IN THIS ISSUE
~~~ Keep us Free!
~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~ New Free Resources at the Site
~~~ The Life of Saint Patrick
~~~ The Irish-American Thanksgiving Day
by Patrick Kevin Quinn
~~~ What Is It You see? by Molly Harris
~~~ Gaelic Phrases of the Month
~~~ Irish Quotations of the Month
~~~ Monthly free competition result
A very Happy Saint Patrick's Day to you and yours!
The Irish Tourist Board had gone overboard this
year with no less than 4 days of Saint Patrick's
Day celebrations and a national holiday to boot!
The loss of the festival to Foot and Mouth disease
last year has meant that the celebration this year
has taken on even more fervour than usual.
Enjoy the day!
'Health and long life to you,
land without rent to you,
a child every year to you,
and death in Old Ireland!'
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
IRISH CITIZENS WARNED OF NUCLEAR THREAT
Every citizen in Ireland has received a copy of
the Government's leaflet that informs of the
best course of action in the event of a nuclear
calamity. While the chances of Ireland being
targeted with nuclear weapons may seem remote,
the chances of a terrorist attack against England,
and against the Sellafield nuclear power plant in
particular, are very real.
Should Sellafield suffer an explosion, whether by
accident or design, the radioactive clouds would
definitely make their way across the Irish sea. In
an unprecedented move supplies of Iodine tablets
are to be sent to every household in the country.
In the event of a disaster the taking of Iodine
would help to prevent the effects of radiation.
IRELAND & NORWAY TRY TO CLOSE SELLAFIELD
Ireland has established an embassy in Oslo as both
countries continue their fight to close the nuclear
power facility located in Cumbria in England. The
plant discharges radioactive waste into the sea
which contaminates the coastlines of both Ireland
as well as the Nordic countries, and is viewed by
many as perhaps the single most prominent
potential terrorist target in Western Europe.
ABORTION REFERENDUM IS DEFEATED
In a second successive referendum defeat for the
Government the complex proposal to amend the
constitution with regard to the country's tight
abortion laws has been defeated. A mere 10,556
votes, or less that 1% of those who voted, was the
majority in favour of rejecting the proposal which
sought, among other things, to remove the threat
of suicide as a grounds for an abortion in
In an unlikely alliance both anti-abortion and the
pro-choice factions joined forces against the
Government. The anti-abortion side felt that the
proposed changes did not do enough to protect the
unborn fetus while the pro-choice groups were
outraged that the life of a suicidal teenager
would be put ahead of that of an unborn fetus and
that the same teenager might be jailed for seeking
This complex and emotive issue in Ireland thus
remains unresolved. The situation is such that a
pregnant suicidal woman is entitled to an abortion
in Ireland but, in the absence of any legislative
framework to allow for the procedure, will have to
travel to England to have it carried out. Every
year, thousands of Irish women travel to England
for an abortion.
IRELAND'S BIGGEST FINANCIAL SCANDAL AT AIB
The fallout from the AIB scandal involving the
bank's US subsidiary, Allfirst, continued with the
suspension of two Citibank employees who dealt with
the rogue trader John Rusnak. Citibank was one of
the main banks who traded with Rusnak, who is
responsible nearly US$700 in foreign exchange
The report into the affair resulted in the
dismissal of 6 Allfirst employees amid a culture
of intimidation, coercion, inefficiency and sheer
laziness within the US bank. The AIB Chairman and
Chief Executive both offered to resign in the wake
of the affair which exposed serious shortcomings
in the banks accounting checks. Rusnak was able to
keep his fraudulent trades secret by bullying back
office staff and by enjoying a favourable
relationship with David Cronin, Allfirst's head of
treasury and the man responsible for keeping tabs
on Rusnak's activities. The AIB board decided to
reject the offer of resignation and to back their
beleaguered senior executives. All speculative
trading at the US subsidiary as well as at AIB's
Polish subsidiary have now ceased.
ANNUAL INFLATION RATE FALLS BACK SLIGHTLY
The annual rate of inflation has fallen back to
4.7% from 4.9% despite an actual rise in prices
which many consumers attribute to the introduction
of the Euro. The Irish government is hoping for a
speedy return to health for the US economy which
has serious implications for the economy in
Ireland as well as in mainland Europe.
NURSES STRIKE AS TEACHERS LOSE OUT
The overcrowding in the Accident and Emergency
services in Ireland's main hospitals has prompted
a walkout and 'work to rule' by the main Nurse's
Unions who are amazed that their members have to
take such action in order to prompt the Government
to improve the situation.
The Nurses have repeatedly complained about the
chronic overcrowding in the emergency wards and
accounts of patients waiting for days on hospital
trolleys for beds to be come available at a time
are not uncommon. The Government has already
pledged the single largest investment in the
Health Services in the history of the State
but the Unions maintain that action is required
immediately. They want 'elective' surgery to be
postponed and the beds that would be freed up
assigned to accident and emergency cases.
In a quite different industrial relations showdown
the School Teachers Union that is refusing to
negotiate with the Government about 'Supervision
and Substitution' until their pay claim is met,
are facing growing criticism about their stance.
The teachers maintain that supervision of students
outside of the classroom is not their
responsibility and also maintain that they should
not be obliged to substitute for teachers who
cannot take their classes for reasons of sickleave
The Government has agreed to pay the teachers for
this work but want the process dealt with within
the existing industrial relations mechanisms.
The Teachers have refused and the Government
responded by hiring on thousands of non-teachers
to carry out the supervision and substitution work.
The tactic has so far proved successful, if
expensive. Already cases have arisen where
non-teachers engaged on the extra duties have
earned as much as EURO 1000 (approx US$870) per
week. Past leaders of the union have called on
the present administration to review their
IRELAND'S NEUTRALITY TO BE UNALTERED BY EU TREATY
The Nice Treaty (named after the city in France)
allows for the expansion of the European Union
which already has a host of States eager to
join. A vote in Ireland to ratify thr treaty was
rejected in a recent referendum, much to the
chagrin of the existing members of the EU as well
as to the dismay of those who are attempting to
The government has accepted that it did not do
enough to inform its citizens of the consequences
of ratification of the treaty and also failed to
address the issue of neutrality which it
considers was a major factor in the referendum
The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahearn has therefore
sought confirmation from the EU that in the event
of the ratification of the treaty in a second
referendum that the neutrality of the Irish State
would not be compromised. It seems very likely
that such a confirmation will be forthcoming as
the EU is anxious to press ahead with its
IRELAND'S FIRST EVER ATHLETICS SPRINT MEDAL IS WON
Karen Shinkins secured Ireland's first ever
athletics medal in a sprint event when she
finished third in the European Indoor championship
in Vienna. The 25 year old looked to have the
silver medal in the 400 Metres event within her
grasp but was overtaken on the line and had to
settle for the Bronze.
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SAINT PATRICK'S DAY
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THE LIFE OF SAINT PATRICK
The Patron Saint of Ireland was born into either
a Scottish or English family in the fourth
century. He was captured as a teenager by Niall
of the Nine Hostages who was to become a King of
He was sold into slavery in Ireland and put to
work as a shepherd. He worked in terrible
conditions for six years drawing comfort in the
Christian faith that so many of his people had
abandoned under Roman rule.
Patrick had a dream that encouraged him to flee
his captivity and to head South where a ship was
to be waiting for him. He traveled over 200
miles from his Northern captivity to Wexford
town where, sure enough, a ship was waiting to
enable his escape.
Upon arrival in England he was captured by
brigands and returned to slavery. He escaped
after two months and spent the next seven years
traveling Europe seeking his destiny.
During this time he furthered his education and
studied Christianity in the Lerin Monastery in
France. He returned to England as a priest.
Again a dream greatly influenced him when he
became convinced that the Irish people were
calling out to him to return to the land of
He went to the Monastery in Auxerre where it
was decided that a mission should be sent to
Ireland. Patrick was not selected for this task
to his great disappointment. The monk that was
selected was called Paladius, but he died before
he could reach Ireland and a second mission was
Patrick was made a Bishop by Pope Celestine in
the year 432 and, together with a small band of
followers, he traveled to Ireland to commence
Patrick confronted the most powerful man in
Ireland, Laoghaire, The High King of Tara, as
he knew that if he could gain his support then
he would be safe to spread the word throughout
Ireland. To get his attention Patrick and his
followers lit a huge fire to mark the commencement
of Spring. Tradition had it that no fire was to
be lit until the King's fire was complete, but
Patrick defied this rule and courted the
confrontation with the King.
The King rushed into action and traveled with the
intention of making war on the holy delegation.
Patrick calmed the King and with quiet composure
impressed upon him that he had no intention other
than that of spreading the word of the Gospel.
The King accepted the missionary, much to the
dismay of the Druids who feared for their own
power and position in the face of this new threat.
They commanded that he make snow fall. Patrick
declined to do so stating that this was God's
work. Immediately it began to snow, only stopping
when Patrick blessed himself.
Still trying to convince the King of his religion
Patrick grasped at some Shamrock growing on the
ground. He explained that there was but one stem
on the plant, but three branches of the leaf,
representing the Blessed Trinity. The King was
impressed with his sincerity and granted him
permission to spread the word of his faith,
although he did not convert to Christianity
Patrick and his followers were free to spread
their faith throughout Ireland and did so to great
effect. He drove paganism (symbolised by the
snake) from the lands of Eireann.
Patrick was tempted by the Devil whilst on a
pilgrimage at Croagh Patrick. For his refusal to
be tempted, God rewarded him with a wish. Patrick
asked that the Irish be spared the horror of
Judgment Day and that he himself be allowed to
judge his flock. Thus, the legend that Ireland
will disappear under a sea of water seven years
before the final judgment, was born.
Patrick died on March 17th in the year 461 at the
age of 76. It is not known for sure where his
remains were laid although Downpatrick in County
Down in the North of Ireland is thought to be
his final resting place.
His influence is still felt to this day as Nations
the world over commemorate him on March 17th of
Saint Patrick screensavers, pictures to color and more can
be found here:
THE IRISH-AMERICAN THANKSGIVING DAY
by Patrick Kevin Quinn
Foreword: Patrick Quinn was born Saint Louis Irish,
the fourth generation of his family in the United
States. His family were all policemen, firemen,
plumbers or priests, and for fifteen years he was
one of the policemen.
He and his family moved to Lee's Summit twenty
years ago and he has since been very involved with
the Kansas City Irish Community.
He is currently a member of the Heart of America
Police Emerald Society, and has been a member of
the Committee that is in the process of creating
an Irish Cultural Center in Kansas City. He was
Grand Marshal of Kansas City's Brookside St.
Patrick's Parade in 1993, and was an organizer
and the Chief Marshal of the parade for the first
fourteen years of it's existence.
His reflection on the meaning of St. Patrick's Day
to the Irish-American community was originally
written as an invocation for a program at
Greenwood Elementary School in the Kansas City
suburb of Greenwood, Missouri.
The Irish-American Thanksgiving Day
Cead Mile Failte! or in American, 'A Hundred
Most often, when one thinks of St. Patrick's Day
they think of the parade, which is the largest
single day event held each year in Kansas City,
and they think some of the very Americanized
stereotypes such as Corned Beef and Cabbage and
green beer. But to Irish-Americans, St. Patrick's
Day is a special day of thanksgiving. The
following are just a few of the special things for
which we Irish-Americans in Jackson County are
We started these remarks with a Gaelic greeting,
and are thankful for the survival of that language
in spite of the attempts to eradicate it.
We are thankful that in spite of many of the first
Irish-Americans being brought to this country as
slaves (they called us 'involuntary servants') that
our forefathers desire and ability to escape made
the proposition unprofitable, and it quickly came
to an end.
We are thankful that when it came time to stand up
for the United States, more Irish-Americans signed
the Declaration of Independence than any other
We are thankful that our forefathers and mothers
took a very active role in fighting to free our
country, such as Henry Knox, the first Secretary
of War and Commodore Jack Barry, who organized the
United States Navy, as well as several generals
and thousands of soldiers and sailors. In fact,
one half of the Continental Army and three-fourths
of George Washington's regiments at the decisive
battle of Yorktown consisted of Irish-American
soldiers and officers.
We are thankful for the Irish-Americans who
explored this great country, identifying its
potential and guiding its pioneers. Men like Daniel
Boone and Davey Crockett, whose parents came from
We are thankful and proud that no less than 38
regiments of the Union Army in the War Between the
States, the war to end slavery in the U.S., were
manned totally by Irish-Americans.
We are thankful for the service of no less than
nineteen Irish-Americans who have been elected to
the Office of President of the United States,
including Andrew Jackson for whom Jackson County was
named. His parents came to this country from
Carrickfergus in County Antrim.
We are thankful for an Irishman from Galway by the
name of Charles Kearney, who pledged his fortune,
and convinced others to do the same to build the
first bridge across the Missouri River at Kansas
City. Thus transforming a sleepy, dusty river town
into the third largest rail hub in the nation, and
the metropolis we are today.
We are thankful for the courage of our great
grandparents who persevered during the times in our
country when Irish-American children were refused
an education in public schools because of rampant
bigotry, and signs were openly posted in windows
stating 'Help Wanted - No Irish Need Apply'.
We are thankful for the courage of our grandparents
and parents who endured threats and assaults from
mobs, because of their nationality. In 1922, one
stated reason that some 14,000 members of the Ku
Klux Klan assembled here in Jackson County was to
drive Irish Catholics out of Kansas City. One week,
a whole lot of hate speeches, a whole lot of
marching and a whole lot of whiskey later, they
left town having failed at their mission.
And finally, we are thankful that our parents and
grandparents took the time to teach us the history
of our families and our heritage.
So today, we would like to extend to you one of
our special Irish blessings, that we seem to have
for just about any occasion:
'May there always be work for your hands to do,
may your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your windowpane,
may a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend be always near you,
And may God fill your heart with gladness to
WHAT IS IT YOU SEE? BY MOLLY HARRIS
I wonder what it is you see
When you look into my eyes
Do you see the Rings of Kerry
Or the ragged Cliffs of Moher
Do you see beyond the placid waters
Teasing the pointed rocks into play
Or is a storm thrashing the Rings
With wind warring against waves
Do you see beyond the striking Cliffs
Against the sky that leads to forever
Or do you see the piercing edges
That forewarn you of their peril
Do you see the sign of Claddagh
Equating love, friendship, and loyalty
Or do you see straight into my soul
To my fears and truths that I hide
Do you see the magic held within
From Far Darrig to the Lianhan sidhe
Do you see the Faerie lights shimmering
When my eyes sparkle with laughter
The magic of all impossibilities
Is what makes all mysteries viable
When you look into my eyes
I wonder what it is you see
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Beannachtai na Feile Padraig
PRONOUNCED: ban/ocked/tee nah fail/eh pawd/rig
MEANING: Happy Saint Patrick's Day
PHRASE: Fear/Bean ar do mhian agat
PRONOUNCED: far/ban air duh vian ah/gut
MEANING: A husband/wife of your choice to you
PHRASE: Faol saol agat agus bas in Eirinn
PRONOUNCED: fweel sail ah/gut og/us boss in air/in
MEANING: Long life to you and death in Ireland.
View the archive of phrases here:
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IRISH QUOTATIONS OF THE MONTH
It took 115 years and 6,000 miles and 3 generations
to make this trip, but I'm proud to be here
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1917-63,
in Wexford while visiting Ireland in 1963
Apostles of freedom are ever idolised when dead,
but crucified when alive
James Connolly, Irish labour leader, 1898
I met wid Napper Tandy, and he took me by the
hand, And he said
'How's poor ould Ireland, and how does she stand?'
She's the most disthressful country that iver
yet was seen, For they're hangin' men an' women
for the wearin' o' the green.
Anonymous, 'The Wearin' o' the Green' 1795 ballad
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I hope that you have enjoyed this issue.
Please keep the feedback coming!
Until the next time,
HAPPY SAINT PATRICK'S DAY
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