ireland CEO Matt English said Limerick is ready for the games, which he said will be nothing short of amazing.



The leader of the Progressive Unionist Party, Dawn Purvis, has resigned following last Friday's murder of Bobby Moffett on the Shankill Road in west Belfast.

In a statement, Ms Purvis said she could no longer offer leadership to a political party, which was expected to answer for the indefensible actions of others.

Ms Purvis became PUP leader in 2007 following the sudden death of David Ervine.

She was the party's sole MLA and has indicated that she will remain in the Northern Assembly as an Independent until next year's elections.

Cllr. John Kyle has been selected as the PUP's interim leader.


RTÉ.ie News: O'Connell Street National Library of Ireland - Clarke Collection

The 1901 Census was made available online on June 3, 2010 with over 4.5m individual records from 850,000 households.

Previously, information from the 1911 Irish census was the earliest available data. 

This new site contains records from the 32 counties of Ireland, which were taken on census night in 1901.

On the website, people will be able to view the Census and perform a variety of searches under forename, surname and county as well as more advanced searches including religion, occupation, Irish language proficiency, specified illnesses and literacy status. It will now be available free of charge for everyone across the world to access and research.


Hotel and business leaders in Killarney are urging the Government to invite Queen Elizabeth II to visit Ireland and Killarney next year.

2011 is the 150th anniversary of Queen Victoria's 1861 visit to the Co Kerry town, where she stayed for a number of days and toured the area.

Sean O'Driscoll, of the Kerry Branch of the Irish Hotels Federation, said it would be appropriate now for Queen Victoria's great-great granddaughter to return to the area.

Mr. O'Driscoll said the visit would be a huge boost for the town, where UK visitors are drastically down on other years.

He said a €20m marketing campaign could not generate the publicity that a visit by the Queen would.


The Court of Appeal in Belfast has rejected a legal bid to overturn a 270-year-old ban on the use of the Irish language in Northern Ireland court proceedings.

The judge ruled that giving individuals the right to convert court forms from English into a language not understood by the vast majority of the intended recipients would frustrate the interests of justice.

After the ruling, Irish language activists called for the introduction of an Irish Language Act in Northern Ireland.

Spokeswoman Janet Muller said there was clearly a major issue with a law that bans the use of the indigenous language of Ireland in the courts in a part of Ireland.






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The man they call G-Mac - Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell - has won the US Open at Pebble Beach after finishing level par, one stroke ahead of France's Gregory Havret. 


McDowell, from Portrush, is the first European to win the tournament since England's Tony Jacklin in 1970 and the first Northern Irishman to win a major since Fred Daly in 1947. 


The 30-year-old shot a three-over-par 74 to finish at level par for the tournament and join Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite and Tiger Woods as US Open champions at the famous California links. 


The drama had come early in his round as playing partner and overnight leader Dustin Johnson squandered a three-shot lead at the second hole to blow the final round wide open, with McDowell rising to the challenge as others, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, faltered. 


McDowell, the world number 37, follows another Portrush native Fred Daly, winner of the 1947 Open Championship, as a major winner but he had almost not made the field after his tie for 28th at the BMW PGA Championships gave US Tour players Scott Verplank, Michael Sim and Brian Gay the chance to oust him from the world's top 50 rankings with their finishes at the Byron Nelson Championship. 


They failed to do so and McDowell got in, going on to win the Celtic Manor Wales Open two weeks ago and bringing that winning form to Pebble Beach to lead this tournament at halfway. 



If you are interested in becoming a Host Family for the Wider Horizons Program in 2010, please contact Robert Tierney at or phone (412) 394-3900.





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Our Mission:





Help the Institute:


Saturday, June 26

        The next feis coordinated by Pittsburgh volunteers is The Celtic Fling Feis located at the PA Renaissance Faire in Hershey, PA on June 26, 2010.  Registrations for competitions can be made at  If you would like to get involved in volunteering at any of the feisanna in the area, please contact Jim Graven (724-834-0233 or    Volunteers with data entry skills, construction skills, or just warm, friendly people skills are welcome! 


        Ancient Order of Hibernians, Allegheny County Board presents “Let’s Dance!!” featuring The Mansfield 5; Opening with Don Obusek’s tribute to ‘The Magic of Elvis’.  Castle Shannon Fire Hall, 3800 Library Road; Doors open at 6:30pm; Show starts at 7:30pm.  Donation $20.00, includes snacks and refreshments.  Limited Seating.  Information & Tickets, Rich O’Malley 412.401.3945.


Sunday, June 27

Pittsburgh Gaelic Football, Celtics vs Cleveland St. Jarlath’s at Cleveland. 


Wednesday, July 7

         Kennywood ParkMark your Calendars for our annual Irish Day at Kennywood.  Did you know that the Irish Centre is the coordinator for this event each year?  The board has scheduled the entertainers, including the four local dance schools—all you need to do is pack your cooler and gather your family and friends.  Tickets will be available for $22 (ride all day pass) or $12 for a senior pass (I. D. required). Order your Kennywood tickets at Or, if you prefer, you can call 412-343-5461 or 724-864-2228 and get your tickets through the mail as in years past.


Sunday, July 11

Pittsburgh Gaelic Football, Celtics vs Detroit Wolfe Tones at Detroit; Banshees vs. Detroit St. Anne’s at Detroit.

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 Gaelic Athletic Association (PGAA)

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


Pittsburgh Hurling Club (PHC)


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.