Read about the St. Andrew's Agreement



The Common Ground

Vol. IV, Issue 10


      October 2006



                 News Updates






letter from the editor 


According to reports and editorials generated from the St. Andrews Talks to rejuvenate the Northern Ireland Peace Process, it all comes down to the issue of policing.

Democratic Unionists insist that Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness must swear allegiance to the Police Service of Northern Ireland when he is nominated to the post of Deputy First Minister in the new Stormont Assembly. Sinn Fein argues that the PSNI retains significant remnants of its predecessor, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, a force steeped in anti-Catholic sectarianism and collusion with loyalist paramilitaries.

Once again, the parties and the two governments are at a crossroads. Such has been the character of this process. Oppose, seek compromise, and move forward. I remain optimistic that the parties and governments will get past this issue of policing. They need to be open to each other's ideas.

The DUP and others need to recognize and affirm the cruel policies of Northern Ireland's police that were accepted, incredibly in hindsight, only a few years ago. Many Sinn Fein members, including some of its leaders were objects of that abuse.

Sinn Fein, for its part, needs to recognize that the only way forward in a true democracy, is to stand in support of the rule of law. According to media reports, Sinn Fein, in fairness, does support that idea. Time will tell whether that commitment remains.

And both sides of the impasse have to put faith in the governments and each other to base their decisions on what's right, not what's politically advantageous.

All involved need assurances that the police service, its policies in terms of human resources, intervention, public safety, investigation, interrogation, surveillance, and crime prevention are legally and morally justified. Furthermore, when members of the force are accused of violations to these policies, they must be accountable to the people of the community. They also must be afforded the rights of due process.

It will be important to get this right, even if it does not meet the November deadline. Everyone has invested an incredible amount of time and energy to ensure a lasting and just peace in Northern Ireland. And we have never been as close to that goal as we are today.

 Jim Lamb, President

Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh


This month, we begin our series about Pittsburgh's Irish Organizations. As many of you know, Pittsburgh has a vibrant Irish Community that continues many of the country's great traditions from Sport to Language, Dancing and the Arts. But who are these organizations?


In our Letter from the Editor section Jim comments on the recent St. Andrews Agreement


There's also a look at how the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland's football teams are fairing.



Pittsburgh irish and classical theater (pict)

Founded in 1996, PICT, as it is more commonly known offers high quality, affordable productions of classical theater and works by some of Ireland's most prolific playwrights. Since its inception it has presented 31 main-stage productions (including 5 American premieres, 2 world premieres, and 2 successful international tours.)

Having just completed a successful season of plays and works by Samuel Beckett, PICT now looks forward to its December performance of "The Shaughraun". 

'The Shaughraun', meaning vagabond, or 'blaggard' as the eponymous character describes himself on stage, is written by a Dublin-born man with the distinctly un-Irish sounding name of Dion Boucicault.

It draws comedy and melodrama from sending up the social, political and cultural mores of Irish society at the time, with a cast of caricatures that boom and bluster their way through a complex plot that teases with twists as much as it delights with humor.

The Shaughraun plays the Charity Randall Theater in Oakland from 6th - 23rd December. For more details, log onto 


Please submit your feedback to:  Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh * Regional Enterprise Tower

 * 425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 300 * Pittsburgh, PA 15219 or

Call/fax our offices:  Telephone:  (412) 394-3900  * Fax:  (412) 394-0502

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BroadSoft, a US-based provider of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software, is to open a European operations center in Belfast, with support from Invest NI. As part of an estimated £428k investment, the company expects to employ telecommunications and software engineers within a year at the new facility, in the Northern Ireland Science Park. BroadSoft's Belfast operations center will complement the company's other technical support centres in supporting global customers on a follow-the-sun basis. The center also expands BroadSoft's capabilities to provide real-time technical support and training to its European customers.




Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern attended the 11th Annual Northern Ireland Economic Conference last week along with Graeme Hutchinson from the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment. Mr. Ahern said that cross-border economic issues required special attention in order to promote the growth of Northern Ireland and keep its growth in-line with that of the Republic. Mr. Hutchinson spoke of the continuing poor growth of the Northern economy when compared with that of the United Kingdom average. Of special concern to the conference attendees was the fact that 23% of graduates feel that emigration is the only way option open to them when trying to source their first post-college employment.


Irish and British political leaders have stated that devolved government could be restored to Northern Ireland by 26th March if their agreement is endorsed. After three days of intensive negotiations in Scotland, last week, Mr. Ahern and Mr. Blair unveiled the St Andrews Agreement. Key elements of the agreement include the full acceptance of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) by Sinn Féin and the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The proposal has been put to the Northern parties, who will consider it over the coming weeks before returning with their decisions by 10th November. Under the deal, a new Preparation for Government Committee will meet at Stormont, in Belfast, to agree priorities for a new power sharing government. By 21st November, special legislation will be introduced at Westminster to give effect to the St Andrews deal. The Assembly would then meet three days later to nominate a DUP First Minister and Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister. That would be followed by an Independent Monitoring Commission report in January, endorsement by the electorate early in March followed by the nomination of other ministers on 14th March.

Under the proposals, power would finally be devolved on 26th March next year.

Dr Ian Paisley and the DUP acknowledged that they are committed to the process saying that they would support the agreement on the plans for the office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams appealed to republicans, nationalists and unionists to carefully examine the proposals and be a part of the decision process.

The Chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, Professor Desmond Rea, also welcomed the proposals and said he was pleased there has been positive progress made.


New research on immigrant workers shows that they earn substantially less than similarly-qualified Irish workers.

The research, which was carried out by two economists at Ireland's Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), shows that an inability to speak English well was the key reason for the pay differentials.

The report, which was unveiled at the annual conference of the Dublin Economic Workshop in Kenmare, Co Kerry, also found that immigrant workers were only half as likely to avail of social welfare as native Irish workers.










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An application by nine nightclubs and pubs for extended opening hours to 2.30am has been rejected by Judge James O'Connor at the District Court in Tralee. Instead he has set the closing time at 2.00am in the interests of the public good. The judge made his ruling after he heard from Gardaí in Tralee, from which most of the applications had derived, that late night exemptions are fuelling violence. Objections to this latest order have been raised by members of the Vintners' Association, the organization representing publicans in Ireland.


Irish eyes were smiling last weekend as Michael Flatley said "I do". Thousands of well-wishers turned out to see the 49-year-old dancer and his beautiful bride Niamh O'Brien tie the knot at St Patrick's Church in Fermoy, County Cork. Flatley is best known for his part in Riverdance and Celtic Tiger, bioth shows which have played Pittsburgh in recent years. Unsurprisingly the lavish reception turned into something of a showbiz spectacular. Guests were treated to dancing by past and present cast members from Michael's many productions such as Riverdance and the multi-millionaire host also joined Irish folk band The Chieftains on stage for a 30-minute jamming session.


opportunities available to host a young person from Ireland or northern Ireland this summer!

This Summer & Fall, over forty young men and women from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland arrived in Pittsburgh to participate in our Wider Horizons program.  Both groups from Tyrone & Donegal and Monaghan & Armagh received on-the-job training, personal development, exposure to American culture, and new insights into the problems at home through conflict resolution.  After their program they participants return to Ireland, hopeful of securing employment and living in peace. 


A key success in both these programs has been our Host Family program - the young people are placed with host families during their stay in Pittsburgh.  Those of you who are currently hosting or have hosted participants in the past have our thanks for opening your hearts and homes.  No doubt you may be called upon again, but we also ask you to recruit any interested friends, neighbors, and co-workers.  Host Family help is vital in providing a positive and rewarding experience for the participants.


For more information on becoming a Host Family, please contact the Ireland Institute at 412-394-3900.  






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The Republic of Ireland's hopes of qualifying for the European Championship competition are fading. Defeats by Germany (1-0) and Cyprus (5-2) and a draw against the Czech Republic (1-1) have left Ireland with much work to do. The Championships which take place every four years will be held in various stadiums in Austria and Switzerland on 7-28 June, 2008. In order to reach the finals, each European team is divided into groups with the top two teams from each of the eight groups winning the opportunity to vie for the title.  The Republic's group consists of Slovakia, Wales, San Marino as well as the three teams they have already played. With each team playing each other twice - home and away - they still have a possibility of qualification but this remains slight. Unfortunately Ireland has failed to qualify for the European Championships since 1988!

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland, who share their group with Sweden, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Spain, Denmark and Iceland have gained some momentum after a slow start (3-0 defeat by Iceland) with a stunning 3-0 win over Spain, and a worthy 1-0 win over Latvia. The North have never made it to the finals and this campaign seems like their best opportunity for years.

















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The daytime Window to Ireland culture classes begin at the Oasis Kaufmann’s Downtown. Registration 412.232.9583. There are five classes – Oct. 4 & 11, Nov. 1, 8 & 29, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Reservations at Oasis at 412.232.9583. General Information with Jack Webber, Email:                                 Next class: November 1st 

Pittsburgh’s CCE & Ceili Club present a Ceili and Workshop with Jim Keenan and Billy McComiskey, Irish Centre 6887 Forward Ave., Squirrel Hill.  6:00 pm.  Pot Luck Dinner, Information Carla Dundes 412.563.6281.      Saturday 21st October

Highland Ceilidh at North Park Lodge from 5:00 pm with a Covered Dish Dinner sponsored by the St. Andrew’s Society of Pittsburgh.  Information: Dale McLeod 724.468.5640 or                          Saturday 21st October

Samhain, The Celtic New Year Celebration at Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle, (Mullaney’s Castle – the Pub is converted into a castle). Fundraiser for Echoes of Erin. Doors Open at 4:00 pm. Donation $15.00. Entertainment with Cue Ball, Terry Griffith, Laughrey Connolly, and Chuck Owston & Bonfire Night (a bit of Medieval & Gothic), Cultural Baskets and Costume Contest.                                                    Sunday 22nd October

Gaelic Arts Society of Pittsburgh presents Peter Gilmore speaking on ‘History of the Orange Order’ at Synod Hall on Craig Street, 2:30 pm. Sunday 29th October

3rd Annual Guinness Oyster Festival at Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle, Inside and Outside under The Tent. 6-Bands including Síochán (Shee’-a-kawn)  (means Peace in Irish) Celtic Rock from Indianapolis, Now & Then, Corned Beef & Curry, Red Hand Paddy, Homeland from Ohio, plus more. Music throughout the day beginning at 12:00 Noon; multitude of oyster dishes on the menu.  Mon Aimee Chocolat & Raffles.  Proceeds benefit Neighbors In The Strip.                                                     Saturday 4th November

‘Poetry of Ireland’ produced by John F. Webber, Gaelic Arts Society co-sponsors, at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 2. 27th St. & E. Carson, Southside Works, 7:00 pm.  Free Admission.  Information 412.758.5446   Saturday 4th November

AOH Msgr. Charles Owen Rice, Division 1 South Hills presents an ‘Oldies Night’ with ‘The Mansfield 5’ at VFW Post 1810 Brentwood, 8:00 pm.  Donation $10 in Advance, $12 at Door, Cash Bar.  Tickets & Information: Rich O’Malley 412.401.3945.                     Saturday 4th November

Calliope, Pittsburgh Folk Music Society presents Richard Thompson in Concert, 8:00 pm, Carnegie Lecture Hall.  412.361.1915.  Email:  Tickets at ProArts 412.394.3353.                               Friday 10th November

become a regular at these local programs!

 Listen to Echoes of Erin, now in its 17th year, every Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. on WEDO, 810 AM.  Diane Byrnes has Irish music, news, and other great information


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 join Dennis Murphy with "Get Educated and Entertained as only 'Murph' can" from 8:00-12:00.  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


‘Give Me Your Hand’ an Evening of Irish Dance featuring for the First Time in Pittsburgh History A Performance by The Dancers of Bell School, Burke School, Ceili Club, Irish Reelers and Shovlin Academy Together in One Show. Presented by The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh at the Catherine Thomas Theater at Benedict Hall, The Benedictine Sisters, 4530 Perrysville Ave. Tickets available online at or 412-394-3900.                                                                                Saturday 2nd December


One of the support services offered by the Ireland Institute includes furniture donation, collection and redistribution to the Walsh Peace Visa participants. The money they save, as they set up house, is realized immediately, and they are quite grateful to all Ireland Institute supporters who have kindly donated furniture and household items. 

New groups are arriving in the spring and summer of this year.  If you have any furniture or household items to donate, please contact the Institute at 412-394-3900. Our thanks and gratitude goes out to all involved.


Our Mission:

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.