Read about Aer Lingus' upcoming flotation



The Common Ground

Vol. IV, Issue 9


      September 2006



                 News Updates






letter from the editor 



Ladies and Gentlemen:

I find it ironic that the United Iraqi Alliance is not committed to a truly United Iraq (Iraq delays federal split, Post Gazette September 11, World Briefs)?

History has shown that dividing lands and peoples based on religious or cultural affinity, within or across national borders, is destructive in the long run. The relegation of Native Americans to reservations bred nothing but poverty and despair. The creation of Northern Ireland as a Protestant place for a Protestant people resulted in nearly a century of conflict. The Lausanne Treaty, uprooting Greek and Turkish Muslims and Christians more than 80 years ago, was in hindsight, an enormous failure that plagues that region to this day.

Integration is painful. But it is a necessary step in strengthening nascent democratic institutions. Instead of pursuing separate "states" that each cater to one culture, this influential Shiite bloc should seek opportunities to engage minority communities--Sunnis, Kurds, and others--in productive multicultural approaches to the problems they face as Iraqis.

Together they should benefit from Iraq's natural resources. And together they must develop the infrastructure, economy, and human capital in territories where those resources do not exist. The Shia majority should lead these efforts, but they must include Sunnis and others in the debate, and in the resolution.

A diverse democracy in Iraq with religious and other basic freedoms and civil rights can only occur if the ruling party considers the needs of all its citizens.


Jim Lamb, President

Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh


This month, we conclude our series featuring Irish Festivals. 


Our Letter from the Editor section features a letter recently submitted to the Post Gazette on the United Iraqi Alliance's commitment to a united Iraq 


There's also a look at some of the latest statistics released that chart the continuing success of the economy.


Festivals of Ireland


October 27th - 30th, 2006

The Guinness Jazz Festival is Ireland's biggest and most prestigious jazz event and is one of the most important events on Ireland's arts and cultural calendar. This year some 1,000 musicians from 25 countries will entertain the fans in over 75 venues citywide. The main concert venues are the Everyman Palace Theatre, Cork Opera House and the Triskel Arts Center. The famous Guinness Festival Club at the Gresham Metropole Hotel offers world class jazz on five stages day and night (daytime sessions have free admission) while the easy to find Guinness Jazz Trail offers entertainment in over 40 excellent pubs and clubs, most of it free of charge.


October 20th - November 5th, 2006

For over fifty years the Irish coastal town of Wexford in the Sunny South East has been seducing the world with wonderful productions of rare opera presented as part of a unique festival. The warm and vivacious welcome, the narrow and ancient Viking streets and the tiny, atmospheric Theatre Royal add to pleasures which include over forty daytime events as well as the eighteen evening performances of three major productions.


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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Ireland's President, Mary McAleese, has said admitted that she is 'persistently optimistic' that the Northern Ireland parties will be able to reach a deal on the restoration of the Stormont Assembly by the November deadline. 

The President referred to 'the extraordinary will for peace that has been exhibited by the people of Northern Ireland' and said that this will was 'too strong to do anything other than deliver the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement'. 

She added: 'I have every hope that come November we are going to see the sea change that so many of us have been hoping and waiting for. I am very, very hopeful.'



Most Irish thought that it was already illegal to use a mobile phone while driving but in fact it only become an offence on Friday last. From that day motorists caught using a mobile phone will be fined €60 and incur two penalty points. Those who are tardy in paying and fail to deal with the matter in the first 28 days will see the fine increase to €90. If the fine is not paid with 56 days the case will go to court where a conviction will lead to four penalty points and a fine of up to €2k. 


Hands free sets are not covered by the legislation. 

Aer Lingus Valued at over 1BN

Aer Lingus has confirmed that the airline will be valued at between €2.10 and €2.70 (final price to be set on September 27th) when the company is floated on the stock market, with trading beginning in Dublin and London on October 2nd. 


In it’s prospectus issued to both the Irish and British markets, the airline said the Government will sell 72.7 million shares, while 208.4 new shares will be issued. This means the flotation will raise around €470m after costs, and will value the airline at between €1.1 billion and €1.3 billion after flotation. The Government will keep a shareholding of at least 25.1%.Selling Aer Lingus shares will allow the airline raise €2 billion to expand its fleet of aircraft, leading to an increase in routes including Florida and San Francisco. 


Interestingly, the prospectus - as it is legally obliged to - lists the possible risks facing Aer Lingus and the flotation which include increased aviation fuel prices, seasonal fluctuations, labor relations, overall passenger traffic, currency fluctuations, higher landing fees, the availability of additional slots or landing rights, natural disasters, any matters adversely affecting the Dublin airport (from which it is based), the Government's retention of at least a 25% stake in the airline, and the lack of an 'open skies' deal between the US and the EU, which could hinder its expansion plans in the US.



The PUP and Sinn Fein in Derry said they will work on community issues The Progressive Unionist Party and Sinn Fein in Londonderry have said they will work together on community issues. In a statement the unionist and republican parties said they were committed to "sustained dialogue". 


Derry Sinn Fein Councillor Lynn Fleming said the groundwork for the alliance had been laid over some weeks. 


"We are a society coming out of conflict and if we are to have a shared future we need to sit down with our unionist neighbors," she said. 


The statement said: "We must be confident in building a better future for ourselves and our children. We must show leadership and not be afraid to take risks." 










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Amongst the Central Statistics Office latest figures were the following interesting facts; both the number of workers employed and the number of visitors to Irish shores have increased significantly!



The Central Statistics Office reported that the number of visitors to Ireland increased by 13.2% in the first six months of the year. The total reached 3,502,000, of which 2,112,000 came in the second quarter, representing a 17% increase from the same period in 2005. From April to June the largest increase, 26%, was in travelers from mainland Europe, while US visitor numbers grew by 15%, and arrivals from Britain increased by 14%. 


The number of Irish people traveling abroad is also up with a growth of 12% reported in the first half of 2006. While the number traveling to Britain was down slightly in the second quarter, travel to both continental Europe and the United states was up, increasing by 22% and 10% respectively.



The Central Statistics Office (CSO) reported a figure of 2,017,000 employed workers, representing an annual increase of 87,800 or 4.6%. Annual growth in employment has been above 4.5% for the past five quarters and is ahead of the EU average growth rate of 1.7%. Full-time jobs accounted for almost 80% of the growth, while the CSO estimated that foreign workers accounted for almost 55%, or 47,800, of the annual increase.


A breakdown showed that growth was strongest in the construction and wholesale and retail trade sectors, which added 20,300 and 17,500 jobs respectively over the year. Health, education and finance also showed strong growth.


Separate CSO figures showed that the number of immigrants into the country in the 12 months to April was 86,900, the highest figure since estimates began in 1987. 43% of immigrants were from the 10 new EU states - 26% from Poland and 7% from Lithuania. On the other hand, the number of emigrants was 17,000, giving a net migration figure of 69,900, and when added to the natural increase in population brought the total up 104,000 to 4.235 million.


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

This Fall, over twenty young men and women from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are expected to arrive in Pittsburgh to participate in our Wider Horizons program.  These young people will receive two months of on-the-job training, personal development, exposure to American culture, and new insights into the problems at home through conflict resolution.  At the end of the eight weeks, the participants will return to Ireland, hopeful of securing employment and living in peace.


As an essential part of this program, we are looking for host families to house participants during these two separate eight-week long programs.  Those of you who 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.


Our second Wider Horizons group from Monaghan sand Armagh arrives on the 5th October .


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






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A hugely encouraging final game for Ireland at the 2006 IRB World Cup saw them push seventh seeds Australia right to the death in a tough encounter. The Wallaroos took the spoils, claiming seventh place overall, but second-half tries from hooker Jean Lonergan and scrum-half Tania Rosser allowed Ireland move up two places in IRB seedings from tenth to eighth. Ireland, who were only pipped by a point by the fifth-seeded Scots during the week, trailed 10-0 at the break in Edmonton. Australia led early with a penalty from Alana Thomas and winger Trish Brown's 35th-minute try. Brown evaded two would-be tacklers out wide on the left and then fended off Jeanette Feighery's last-gasp challenge to make the corner. But Lonergan crossed the line on 52 minutes, with Grace Davitt converting, and Ireland were right back in contention in the wet conditions. A second Thomas penalty followed by an individual try from flanker and captain Selena Worsley saw the Aussies go 18-7 clear. With only 12 minutes remaining, the game was effectively beyond Ireland's reach but the girls in green fought right until the finish. They were rewarded for their persistence with a 78th-minute try when Rosser speared through a gap off a close-in ruck and made the corner. Davitt's conversion topped off what has been an excellent tournament for Philip Doyle's side, especially considering that Ireland finished 13th at the 2002 World Cup in Barcelona.


Last month we featured articles about the All-Ireland Hurling & Football Competitions. The Championships are over for another year with Kilkenny beating Cork to win the Hurling Championship and Kerry increasing their winning record to 34 titles with an impressive display over a lacklustre Mayo.

















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‘Blues at the Crossroads with Scott Ainslie’ presented by Calliope, the Pittsburgh Folk Music Society. 7:30pm, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Fifth & Shady Aves., Shadyside. Acclaimed singer, performer, storyteller, blues historian. Blues & BBQ Dinner, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Tickets at ProArts 412.394.3353. online                          Saturday 30th September

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:                           Wednesday 4th October

The Saw Doctors live and direct from Galway! October sees the return of one of Ireland's leading live bands playing Pittsburgh's Rex theater. Show starts at 8PM                                                   Friday 6th October

33rd Pittsburgh Feis sponsored by The Irish Centre of Pittsburgh at The Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena, Harmarville, PA. The Feis promotes traditional Irish Arts by offering Irish step dance, Gaelic language, instrumental, bread baking and craft competitions. Information Information Jim Graven 724.834.0233 or Email  Saturday 7th October

‘Celtic Halloween Dinner/Dance Fundraiser’ sponsored by LAOH Division 11 at Gaetano’s Restaurant, 1617 Banksville Road. Featuring DJ Paul Brandt. Tickets Karen Graff 412.918.1447 or Maureen O’Toole 412.913.4184. Tickets $25.00                                                   Saturday 11th 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

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.