Read about the new Ambassador to Ireland, St. Patrick's Day, and much more!


The Common Ground

Vol. VII, Issue 3


March 2009



 Tune-in to KDKA this Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 8:30 A.M. to see Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh President James Lamb and Director of Training Rob Tierney as they speak with John Delano about Dan Rooney's new position.  They will discuss the excitement over Mr. Rooney's new job, appointed by President Obama, as Ambassador to Ireland.  They will also talk about certain issues that Mr. Rooney may face with his new job.  








Last Saturday, Pittsburgh enjoyed the annual St. Patrick's Parade. The Irish community here, to which I am proud to be a part of, marked the life and legacy of our patron saint. We took pride in our culture and found strength in our faith. We involved the greater Pittsburgh community in our celebration and enjoyed each others' company as Spring began to emerge.

This year, unfortunately, there was a dark cloud over our festivity. After a decade of relative peace in Northern Ireland, two soldiers and a policeman lie dead, victims of dissident paramilitary violence over the previous weekend. The pain and sorrow of their families was felt across the island of Ireland and in many places around the world. Pittsburgh grieves for them as well.

The trobles that plagued Northern Ireland for thirty years were effectively brought to a close with the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, a deal brokered by former US Senator George Mitchell. Since then, politicians from all sides of the conflict, with mandates from their constituents, have replaced paramilitary organizations and criminal elements to seek democratic institutions, justice and economic development. The people chose peace and democracy over violence and oppression.

There had not been an attack on security personnel in Northern Ireland since 1997. When the news broke earlier this month that one dissident gang murdered soldiers, followed by another gang's killing of a policeman, there
was some speculation and fear of widespread violence returning to Northern Ireland.

That is highly unlikely. The people of Northern Ireland have now enjoyed sustained peace and democracy. They will not let a handful of dissident criminals drag them back to the bad old days. And many external forces will continue to support the peace process in Northern Ireland. The people of Pittsburgh have been applying that pressure for years. Their support of organizations like the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh, the Conway Mill Trust, the American Ireland Fund, and other important Peace and Reconciliation initiatives, and their advocacy efforts through the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Irish American Unity conference are evidence of Pittsburgh's endorsement for peace.

The capacity of this community to respond to sorrows close to home, across the country, or half a world away is amazing. Concerned Pittsburghers here have worked together to save Darfur, to heal Haiti, to evacuate New Orleans, and to take back the streets of Homewood, the Northview Heights, and Beltzhoover.

We can continue to facilitate peace and reconciliation in Ireland, too. Like St. Patrick, we can reach out to help Ireland's poorest, most disadvantaged communities. We can bring hope. We can compete with and defeat those glorified gangs that recruit young people into lives of crime. We can encourage peace by understanding the conflict. Pittsburgh and it's
people have the resources to help lift them out of poverty and into opportunities for success at home. And these proven models that transform lives can be replicated for desperate communities in Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, and even the Middle East.

Pittsburgh would benefit as well. Visitors immediately impact the local economy. Good experiences here bring them back. The confidence gained here turns good ideas into successful companies. Partnerships forged here have the potential to create jobs. And young Pittsburghers exposed to international visitors are more likely to make their own journeys, expanding their world views, their opportunities and their chances for success upon their return to Pittsburgh.

A generation ago on St. Patrick's island over three thousand lives were lost in a dirty war that neither side could win. It took encouragement and pressure from outside sources, especially the United States, to bring about a sustainable and just peace. Our efforts for peace and prosperity in Ireland can not stop. Pittsburgh will continue to lead those efforts in Ireland and around the world.

Jim Lamb, President

Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh



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

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United States President Barack Obama has marked St Patrick's Day by naming Dan Rooney, chairman of the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, as Ambassador to Ireland.


President Obama, who met with Taoiseach Brian Cowen and held separate private talks with leaders from Northern Ireland, said Mr Rooney, a key campaign supporter was a dedicated and accomplished person.  “Dan Rooney is an unwavering supporter of Irish peace, culture, and education,” said President Obama.  “I have every confidence that he and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will ensure America's continued close and unique partnership with Ireland in the years ahead.”


Mr. Rooney is the co-founder to the American Ireland Fund, which has raised $300m for peace and education programs in Ireland, which also happens to be the land of his ancestors.


According to Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan,  Ireland will profit from a crackdown against tax havens by the G20 developed and emerging economies due to its low taxes. 

Mr Lenihan said that Ireland would profit because it is not classified as a tax haven in the United States or the European Union.  He said investors that had assets in English-speaking tax havens were already coming to Ireland, adding that Ireland's taxes of 12% were still relatively low compared to other countries.


Finance ministers, from the Group of 20 economies agreed, over the weekend to identify tax havens and take counter measures against them.  Several European countries, including Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland, said they would relax banking secrecy laws to provide more cooperation against tax cheats.


Also,  Mr Lenihan has said that Ireland is planning to introduce tough legislation to clamp down on what the paper describes as 'crony capitalism' and excess bank lending.  The measures will include a ban on cross-directorships and on chief executives becoming chairmen.


Taoiseach Brian Cowen and United States President Barack Obama met for over half an hour in the Oval Office on St. Patrick’s Day.  The Taoiseach spoke about the strength of the relationship between Ireland and the US.  This is Mr Cowen's first visit to the White House as Taoiseach.

 Later, the two leaders took part in the traditional St Patrick's Day Shamrock Ceremony, which symbolizes the friendship between the two countries.  Mr. Cowen was the guest of honor at the Annual American Ireland Fund Dinner in Washington.


That evening, President Obama and his wife, Michelle, hosted a St Patrick's Day reception as the White House.  Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers will also meet with President Obama during the celebrations.


During their visit, the leaders promoted business opportunities in Northern Ireland.


Ministers are  to hold four Cabinet meetings, over the next week, to agree plans to cut nearly €3 billion from State expenditure, and to raise a similar amount in new taxes by the end of the year.


The Department of Finance was expected to put “an options paper” to the meeting, and it would outline the revenues that could be generated from particular tax moves and savings from cuts. 


Ministers have not yet decided on the exact amounts that need to be cut from spending, or raised in new taxation. However, €5.5 billion is the approximation of the target, and  it illustrates the Government’s belief that the deterioration in the exchequer’s finances will continue throughout the year.


While the focus of Mr. McCarthy’s group is principally on reducing expenditure in 2010, it already has had significant impact on the options being investigated by the Department of Finance and other departments. Ministers are expected to offer up a list of savings including, capital spending cutbacks and labor savings from a recruitment ban.








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Over 600 jobs are being created in Newry, Co Down, following the expansion of an international company that provides call service centers.  French-owned firm Teleperformance currently has clients on both sides of the border or Ireland, and they hope some of the new posts will also attract people in the Republic.


Teleperformance, which is one of the largest employers in the world, opened a site in Bangor, Co Down, 12 years ago then expanded to Newry. The call centers provide customer contact services for clients like supermarkets and in the travel and health sectors.  The location has enabled the company to attract clients from the Republic.


The announcement of 610 jobs will bring the staffing level in Newry to over 1,000.  Northern Ireland's Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, who last month announced 140 jobs in the town, said the expansion of Teleperformance was a tremendous vote of confidence in the North. 


The First and Deputy First Ministers led a series of condolences and prayers, which were offered to Liam Neeson as he came to terms with the tragic death of his wife.


Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness issued a joint statement offering their sympathies to the family of the Ballymena-born actor after Natasha Richardson’s death in New York on Wednesday.


Mr Robinson said, “I would like to express my deepest sympathies to Liam Neeson and his family circle at this very difficult time. To lose his wife so young and so suddenly is surely devastating. I know that all of us, but particularly those in Ballymena, will be remembering the family in our thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time.”


Natasha Richardson fell during a ski lesson on Monday, March 16, and later in the day lapsed into a coma.  She then died of a large blood clot compressing her brain.   


The actress was first taken to Centre Hospitalier Laurentien, in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, 25 miles from the ski area. That hospital does not have neurosurgical services, so she was stabilized and transferred, by ambulance, to Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur, a trauma center 50 miles away in Montreal. She was ultimately flown to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, where she died Wednesday at 7:26 p.m.




The heads of both University of Dublin and Trinity College have announced a research partnership, which they say has the potential to develop 300 companies and thousands of jobs. They say the initiative would drive enterprise and innovation in a time of national crisis. Taoiseach Brian Cowen said it would attract international interest and establish Ireland as a research base.


Merging the research functions will make collaboration easier between the two universities and with enterprise agencies, who are anxious to move the Government's "Smart Economy" plans forward. 

The cost of establishing the joint project is €650m over ten years which the universities say will come from a variety of sources including Government and European funding and from the private sector.


Around 230 Dell employees, at the company's Cherrywood and Limerick operations, are to lose their jobs over the next six months.


While the company is not giving exact figures for the cuts, it is understood that approximately 10 percent of the staff are to be lost in Dublin and Limerick.


Meetings were held with 2,300 staff members at the two Friday morning, March 20. 


It is believed that 130 people will be let go at the company's operations at Cherrywood, near Loughlinstown in Dublin, with a further 100 losses at its plant in Limerick.


Management at Dell are briefing staff on a 10% cut in its staffing levels in Ireland.


Dell has already let 1,900 workers go in Limerick, and 250 in Cherrywood.






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Liverpool and Chelsea will renew their European rivalry after they were drawn in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Defending champions Manchester United will take on Portuguese champions FC Porto while Arsenal are pitted against Spanish side Villarreal.

The battle of Britain again pits old European adversaries Liverpool and Chelsea against each other. Liverpool reached the final in 2005 at the expense of the Stamford Bridge club, with then Blues boss Jose Mourinho seething as Luis Garcia's goal at Anfield, which decided the tie, was deemed to have crossed the line in front of the Kop.

The Reds again prevailed two years ago, winning a penalty shoot-out to make sure of a place in the final, which they lost to AC Milan - the team they had beaten on penalties to win the competition two years previously.

The first leg will take place on April 8th- and Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry was relieved that the second leg at Chelsea will not take place on April 15th, the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

The first leg of the semi-finals is due to take place on April 28th-29th, with the return matches going ahead the following week

WidER HORIZONS 2009 - Host FaMily Program

We are in the processing of welcoming our first group of participants from the MAPP program.  They arrive, today March 20, and will be here until May 10th.  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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Help the Institute:


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

Saturday, March 21

     Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle, 2329 Penn Ave., in The Strip, 412-642-6622 features, ‘Prisoner’s Apprentice’, a new group of seasoned musicians with Christopher Laughrey on guitar & vocals, Casey Deely on vocals, Blake Rhaggatti on keyboards, guitar, percussion & vocals, & Matt Pickart on fiddle, bass & vocals).

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


Sunday, April 5

·        Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Bede’s Church in Point Breeze at 12:00 Noon with Fr. Bernard J. McGuckian, S.J. , Editor of the “Pioneer Magazine” and Spiritual Director from Dublin.  Lunch to follow, reservations required – Peggy Bond at 412-343-3040.  Fr. McGuckian will appear on TV-EWTN on Wednesday, April 8.

Echoes of Erin 1:00PM on WEDO 810AM – The Ireland Report with Patricia Sharkey, Editor of the Donegal News Letter,  


Saturday, April 11

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


Saturday, April 18

AOH Division 17, Monroeville presents Corned Beef & Curry 8:00PM at Club Rooms, Broadway Blvd. / Route 130, Monroeville.  Kevin O’Donnell at or 412- 613-3500


Sunday, April 19

The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, St. Anne Division 21, South Hills, celebrates 100th Anniversary with Mass and Brunch at South Hills Country Club beginning at 10:30 AM.  Tickets $30.00, call Eileen O’Malley at 412-341-2974 or email or President Jean O’Malley 412-531-3855.





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.