Blog – Irish America Irish America Magazine Thu, 18 Apr 2019 19:22:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 82361074 Going Greener: Mary Robinson on Climate Change Fri, 05 Apr 2019 14:30:09 +0000 Read more..]]> Former president of Ireland Mary Robinson spoke frankly on her ideas for how Ireland should combat climate change on the inaugural episode of University College Cork’s podcast Plain Speaking, on March 27. In her discourse with program host Eoin Hahessy, Robinson covered a multitude of related issues facing Irish and global society, ranging from how to cut out the use of fossil fuels without destroying the livelihoods of workers in those industries to encouraging and making the most of activism in the younger generation of Irish citizens to reduce emissions and embrace alternative energy sources.

Robinson elaborated on the importance of Ireland being proactive in environmental protection. “Ireland is a small nation; we don’t have a huge industrial base, but we have to play our part,” she said. “Indeed, some of the small islands and the least developed countries are the most ambitious because they’re going to be the most affected by what happens elsewhere.”  ♦


Click here to hear the podcast in its entirety.

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Music and Merriment at Irish America’s 2019 Hall of Fame Fri, 22 Mar 2019 20:29:41 +0000 Read more..]]> On Thursday, March 14, hundreds gathered in the Cotillion Room of the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan for Irish America magazine’s 10th annual Hall of Fame luncheon. This year’s inductees were lawyer, public servant, and peacemaker John C. Dearie; broadcaster Adrian Flannelly; Academy Award-winning director Terry George; Irish Repertory Theatre founders Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly; Grammy Award-winning musician Arturo O’Farrill; and NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. Each inductee received a Waterford Crystal Lismore bowl.

The event began with a cocktail reception in the Regency Room, where the honorees and guests mingled and took photos with Irish America founders Patricia Harty and Niall O’Dowd.

At noon, the inductees and guests made their way into the adjoining Cotillion Room and were seated. Niall O’Dowd welcomed everyone and introduced Adrian Flannelly, host of The Adrian Flannelly Show, which has been on the air for the last 50 years. Flannelly acknowledged his cousin Brian O’Dwyer, the prominent lawyer, immigration lobbyist, and Grand Marshal of New York City’s 2019 St. Patrick’s Day parade, as well as other family members who were in attendance, and he thanked his wife, Aine Sheridan, saying she was “the person who actually made the radio show a success. She refuses to be associated with 50 years of broadcasting because she claims she wasn’t born at that time.

Adrian Flannelly speaks to the group gathered in the Cotillion Room for the 2019 Hall of Fame inductions.

He added: “What Irish America magazine brought to America is a miracle in itself, and trust me when I say that when Niall and Trish Harty arrived in this town here with even roaming out the concept of a glossy magazine, I thought to myself, ‘God, this is something I would absolutely love to be associated with.’ It’s terrific, and I’m very, very, very grateful and honored to get this award from what has brought Irish America up several notches to the top rung. Again, congratulations.”

Flannelly also congratulated fellow inductee John C. Dearie, who spent 25 years as his cohost of the radio program.

Co-founder and editor-in-chief of Irish America magazine Patricia Harty, who introduced NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. O’Neill expressed his great pride in being the grandson of four Irish emigrants. He recognized his mother, Helen, and prompted a round of applause for her raising seven kids. He joked, “Growing up, I was number four at a time when I wasn’t really sure if she knew what my name was, but that’s okay.”

“I certainly wouldn’t be standing up here if it wasn’t for the 54,000 men and women of the New York City Police Department,” said O’Neill, “and the thousands of people that have come before us. NYC was transformed, and it wasn’t transformed by magic.”

Harty then introduced a special guest, Grammy winner Judy Collins, who sang her song “Dreamers” followed by “Danny Boy.”

Following Collins, the next inductee to speak was Afro-Cuban jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill, who expressed his honor in being among the other inductees, saying, “I was deeply surprised to be informed of this induction. To find myself in the company of Commissioner O’Neill – not behind bars – Adrian Flannelly – not on the air – Ciarán O’Reilly, Charlotte Moore, and Terry George – and not in the audience! John C. Dearie and not in litigation is a huge surprise and an honor. Their achievements and accolades are the stuff of legend.”

He added: “We O’Farrills like the idea of being confusing. We like being many things: Irish, German, Mexican, Cuban, jazz, classical, Latin, New Yorker – but citizens of the world, as is the predilection of the Irish…I am grateful to immigrants and the vitality that they bring to the shores that they land on. I am thrilled to know that wherever we go we initiate dialogue and bring about change.” O’Farrill then played a one-of-a-kind rendition of “Danny Boy” on the grand piano.

Folk songstress Judy Collins poses with jazz musician and new inductee Arturo O’Farrill after each performed their own renditions of “Danny Boy.”

Harty invited everyone to enjoy their lunch as the main course was set. Later, as dessert was served, singer Niamh Hyland and guitarist Shu Nakamura performed “Fields of Gold.” Harty then introduced Consul General Ciarán Madden, who reflected, “Of all the things the Irish have brought to America – the music, the literature, the dance – the one that stands out above all, I think, is public service.”

The next inductees to speak were Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly, who together founded the Irish Repertory Theatre 30 years ago. “Most days,” said O’Reilly, “the glamor of running a theater company has to do with the minutiae of fixing a broken toilet or running out for lozenges for the actor who has gotten bronchitis, or getting on the phone to persuade an agent that his movie star client would become an even bigger star if he were to act at Irish Rep for no money. And then comes a day like today, when Irish America calls us and we get to put on a suit and tie and put on airs and come to the Pierre Hotel and mix with police commissioners and Academy and Grammy Award-winners.”

Moore then took to the microphone, saying, “If all life is a circle, this honor today is significant for me. My ancestors left County Wexford in another century, landed on these shores and made their way west to Kentucky and southern Illinois to work in the coal mines. They left with little in their pockets, but their blood was plush with heritage… It’s been a privilege to honor the heritage of a country that’s produced the finest playwrights in any language. The fact that my name will hang in the Hall of Fame in New Ross, County Wexford, is deeply meaningful to me.”

After that, O’Dowd introduced John C. Dearie, who called on Irish Americans to be more hands-on with Irish issues, saying, “What we need to do is get the CEOs and leaders in all the fields of cultures in our country – the Irish presence – to be more involved in not only the search for peace in Northern Ireland, but for the support of all of these other issues: immigration, the McGuinness Principles, the concern about Brexit and what it means for the Good Friday Agreement. That’s our challenge. Our challenge is to get activation and motivation.”

Finally, O’Dowd introduced Oscar-winning director of films such as Hotel Rwanda and In the Name of the Father, Terry George. “This room epitomizes America – Irish America,” said George, “what happened to me and what’s great about both our countries. Because gathered here is just the epitome of decency, hope, luck, and talent… This is the land of hope, the land of dreamers. I couldn’t even have dreamed the possibility of this. Clearly, my mother didn’t when she said I should get another job.”

Prominent director and new inductee Terry George shows off his trophy, which he told the group he planned to fill with fresh flowers every day.

He added: “I try to transmit the great sense of justice, humanism, passion, and caring that our nation has, to transmit that into literature and into a movement, that we can lay the foundation for generations to come to say that they can be great Irish Americans, that they can be great citizens of the world.”

Niamh Hyland and Shu Nakamura closed out the presentation, performing “Wild Mountain Thyme.” Inductees and guests finished their desserts and mingled more before departing, taking the newest issue of Irish America on their way out.

The Hall of Fame is located in Ireland aboard the Dunbrody Famine Ship in New Ross, County Wexford. Founded in 2010 in celebration of Irish America magazine’s 25th anniversary, the Irish America Hall of Fame honors the extraordinary achievements of Irish-American leaders, from their significant accomplishments and contributions to American society to the personal commitment to safeguarding their Irish heritage and the betterment of Ireland.  ♦


For more information on our Hall of Fame and other events, contact Maggie Holland at or Mary Gallagher at

See slideshow below for more photos of the Hall of Fame!

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Announcing Irish America’s 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees Fri, 01 Feb 2019 19:50:58 +0000 Read more..]]> Irish America magazine, the leading national glossy publication of Irish interest in North America, will host its annual Hall of Fame Awards luncheon on Thursday, March 14, at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.


The Irish America Hall of Fame honors the extraordinary achievements of Irish-American leaders, from their significant accomplishments and contributions to American society to their personal commitment to safeguarding their Irish heritage and the betterment of Ireland. The Irish America Hall of Fame exhibition is housed in New Ross, County Wexford, at the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience.

This year’s inductees are NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill; legendary radio host Adrian Flannelly; Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter, and producer Terry George; the two co-founders of the award-winning Irish Repertory Theatre Company, Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly; Grammy Award-winning Jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill and legendary lawyer and peacemaker John C. Dearie.

The event will feature a cocktail reception followed by a seated luncheon and induction ceremony presented by Irish America founders Patricia Harty and Niall O’Dowd. The Hall of Fame inductees will each give remarks, and there will be performances by Arturo O’Farrill as well as Niamh Hyland and Shu Nakamura.

Grammy Award-winning singer Judy Collins and Emmy Award-winning actress Fionnula Flanagan will be special guests.

Irish America’s Hall of Fame, preserved at the Dunbrody in New Ross.

About the Inductees

Throughout the Irish-American community, John C. Dearie is recognized for having organized four Irish American Presidential Forums during Presidential election years. A lawyer of note, John was elected ten times to the New York State Assembly, and served as a State Assemblyman, representing his home borough of the Bronx. During his tenure, John was Chairman of the Committee on Cities, Ways and Means Committee, Housing Committee and Aging Committee, and was the sponsor or co-sponsor of countless legislation.

James O’Neill is the 43rd Police Commissioner of New York City. A hands-on practitioner and dedicated police reformer, O’Neill was instrumental in developing the Neighborhood Policing strategy, which is renewing and recasting the NYPD’s patrol function to provide greater police and community interaction and collaboration. The program has now been implemented in all residential NYC precincts and is the largest, best-funded, and best-staffed community policing initiative ever undertaken in the United States.

Adrian Flannelly is a radio broadcaster and host of The Adrian Flannelly Show since 1969. The first Irish-American talk radio show, The Adrian Flannelly Show continually presents a lively mix of interviews, music, culture and heritage, national and international news, and commentary. Flannelly serves as the Irish Cultural Liaison for the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City, adjacent to the World Trade Center and World Financial Center. In 2000, the Irish government appointed Flannelly as its U.S. Representative on its Task Force on “Policy Towards Emigrants.” He was appointed Irish Cultural Liaison to New York City Hall under Mayors Edward Koch and Michael Bloomberg. March 17, 1997 was declared “Adrian Flannelly Day” in New York City by Mayor Giuliani.

Terry George is an Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer known for films Hotel Rwanda, In the Name of the Father, and Some Mother’s Son, as well as the television show The District. Much of his film work involves The Troubles in Northern Ireland. In 2010, George wrote and directed the short film The Shore, while his daughter Oorlagh produced it. The film was shot over six days outside his home in County Down and won an Oscar in 2012. In July 2013 he was awarded an honorary degree from Queens University Belfast in recognition of his “exceptional services to film and drama.”

Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly co-founded the award-winning Irish Repertory Theatre in 1988 with a production of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough of the Stars. Today it is still the only year-round theatre company in New York City devoted exclusively to bringing Irish and Irish-American works to the stage. More than 40,000 audience members annually attend its productions. Moore acts as artistic director of the Theatre and has directed at least half of its shows, while O’Reilly acts as producing director.

Arturo O’Farrill is a Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist, composer, and director of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. His professional career began at age 19 performing with the Carla Bley Band at Carnegie Hall and continued as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte. The son of Latin Jazz musician, arranger, and bandleader Chico O’Farrill, Arturo has performed in the U.S., Europe, Russia, Australia, and South America in just the last few years. He travels to Cuba regularly as an informal Cultural Ambassador, working with Cuban musicians, dancers, and students, bringing local musicians from Cuba to the US and American musicians to Cuba.

Visitors’ first introduction to the Irish America Hall of Fame.

About Irish America

Since its inception in October 1985, Irish America has become a powerful vehicle for expression on a range of political, economic, social, and cultural themes that are of paramount importance to the Irish in the United States. It has helped re-establish the Irish ethnic identity in the U.S. (34.7 million according to the last U.S. census) and highlights the best political and business leaders, artists, writers, and community figures among the Irish in America.


For ticket information, click here.

For questions about the event, please contact Mary Gallagher at

For information on the Hall of Fame, click here.  ♦

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Celebrating thePast and Present Fri, 21 Dec 2018 20:26:30 +0000 Read more..]]> Niamh Hyland sang “Silent Night” in Irish, and a hush fell over the room – a splendid room with tall windows, looking out over Central Park.

So often at Irish events, music is the thread that holds it all together, acting as the link to the ancestors across the generations, and this occasion was no different.

It was December 12, and some 250 Irish and Irish Americans were gathered for the annual Business 100 luncheon honoring Irish and Irish-American executives.

It was a grand occasion that drew people from around the country; from California to St. Louis, from Philadelphia to Boston; and across the generations from fifth- to Irish-born, each honoree with his or her own memory of someone meaningful in their lives who had encouraged them to never give up on themselves.


The splendor of the Metropolitan Club, decked out in its Christmas finery, gave me pause. Earlier, as Niamh, from County Leitrim, and her guitarist, Shu Nakamura, who was born in Japan, did their pre-lunch sound check, I looked out the window of the ballroom.

From the height of the third floor, I could see over the horse and carriage drivers into the park. I was reminded that there was once a thriving village in Central Park called Seneca. Founded in 1825 by African Americans, the village flourished, and by the 1840s it included Irish and German immigrants.

The village midwife was Irish, a fact that struck a chord with me when I first read about Seneca in an article submitted to Irish America. I think of her helping to birth babies who would grow up to fight in the Civil War and travel beyond the confines of New York, building this great nation.

Alas, as with many Irish stories, there is a sad note. Seneca was destroyed, its villagers scattered to make way for Central Park.

I’ve heard the phrase “the great scattering” used in the context of the Irish diaspora, for indeed, we were scattered to the four corners of the world by conflict and starvation.

But, as with all great Irish gatherings, the focus on this occasion was celebrating life, and success, with a nod to past generations who helped make that success possible.

Eileen McDonnell, the chairman and CEO of life insurance giant Penn Mutual, gave an evocative keynote address that paid homage to her grandparents, all four of whom had immigrated from Ireland, and one of whom (her grandfather), was a musician from County Clare.

Her words reminded us that earlier generations, who made the journey across the ocean and across the land, to find work in mining camps and dig canals, didn’t have much in the way of material goods, but that they carried their music with them.

And on this grand occasion, Niamh’s soaring voice, paired with Shu’s guitar notes, provided a soulful connection to the ancestors. And, both being immigrants, they reminded us of our nation’s melting-pot heritage.

Beautiful.  ♦

For more on Niamh Hyland, including her new album, “Live to Love”, see:

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2018 Business 100 Luncheon Fri, 14 Dec 2018 21:54:31 +0000 Read more..]]> On Wednesday, December 12, Irish America magazine hosted its 33rd annual Business 100 awards luncheon at the Metropolitan Club in New York City. The best and brightest Irish-American business leaders, representing some of the nation’s top corporations, were honored, and Eileen McDonnell, the chairman & CEO of Penn Mutual, served as the keynote speaker.

Coming in from all over the country, and representing a range of generations from 4th- to Irish-born, the impressive group of honorees, 57 of whom were in attendance, included such notables as Don Colleran, chief sales officer at FedEx; Gerry Cuddy, the CEO of Beneficial Bank; John Saunders, the president and CEO of FleishmanHillard; and Kevin McManus, Andrew O’Flaherty and Ted Sullivan, all high-level executives at SAP.

The occasion was also an opportunity to highlight the women on the Business 100 list, who, like the keynote speaker Eileen McDonnell, have broken through the corporate glass ceiling. These included Audrey Hendley, the Irish-born president of American Express Travel, one of the largest multi-channel consumer travel agencies in the world; Michele Cusack, a first-generation Irish American who is Chief Financial Officer of Northwell, one of the largest health systems in the United States; and Julie Davis, a private wealth advisor at Goldman Sachs, who is 4th-generation. Julia credits her persistence and love for finance to the spirit of her grandfather, who taught her that you can never give up on yourself.

Paying tribute to the ancestors is an important part of Irish America’s events, and the co-founders of the magazine, now in its 34th year, Niall O’Dowd and Patricia Harty, emphasized this in their opening remarks.

“You help us honor our past and celebrate our future,” said Harty, welcoming “old friends and supporters, and the many new faces” to the luncheon. The Consul General of Ireland in New York, Ciarán Madden, also welcomed the honorees and focused his remarks on the special relationship between Ireland and America that goes back many generations.

The true highlight of the gathering was Eileen McDonnell’s touching keynote address.

McDonnell, who is the subject of the cover story in the January / February 2019 issue of Irish America magazine, paid homage to her four grandparents who emigrated from Ireland so that she could one day have a better life. She spoke of her father’s father, Terence McDonnell, who grew up on a dairy farm in the west of Ireland, but, upon arriving in New York City, had to reinvent himself. He went to work in a grocery store, and rose to become manager of an A&P store, and moonlighted as a bartender in Richmond Hill, Queens, setting an example of how “adaptability and relationship skills are transferable and oftentimes even more valuable than technical abilities,” as McDonnell recollected.

She also highlighted the accomplishments of the other honorees in the room, noting that they all have their own stories of brave ancestors who left everything behind so that their descendants could one day sit in that room.

“Great leaders recognize that success is based on the success of others, and that they are a part of something bigger than themselves,” said McDonnell.

She added, “Adaptability, strength in adversity, lifelong learning, a shared sense of belonging; while my grandparents never received recognition like we are witnessing here today, they certainly possessed many of the same characteristics that our Business 100 possess.”

“So,” she stated in closing, “a century after my grandparents arrived on these shores to become Americans, I stand here proud to call myself an Irish American and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the other honorees here today. Congratulations. Erin go bragh!”

McDonnell received a standing ovation. As did Niamh Hyland, from County Leitrim, who, accompanied by Sku Namamura on guitar, provided the entertainment.

Niamh sang “Fields of Gold” and “Isle of Hope – Isle of Tears” to kick off the program, and closed out the event with “Silent Night,” singing the chorus in Irish, and, as the final song of the day, “Wild Mountain Thyme,” with the audience gleefully joining in, singing, “Will ye go, Lassie, go!”

Beautiful. ♦

For the complete list of the 2018 Business 100, click here

Click to view slideshow. ]]> 1 39340
2018 Healthcare andLife Sciences 50 Awards Fri, 09 Nov 2018 23:21:24 +0000 Read more..]]> There are times when a good news story needs telling and in this case, it is about a wonderful group of Irish American healthcare and life sciences professionals who are changing the world. They were among the 50 Healthcare and Life Sciences honorees that attended Irish America magazine’s award dinner last Friday night at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan. We forget sometimes that the Irish who came to America were wonderful caregivers, cops, nurses, and priests, nuns, and teachers, and that the tradition of service is deeply ingrained in the Irish DNA. In a world full of woe and conflict these days, it was wonderful to be among this generation of healers and visionaries. Keynote speaker was Michael Mahoney of Boston Scientific, the second most admired CEO in America, and it is easy to see why. Hollywood handsome with a self-deprecating manner, one wishes in an idle moment that someone like this was running for president, clearly deeply respected by colleagues and employees, obviously brilliant and inspired by the intention on both doing well but also doing good. He thanks his Irish mother for his intent to give back.

Then there was a young man whose parents come from my father’s home place of West Kerry. Dr. Kevin Curran is a pediatric oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering. He is a pioneer in CAR_T which uses the body’s own immune system to fight the cancerous cells attacking it. Curran has developed new treatments for children’s cancers that have saved and will save countless lives. Several drug companies will soon have new life-saving products on the market because of his work. Also, there were the McGinn brothers from Northwell Health, the huge hospital chain run by redoubtable Irishman Mike Dowling.

Dr. Joseph McGinn is famous for revolutionizing the field of cardiothoracic surgery. His brother Thomas McGinn is deputy physician-in-chief and senior VP at Northwell. Between them, the brothers have helped improve the lives of thousands of patients as their surgical breakthroughs and innovative practices have been extensively practiced all over the medical world. Sister Bernie Kenny got the largest cheer of the night. She has ministered to the poor all her life and in 1982 founded the Health Wagon in Appalachia offering free health care to those in the poorest region of America. Last year alone they helped 14,500 dirt poor families. Dr. Barbara Murphy is chair of the Department of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She received the Wyeth Basic Science Investigator award, the single most prestigious prize given in the field of transplant surgery. She is an Irish native which makes her American success all the more noteworthy. Those are just a few quick pictures of those who were there at the event co-sponsored by Northwell and ICON one of the best clinical research companies in the world based in Dublin.

We Irish really do have a lot to proud of, and it’s not all about who is voting for who but rather who cares deeply and gives back. Irish America’s honorees set a wonderful example. ♦

Click to view slideshow.



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Irish America’s 2018 Business 100 Fri, 12 Oct 2018 18:13:41 +0000 Read more..]]> Irish America magazine is delighted to announce that Eileen McDonnell, Chairman and CEO of Penn Mutual will deliver the keynote address at the 2018 Business 100.  

Please join us on December 12th at the New York Metropolitan Club, to celebrate Eileen and the  2018 Business 100 honorees for the 33rd annual awards luncheon. 

For tickets and information click here.

To nominate a candidate to our list, please. email

About our Keynote: Eileen McDonnell is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. She is a graduate of Molloy College and went on to complete her M.B.A. in finance and investments at Adelphi University. She received an honorary doctorate from Molloy College in 2011. In 2017, Eileen was the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the greater Philadelphia region.

Eileen is a native New Yorker and is a second-generation Irish American with ancestry from counties Clare, Leitrim, Mayo, and Sligo. She takes inspiration from her grandparents, whose courage and optimism embodied the spirit of the Irish she’s proud to have inherited.

Eileen belongs to a number of organizations, including the Irish American Business Chamber and Network. She has also been honored as one of Crain’s New York Business 40 under 40. Eileen has also been awarded the honor of being inducted into the Business Excellence Institute Hall of Fame in Dublin.

To see complete coverage of last year’s 2017 awards and Keynote Speaker Bill McDermott CEO of SAP, please click here. ♦


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2018 Healthcare and Life Sciences 50 Thu, 04 Oct 2018 18:20:29 +0000 Read more..]]> Every year, Irish America magazine is proud to present the Healthcare and Life Sciences 50, a celebration of the works of the best Irish-born and Irish-American leaders in medical fields, that include medical care, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, research, development, and life sciences venture capital. This year’s awards dinner will take place on November 2 at the New York Yacht Club, beginning at 6 pm. For further details, click here.

We will be celebrating with our honorees, alongside Keynote Speaker Michael F. Mahoney,  Chief Executive Officer and chairman of the board of Boston Scientific Corporation, a global medical technology leader with approximately $10 billion in annual revenue and commercial representation in more than 125 countries.

Michael F. Mahoney CEO, Boston Scientific

Since joining Boston Scientific in 2011 as president, Mahoney has focused the company on addressing the needs of the evolving healthcare landscape by driving improvements to patient outcomes and increasing healthcare economic efficiency and access. Under his leadership, Boston Scientific has brought many transformational medical devices to market. We at Irish America are looking forward to hosting Michael, our exemplary honorees, and their guests on November 2nd at the New York Yacht Club. 

Last year our keynote speaker was Daniel O’Day, CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals, who gave a wonderful speech on how thankful he was to his ancestors that came over from Ireland and the Irish ability to overcome adversity. You can watch his speech below as well as read a more in depth synopsis of the event here.

Past honorees include Michael Dowling, CEO of Northwell Health; two Nobel Prize winners, Dr. James Watson and William C. Campbell; as well as Dr. Barbara Murphy, Chair of the Department of Medicine for the Mount Sinai Health System. ♦

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The 21st Annual WallStreet 50 Gala Celebration Fri, 28 Sep 2018 21:07:41 +0000 Read more..]]> “We always try to evoke the spirit of the ancestors on occasions like this, and what better way to remember their journey and how they came to love An Talamh Nua – The New Land – than to have an immigrant sing a song written by another immigrant?”

Thus began the 21st annual Wall Street 50 Gala Dinner, with co-founder Patricia Harty introducing Irish tenor Ciaran Sheehan to sing Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.”

This special evening, which paid tribute to the country’s top Irish Americans working in the financial industry, was held at the New York Yacht Club.

A private social club on 44th Street, just off Fifth Avenue, the club is steeped in history, and boasts beautiful models of the most famous America’s Cup defenders, which served as a sharp contrast to the often less-than-seaworthy, overcrowded, and disease-ridden sailing ships that transported earlier generations of Irish to America.

But this was an occasion to celebrate, and there was plenty to celebrate. The honorees, representing many of the most prestigious financial companies in the world, illustrate how far the Irish have come since those early days when they arrived hungry on the shores of the New World.

Eileen Murray, the evening’s keynote speaker, is herself the embodiment of an American success story. She grew up one of nine children in Dyckman Housing Projects and worked her way up, from her first low-paying job at Peat Marwick in the 1980s, to co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world.

An engaging speaker, Murray regaled the audience with tales of her childhood – of her extraordinary mother, who grew up in Galway and came to the U.S. on her own at 13, and her father, who was an active military man who fought in WWII and Korea, and had three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and a Silver Star.

“Most of what I learned, I learned between the ages of 10 and 12 from my parents,” she said, adding, “of course, it took me 35-40 years to figure that out.

“My parents taught me Irish curiosity, creativity, determination, common sense, and most important, hospitality, creativity, and generosity… I have to admit, it was sprinkled with a little bit of Irish guilt as well.”

She recalled how she loved growing up in the housing project: “it was a true melting pot of rich and beautiful diversity.” On her floor alone – the ninth floor, where the 11 Murrays lived in a three-bedroom apartment – her nearest neighbors were Cuban and Albanian, and her neighbors down the hall were survivors of the Holocaust.

“Everyone’s door was open; no one’s door was locked,” she said. And when her mother’s uncle Pete came over and played his accordion, they all gathered in the Murray’s apartment, spilling over into the hall. “I can still remember the laughter and the music in my head.

She talked with sadness of how drugs and the Vietnam War – two of her brothers enlisted and survived but other kids she knew came home in body bags – changed the neighborhood. It was the murder of a neighbor that finally persuaded the family to leave, moving to Riverdale, where Murray attended Manhattan College.

Murray’s speech, delivered with humor and straight-from-the-heart sincerity, resonated with the audience, who spanned the generations from 5th to Irish-born.

It was an evening to share Irish stories and remember those who had paved the way for the success enjoyed by these honorees today.

Dan Kennedy, vice president and general manager at Corvil, wore his grandfather’s tie pin. He said it was in tribute to both of his grandparents, who left school at 14, forgoing dreams of an education to support their families. Knowing of their sacrifice “deeply shaped how I work and live,” he said.

Click to view slideshow.

Meredith Ryan-Reid, a senior vice president in MetLife’s Group Benefits Division talked proudly of her family, who landed in Boston many generations back and made their living as boxers, police officers, domestics, and factory workers.

David Reilly, the chief information officer for global banking and markets at Bank of America said, “There is no feeling sorry for yourself in our culture, unless of course you are singing about it.”

Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief, Patricia Harty with 2018’s Wall Street 50 Honorees

And there was singing.

Ciaran Sheehan, who spent 1000 nights as the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, sang the show’s anthem, “Music of the Night,” and closed with “Galway Bay,” an Irish folk ballad, to honor the Galway roots of Murray’s mother, Bridget.

Another high point of the evening was singer Mary O’Dowd, who had the audience singing along to “When New York was Irish,” her hit song from the late 1970s.

“New York is still Irish,” Mary concluded. And on this night in the New York Yacht Club, it was.


To read the entirety of Eileen Murray’s featured interview in the September / October 2018 issue, click here. ♦

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In Memoriam: Tom Moran1952–2018 Sat, 18 Aug 2018 02:46:37 +0000 Read more..]]> Tributes continue to pour in for Tom Moran, the former chairman and CEO of Mutual America, noted humanitarian, and peacemaker, who passed away at 65 on August 12 in New York City after a short illness.


“I have learned with sadness of the passing of Tom Moran, a leader in the Irish community in America who will be greatly missed. In 2015, I presented Tom with a Presidential Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his work for Ireland, on this island and in the U.S., supporting peace, but also supporting education and opportunity. Sabina and I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Joan, his family and many friends at this time.”  – Irish President Michael D. Higgins, in a public statement.


“St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which this week celebrated 160 years since the laying of its cornerstone in 1858, was a fitting site for the funeral of a man and the business leader regarded by many as a guardian angel for peace, truth, and justice.” – Turlough McConnell, head of Turlough McConnell Communications.


“Tom made a very significant positive impact on Irish American relations, in particular supporting peace in Northern Ireland. My sincere condolences to his wife, Joan, and to his wider family and friends.” – Simon Coveney, Irish Foreign Affairs Minister, Twitter.


“Mourning the death today of Tom Moran. Nobody would be more uncomfortable with eulogies  – nor more deserving. He was the underdog’s fierce champion – a humanitarian and a rebel. The best of company and the most loyal of friends. Ar dheis Dé.”  – Niall Burgess, Secretary General of Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and former Irish Consul General in New York, Twitter.


“Tributes to Tom Moran include his humanitarian efforts, philanthropy and especially his significant contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process. His personal support for many of us was invaluable.  His open door policy was not as widely known. Tom’s interest, guidance and financial support in no small way was crucial for the success of many.” – Adrian Flannelly, Irish radio broadcaster and Moran’s old friend, to the Irish Voice.


“Sad to hear of the passing of Tom Moran in New York… A great friend – full of honesty, candor and wisdom. Authentic advocate for policing and the peace process. Many of us in leadership will miss his support, counsel and humor.” – Chief Constable George Hamilton, Police Service Northern Ireland.


“It is with very deep regret that we heard the news of Tom Moran’s death in New York. Tom was introduced to the peace process by Bill Flynn and became a crucial player in his positive involvement with political representatives of loyalism making clear his main aim was a shared understanding of the peace process and building support across all communities. He will be deeply missed. Our condolences to his wife Joan and his wide circle of family and friends… Ar Dheis De Go Raibh A Anam Dilis.”  – Gerry Adams, former president of Sinn Féin, in a statement on behalf of party leadership.


“Typical obituaries end with a recitation of loved ones left behind by the departed: ‘He or she is survived by…’ In the case of Tom Moran, who left this earth on Sunday, August 12, such a listing would be impossible, because Tom is not only survived by a vast community of loving family, friends, and colleagues, but by countless men, women and children around the world who have been — and will continue to be — touched directly by his love, generosity, and boundless belief in the humanity and dignity of all.
Tom was a Concern Worldwide U.S. Board member for more than two decades, and Board Chair from 2001—2017. His relentless commitment to our mission from day one allowed Ireland’s leading humanitarian organization to establish roots in the US. His personal generosity and dauntless evangelism on behalf of the organization set a tone and an example followed by hundreds of others, a community of loyal supporters that has provided a rock solid foundation for innovation, influence, and impact in transforming the lives of the world’s poorest people.”  – Concern Worldwide, via website post.


“For all those who work to heal lives ravaged by violence, famine and War, may they go courageously forward energized and renewed by Tom’s spirit and enthusiasm.” – Ed Kenney, closing the Prayers for the Faithful at Tom’s funeral.


“He was a visionary leader, transforming the company into one of the most respected financial services companies in the nation. Tom touched the lives of so many individuals worldwide, and he was particularly loved by his Mutual of America family. Those of us who were fortunate and blessed to have known and worked closely with him will fondly remember his wisdom, integrity, compassion, caring nature, great sense of humor, limitless energy and a love of life that had a contagious effect everyone he met. He serves as an inspiration for all who knew him.”  – Mutual of America’s obituary in the New York Times.


“His greeting was always the same  – ‘What do you say, Niall – ’ or whoever he was talking too. Right away it tapped him as a listener, not someone who wanted to lead every conversation. That was Tom all right, a force of nature, a force for good, a force for what is right. We will long speak of him.”  – Niall O’Dowd, publisher of Irish America and the Irish Voice.


“Tom Moran embodied the very best of what Manhattan College stands for. He was a man of tremendous energy and intellect who strove constantly to use his gifts in service to others. Underlying all of his many accomplishments was deep respect for the dignity of the human person, which drove his tireless advocacy on behalf of those in need.”  – Brennan O’Donnell, President of Manhattan College.


“I was very saddened to hear that Tom passed away. He was a great guy. I met him in 2004 at Irish America Magazine’s Wall Street 50 event and told him I always wanted to March in the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade and he made sure I did. Several times I came up for the parade and marched with his group, times spent at Langan’s and Gallaghers’ steakhouse after the parade will be great memories that will stay with me the rest of my life. He also made sure I had tickets for the Cardinal’s mass at St. Patrick’s before the parade and primo seats too. We always spoke or texted each other on St. Patrick’s day if I wasn’t in NYC for the day and I will surely miss this good , good man and friend. His wife Joan is in my thoughts and prayers and I pray that God in His mercy will be kind to her and give her comfort.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ (2 Timothy 4:7) Without doubt this verse sums up the great life lived by Tom. Adios amigo, God is merciful so I know we’ll see each other again, save me a pint of the black.” – Thomas P. Lynch, investment adviser with Sunbelt Securities and an repeated honoree in Irish America’s Wall Street 50, via New York Times’ Legacy Guest Book.


“Tom Moran came to visit my daughter’s school in Harlem. The ‘International Academy of Hope,’ a school for children with traumatic brain injuries, most of whom have been left unable to walk, talk, see or speak. . .

As I introduced each child to Tom, he knelt down on the floor in front of each one and was simply present to each and everyone of them. This may sound simple but it takes great courage. In front of these children, one is stripped of all material things and exposed for what they are themselves.  When he was finished in classroom one, he wanted to go to classroom two and so continued the visit until he had knelt in front of every single child in my daughter’s school. . .

Tom’s greatest legacy simply cannot be confined to libraries and scholarships named in his honor, fine crystal engraved with his name. No, this would not be what the Irish-Italian immigrant raised in Staten Island wanted. His last request would almost certainly have been: make sure my work for real equality and real humanity continues. Please make sure Tom Moran’s legacy of love and inclusion lives on and on. I need it to and you do, too.” – Aine Carroll’s tribute to Tom, read at his funeral by Bill Moyers.


“He was a man who didn’t just give money, he gave of  himself, and when he helped someone he made them feel that they were giving him a gift.” – Irish America’s editor-in-chief Patricia Harty.


 “Do as much as you can, as well as you can, for as many as you can, for as long as you can.” – A well-loved quote from Father Aengus Finucane, founder of Concern Worldwide. Bill Moyers read this quote as part of his eulogy for Tom, mentioning that Tom had often repeated it, and modeled his life after it.


Rest in peace, Tom. We were blessed to have you, even if it wasn’t nearly long enough. Slán abhaile.


Note: Those looking to take Tom’s and Father Finucane’s advice may follow this link to Concern Worldwide’s website. A contribution to the organization he loved and worked so hard for would be a great way to honor Tom’s memory. ♦

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