Vol. IX, Issue 9
I came across this essay from my
friend, Andy Pollak, Director of the Center for Cross Border Studies at Queens
University, Belfast. I thought it reflected the sentiment of many living
on the island of Ireland today. Enjoy!
From the desk of
lucky people of Northern Ireland have a choice of two identities and
citizenships, and this good fortune was formally enshrined in the Good Friday
Agreement. For those of us who relish our duality, this is messy but
rewarding, and we can hop from one to the other whenever we please. The latest
Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey (a joint project by Queen’s
University Belfast and University of Ulster) in June showed how we do it: just
33% of Northern Catholics told the pollsters they wanted Irish unity in the
long-term (a view shared by only 1% of Northern Protestants, although 82% said
they could accept it with some reluctance if it came about after a democratic
vote). 52% of Catholics, the great majority certainly Sinn Fein and SDLP
voters, said they would prefer to stay in the UK. Talk about having your cake
and eating it – we Ulster folk make ambivalence into an art form!
his speech to mark the restoration of power-sharing in 2007, Deputy First
Minister Martin McGuinness approvingly quoted Seamus Heaney saying that we
needed to move beyond talking about ‘the other side’ and get to a place of
‘through-otherness’ (a peculiarly Northern word meaning untidiness). In a
2001 lecture in Aberdeen Heaney, talking about the poet and clergyman
W.R.Rodgers (who put the term into literature in a poem about Armagh), said:
‘There is something analogous to the triple heritage of Irish, Scottish and
English traditions that compound and complicate the cultural and political
life of contemporary Ulster’. For Rodgers it had not been ‘a question of
the otherness of any part of his inheritance, more a recognition of the
through-otherness of all of them.’
most good things in Northern Ireland (courtesy of that other great Derry man,
John Hume), ‘through-otherness’ has an internal, a North-South and an
East-West dimension. Sticking to sport for the moment, the North-South
dimension is rugby supporters having to sing Ireland’s Call before Amhrán
na bhFiann and (I would suggest) soccer supporters having to
oppose the FAI’s attempts to poach only northern Catholic players for the
Republic of Ireland team. Being an Irish-British or British-Irish champion –
Eoin Morgan captaining the English cricket team; Barry McGuigan winning a
British boxing title; Tony McCoy and Kieren Fallon becoming Champion Jockey
– makes for a thoroughly healthy and normal East-West
‘through-otherness’. The success of Ballyfermot woman Mary Byrne on the X
Factor and of the Queen’s visit to Ireland in May (and particularly to
‘rebel’ Cork) were other recent triumphs for this trí na chéile – ‘things mixed up
among themselves’ – to use Heaney’s definition.
close, mutually dependent cross-border inter-connectedness between North and
South, Ireland and Britain, is there more than ever in the post Good Friday
Agreement ‘new Ireland’. It will be continue to be there as the two
countries try to find mutually beneficial positions vis-a-vis the financial
meltdown that the European Union is currently wrestling with, and looming
problems of energy shortages and climate change. We should welcome and
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IRISH CASTLE VACATION RAFFLE - BUY A TICKET OR BECOME A SELLER
Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh
In service to peace
The Irish Castle Vacation Prize Raffle
Ashford Castle – Galway Dromoland Castle – Limerick Clontarf Castle – Dublin
Roundtrip airfare for two - 6 nights accommodations - Car rental for 1 week
Winning ticket will be drawn December 19, 2011 at The Harp & Fiddle, 2329 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA15222
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EURO ZONE LEADERS AGREE TO DEBT CRISIS DEAL
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said the EU summit agreement was a quantum leap towards a solution to the debt crisis that threatens the survival of the single currency.
Eurozone leaders last night struck a deal with private banks and insurers for them to accept a 50% loss on their Greek government bonds under a plan to lower Greece's debt burden and contain the eurozone crisis.
Speaking on RTÉ's News At One, Mr Noonan said it was a comprehensive deal that dealt with all the issues, including bank recapitalisation, preventing contagion, a deal for Greece and governance.
He said the euro now looks secure, Europe will go back to growth and the threat of a recession emanating from Europe has been removed.
Mr Noonan said Ireland's main strategy was to grow its way out of trouble.
The minister said Ireland was not looking for a write-down similar to Greece, because Ireland was in a programme, getting loans at 3%, and expected to be back in the markets in the second half of 2013.
On the other hand, he said Greece was looking at least another ten years of austerity programmes and possibly 16 years.
Mr Noonan said Ireland has been successful in a serial renegotiation of aspects of its programmes, and while it aimed to reduce the overall burden of the debt, the Government will not touch its sovereign debt.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said this evening it had been an error to admit Greece to the eurozone in 2001, but said he was confident the country could emerge from its debt crisis.
Asked if he had confidence in Greece, Mr Sarkozy said, "Yes... we have
no other choice," but asked about the country's entry into the eurozone,
he added: "It was an error because Greece entered with false (economic)
figures... it was not ready."
The agreement was reached after more than eight hours of negotiations in Brussels involving bankers, heads of state, central bankers and the International Monetary Fund.
It aims to draw a line under spiraling debt problems that have threatened to unravel the European single currency project.
Under the deal, the private sector agreed to voluntarily accept a nominal 50% cut in its bond investments to reduce Greece's debt burden by €100bn. This will cut its debts to 120% of GDP by 2020, from 160% now.
At the same time, the eurozone will offer "credit enhancements," or sweeteners, to the private sector totaling €30bn.
The aim is to complete negotiations on the package by the end of the year, so Greece has a full, second financial aid programme in place before 2012.
The value of that package, EU sources said, would be €130bn, which is up from €109bn when a deal was last struck in July, an agreement that subsequently unraveled.
"The summit allowed us to adopt the components of a global response, of an ambitious response, of a credible response to the crisis that is sweeping across the eurozone," Mr Sarkozy told reporters afterwards.
As well as the deal on deeper private sector participation in Greece - which emerged after Mr Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel engaged in the negotiations with bankers - eurozone leaders also agreed to scale up the European Financial Stability Facility, the €440bn bailout fund set up last year.
The fund has already been used to provide help to Ireland, Portugal and Greece, leaving around €290bn available.
Around €250bn of that will be leveraged four or five times, producing a headline figure of around €1 trillion, which will be deployed in a variety of ways.
Leaders hope that will be enough to stave off any worsening of the debt problems in Italy and Spain, the region's third and fourth largest economies respectively.
"The leverage could be up to one trillion (euros) under certain assumptions about market conditions and investors' responsiveness in view of economic policies," said Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council.
"There is nothing secret in all this, it is not easy to explain but we are going to more with our available money, it is not that spectacular. Banks have been doing this for centuries, it has been their core business, with certain limits."
European markets saw strong gains today after news of the deal emerged.
Earlier Asian markets closed higher, while the euro rose above $1.40 for the first time in seven weeks.
Meanwhile, Ireland should be in a position to resume borrowing on international debt markets in late 2012 or early 2013, the IMF's chief economist has said.
"I am fairly confident that with the path you are (on) in late 2012, first semester 2013, you should be able to go back there with relatively small spreads," Olivier Blanchard told reporters after delivering a speech to students at Dublin's Trinity College.
He said Ireland has turned a corner, adding that "unemployment is
still much too high, production is much too low but the signs are pointing in
the right direction."
OCCUPY DAME STREET: IRISH BANK PROTESTERS STAGE WELL-MANNERED SIT-IN
IRISH PUBS IN CRISIS
One in eight bars Irish bars in the Republic of Ireland have closed in the past six years.
MASSIVE STORMS LASH IRELAND AS SEVERE WEATHER WARNING GIVEN
Ireland is in the grip of another major storm with severe weather warnings across the country.
TWO OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
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PITTSBURGH BRINGS HOME THE WIN
Two more great teams have recently
added to Pittsburgh’s moniker as City Of Champions! The Pittsburgh Celtics
were crowned Gaelic (Irish) Football National Champions while the Pittsburgh
Banshees won the National Shield competition during a three-day competition in
San Francisco over Labor Day.
The Celtics defeated teams from San
Francisco, Boston and Detroit (divisional rivals the Wolfe Tones) on their way
to the club’s first ever National title. The Banshees defeated San Francisco
and Seattle teams in claiming their shield.
The NACB Championship is a
competition that takes place each year in a different US city – and is the
culmination of the Gaelic Football season throughout North America. The
Celtics, a men's team founded in 1976, is comprised of both Irish-born and
American players, while the Banshees, a ladies team founded in 2002, primarily
comprised of American-born players.
Both teams are represented by the
Pittsburgh GAA organization and compete in the Midwest Division, playing the
teams from Detroit, Cleveland, Washington DC, Baltimore, Rochester and
Syracuse during the year. Their season runs from April until early September
If you are interested in finding
out more about either team – log onto www.pittsburghgaa.com.
WIDER HORIZONS PROGRAM
If you are interested in becoming a Host Family for the Wider Horizons Program in 2011, please contact Robert Tierney at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (412) 394-3900.
Help the Institute:
Friday, October 28
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 email@example.com.
LOCAL IRISH ENTERTAINERS WEBSITES
Check Performance Schedules, Etc.
Aran from Johnstown PA - http://www.people.iup.edu/rahkonen/Bands/Aran.htm
George Balderose - http://www.pittsburghpiper.com/
Carnival of Souls - http://www.carnivalofsouls.com
Ceann - http://www.ceannmusic.com/
Cue Ball Music - http://www.cueballmusic.com/index.asp
Cahal Dunne - http://www.cahaldunne.com/
Tony Egan - http://www.tonyegan.info
Michael Gallagher - http://www.mike-gallagher.com/
Terry Griffith - http://www.pittsburghirish.org/griffith
Guaranteed Irish - http://www.guaranteedirish.info/
Hiraeth - http://lugh.as.cmu.edu/Hiraeth.htm
Hooley - http://www.hooley.info
John McCann - http://www.johnmccannlive.com/
Corned Beef & Curry - http://www.cornedbeefncurry.com/
Michael Murphy & TSRB http://www.michaelmurphy.us/
Na Gaels - http://www.pittsburghirish.org/nagaels
Jack Puskar - http://www.jackpuskar.com
Rolling Scones - http://www.rollingscones.com
Pittsburgh Irish Dance Schools
Bell School of Irish Dance http://bellschool.com/about.htm
Burke Irish Dancers http://www.burkeirishdance.com/
Pittsburgh Irish Reelers http://www.pghirishreelers.com/
Shovlin Academy of Dance http://www.shovlinacademy.com/
Pittsburgh Ceili Club www.pittsburghceiliclub.org/
Pittsburgh Irish Sports
Pittsburgh Gaelic Athletic Association (PGAA)
- a representative organization of the Pittsburgh Celtics, Pittsburgh Banshees, and Pittsburgh Celtics Youth
Pittsburgh Hurling Club (PHC)
-a representative organization of the Pittsburgh Pucas
Open Practices: Tuesdays @ 5:30pm, Frick Park
Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club (PIRC)
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.
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All articles are adapted from www.rte.ie, the Irish Emigrant, the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish Examiner, BBC, and other news sources.