From left: House Speaker Tip O’Neill, President Ronald Reagan, John Hume, senator Ted Kennedy and then Irish minister for foreign affairs Peter Barry, on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, in 1984.
Photo: Irish Times

Reagan Democrats, Biden Time, and The Irish Swing Vote

If things were never simple they are even more complicated now, when we talk about the “Irish vote” as the 2020 presidential election nears. A 2017 Newsweek headline put it bluntly: “Why are all the conservative loudmouths Irish American.” The short answer: Um, they’re not. The longer answer: It’s complicated. But 2020 may finally be the year we recognize the many shades of green out...

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Irish in Government 2020 Collage
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (ME), Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Senator Tom Kaine, former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan,
Former Vice President and Presidential candidate Joe Biden, retired U.S. Marine Corp Lieutenant Colonel and Senate candidate Amy McGrath (KY).

Crossing Over

Beginning in the 1930s, the Irish became more visible in the ranks of Republicans, disrupting decades-old loyalties writes Robert Schmuhl From the time of the Great Hunger through the early decades of the 20th century, the American Irish tended to be nearly as faithful to the Democratic Party as to the Catholic Church. Big-city political organizations worked with machine-like efficiency,...

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participants and crowd at the first inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln, at the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. Lincoln is standing under the wood canopy, at the front, midway between the left and center posts. His face is in shadow but the white shirt front is visible.  (Wikipedia/Library of Congress).

Lincoln’s New Party, Anti-Irish and Anti-Slavery

An excerpt from “Lincoln and the Irish: The Untold Story of How the Irish Helped Abraham Lincoln Save the Union,” by Irish America publisher, Niall O’Dowd.

By 1856, the Whig party Lincoln belonged to had destroyed itself over slavery and the violence of the Know-Nothings, an extremist group of nativists with a deep hatred of immigrants and Catholics that existed as an independent force but who were much closer to the Whigs and later the new Republican Party.  Lincoln by then was well steeped in Irish culture, history, and politics. It was...

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Fiery Joe Biden

A 1987 interview with the then U.S. Senator from Delaware, now presidential hopeful Joe Biden gave his first ever interview to an Irish publication in April, 1987 when he talked to Niall O’Dowd and revealed, for the first time in print, his passion for his Irish heritage, the story of his extraordinary Irish Catholic family, and his ambition, even back in 1987, to run for the White...

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That Further Shore: A Memoir of Irish Roots and American Promise

John D. Feerick’s rise, from child of Irish immigrants to the hallowed halls of Fordham Law School, is covered in his new book, reviewed here by Stephen Fearon. It is often remarked that although the overwhelming majority of Irish immigrants to America in the early 20th century were literate and fluent in the English language, very few of them recorded their life stories in diaries or other...

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