April May 2006 Issue – Irish America https://irishamerica.com Irish America Magazine Mon, 15 Jul 2019 20:00:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 82361074 Irish-American of the Year – Ray Kelly https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/irish-american-of-the-year-ray-kelly/ https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/irish-american-of-the-year-ray-kelly/#respond Sat, 01 Apr 2006 14:59:24 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=25043 Read more..]]> At the helm of the NYPD, the nation’s largest police force, which is acknowledged as an international model for its cutting-edge crime-fighting techniques and facing down terrorist threats, is Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, a former Marine who likes a challenge.

Ray Kelly recalls how when he was only seven years old. he’d often hop on the subway and travel down the West Side of Manhattan alone to have lunch with his mom who was a coat check girl at Macy’s, the nation’s biggest department store.

His dad, James Francis Kelly, spent twenty years as a milkman, first driving a horse-drawn carriage over cobblestone streets and later upgrading to a standup motorized half wagon.

Today, Ray Kelly’s intrepid journey has taken the son of a milkman from Hell’s Kitchen to the top of the New York Police Department, the biggest police force in the country.

In the dark days after 9/11, he was tapped by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to return as Police Commissioner as the city came to grips with the new reality of the world.

He is the only man in the 160-year history of the NYPD to twice serve as its Police Commissioner in two separate stints. He’s a cop’s cop, the only man to have held every rank in the department, from rookie patrolman to Commissioner, in a 31-year career.

“Since he came back in January 2002. less than four months after the 9/11 attacks, he basically created a whole new police department with a new role, placing the department at the front line in the defense against terrorism.” said Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Travis, who has known Kelly for more than twenty years, says. “He may very well be the best commissioner the department has ever had.”

John Timoney, a Dublin-born cop who served for years with Kelly in the NYPD and now serves as the Police Commissioner of Miami, likened the department that Kelly inherited to a “brand-new Cadillac with a ceased engine.”

“I knew he could fix the internal problems because he’s a perfectionist, and nobody knows the culture of the NYPD better.” says Timoney, “but 1 didn’t know if the crime rate would continue to drop.”

In Kelly’s first term as Police Commissioner under Mayor David Dinkins (1992-94), he began work on reducing the homicide rate that had soared in the city to 2,245. Last year the murder rate sank to 549 – the third year in a row that the numbers went below 600, and the lowest tally since the statistics were accurately recorded in the mid-1960s.

Overall crime rates are at their lowest in decades. And a great deal of the credit is due to Kelly, who accomplished this mission of keeping New York safer with a substantially reduced staff.

Ray Kelly is a man who takes charge while retaining the loyalty of those who work for him. His formative years were spent in the Marine Corps.

“We were all Marines,” recalls brother Donald, seven years Ray’s senior. (Ray is the youngest of five – four brothers and one sister.) Older brothers James and Kenneth had already enlisted. “We just followed each other. It was a natural thing. You follow your brother,” Donald said.

By the time he was 23 years old, Ray Kelly found himself stepping into a combat unit in Vietnam as a lieutenant. He retired from the Marine Corps reserves as a colonel in 1993.

“My experience in the Marine Corps shaped my life, gave me discipline, perspective, a view of the world that I use literally every day,” says Kelly. His spit-and-polish black shoes, starched white shirts with French cuffs and meticulously knotted Charavel ties (sold to him for years by ex-Marine Dan Hirsch at Bergdorf Goodman’s) have become a trademark which some attribute to military discipline, or maybe the nuns at St. Gregory’s.

“The single biggest argument I have with him is that he doesn’t believe in anything other than white shirts and black shoes.” said attorney-about-town Eddie Hayes, another longtime friend.

“He’s extremely disciplined, unlike most of the Irish who are pretty free wheeling,” said Timoney. “While he’s true-blue Irish, he plays it close to the vest.”

Despite his background as a second-generation Irish-American with working-class-roots, Kelly was the first member of his family to enter the NYPD. “I guess I disprove the notion that you have to know somebody to move up in the Police Department,” says Kelly. In the department, it is known as a “hook.” But Kelly clearly forged his own hook out of pluck and determination.

Joe Lisi, a retired police captain and ex-Marine, met Kelly when he was working on one of the city’s first anti-crime units in the 23rd Precinct in East Harlem. “He definitely does try to lead by example,” said Lisi.

It was during the reign of Commissioner Ben Ward, the city’s first black commissioner, that Kelly came to public notice following the so-called Stun Gun Scandal in Queens’ 106th Precinct when it was revealed that cops used stun guns on suspected drug dealers in the mid-1980s. “Kelly was the guy the Commissioner selected to go in there and clean it up,” said Lisi.

“He’s very much hands-on, roll up your sleeves and lead by example,” said Travis, who first encountered Kelly while serving as a police attorney in the wake of the stun gun scandal. “He doesn’t tolerate any nonsense.”

Ward later tapped Kelly to run the Office of Management, Analysis and Planning, which became his launching pad for advancement and gave him his first exposure to the crime statistics that eventually became one of his biggest weapons in taking back the streets.

When Dinkins became mayor, he appointed Kelly first deputy under Lee Brown. With the New York Post running its famous “Dave Do Something” headline at the height of the Crown Heights riot, it was Kelly who was credited with finally quelling the violence after three days. When Brown resigned in 1992, Dinkins appointed Kelly commissioner.

While advancing through the ranks, Kelly built bridges that pay off to this day. Hc was constantly visiting minority groups, trying to reach out, encouraging blacks and Hispanics to join the department. In fact, his ties to that community were so solid that New York magazine once said he should be known as the city’s third black Police Commissioner.

While the force was once an Irish enclave, today Kelly boasts that it is 23 percent Hispanic and he’d like to see it even more diverse.

Kelly’s brown eyes seem to be always looking, hunting, watching. He’ll smile at times, and his brother Donald insists he always had a great sense of humor. But he doesn’t laugh the full belly laugh of an Irish man in a public saloon. He professes to enjoy a good pint of Guinness, but few have seen him imbibe.

For Ray Kelly, a laugh is usually more like a quick chuckle, a wry observation or a witty aside that might not be too out of place in a foxhole – or in a stakeout.

“I knew that Ray was always a special package,” says Donald. “As a kid, he was good in the classroom and good on the streets in stickball. And he always had a gang of friends.

“He loved the street,” said Donald, a self-proclaimed police buff. “You can’t outsmart him and you can’t scare him.”

If anything, the stakes are higher now that Kelly is “Mr. Inside” on the front line in the war on terror.

“We are doing everything that a municipality can do to prevent another attack,” says Kelly. “We have devoted thousands of police officers to protecting our city from terrorism. At the same time, we haven’t taken our eye off the crime fight ball.

“Crime is down twenty percent in the last four years,” he says. “No one, certainly not the media, would have reasonably predicted that in the last few months of 2001.”

Kelly would like to drive it even lower.

Last month, he opened a new $11 million hi-tech Real Time Crime Center, which he hopes can speed information processing and spot potential hot spots almost as they’re developing.

“In many ways we’re still a classic big organization that doesn’t know what it knows,” he said.

And he also has about twenty police officers stationed overseas in world hot spots from London to the Middle East to keep eyes and ears out for New York. An hour after the subway bombings in London last year, New York City detectives were on the scene and updating the NYPD on what the potential threat was to New York City.

“He’s probably done as good a job as anyone in the country or in the world in protecting us from terrorism,” said John Timoney.

Kelly was pulling in close to a half million a year as global head of corporate security at Bear Stearns in 2001 when he traded it in for a second run as the commissioner earning $165,000 a year.

“I always tell him you could walk away and make millions tomorrow,” attorney Hayes said. “He tells me, Tm Irish. There are some things that are more important to me than money.”

The attacks on 9/11 played a big role in getting Kelly to return.

His home in Battery Park is right across the street from the World Trade Center site. A few weeks after the attacks, when he and his wife Veronica were allowed briefly back into their apartment to collect their belongings, the devastation of the neighborhood fully struck home. “It affected me very personally,” said Kelly. And the lifetime public servant wanted back in some way. “I felt I wanted to do something and that I had something to offer.” said Kelly, “but ultimately what made me return was when Mayor Bloomberg asked me.”

Kelly and Bloomberg have as good a rapport as any mayor and commissioner in history. It stands in sharp contrast to the combative relationship between Rudy Giuliani and his first colorful crime-busting Police Commissioner. William Bratton. now the head of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Other than that brief stop on Wall Street, Kelly, now 64 years old. has spent his life in the public sector.

He attended Manhattan College and the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, and then enrolled in the first Police Academy Cadet Program, graduating at the top of his class in 1963. Five days on the job, his Marine unit was called up and he found himself in “Nam.” When he returned to New York, he walked the beat and went to St. John’s Law School at night. He also earned a doctorate from New York University Graduate School of Law and then, for good measure, another one from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

He first served as Police Commissioner during the final two years of the David Dinkins administration in 1992 to 1994, when runaway crime fueled by the crack epidemic first began taking a dip.

In between his two runs as Police Commissioner. Kelly learned to elbow his way through the Washington bureaucracy, serving as the head of U.S. Customs, and at the U.S. Treasury as Under secretary for Enforcement, where he supervised the Bureau of Alcohol. Tobacco and Firearms. He also served on the executive committee and was elected president for the Americas of Interpol, the international police organization. Kelly was also brought in to set up an interim police force in Haiti and try to end the entrenched human rights abuses as director of the International Police Monitors.

Kelly grew up in a New York that was far more Irish than the city is today.

Many of the Presentation nuns who taught him at St. Gregory’s on West 90th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues came directly from Ireland, and Irish saloons with names such as The Old Mick lined the streets of the neighborhood. Kelly was not what one would term “uber Irish.” with the gregariousness associated with the Irish politician. But he does have a rooting interest in the underdog, and insights into the struggles of the working class that were forged by the Irish culture that he grew up with on the streets around him. The bars wouldn’t open until after the last Mass on Sunday. There were no summer trips “home.” no Irish step dance or Gaelic lessons. In those days, when someone left Ireland, they rarely went back. A getaway was a summer vacation on Long Island. And that was where Ray Kelly, met his wife Veronica. “I was a lifeguard and she was a swimmer.” recalls Kelly. “She’s terrific,” he says, flashing a smile.

The apartment where the four Kelly brothers and sister Mary grew up on the corner of 91st Street and Columbus Avenue was certainly an Irish household. But brother Donald recalls Italian. Polish and Jewish neighbors in the building.

“The neighborhood had clearly an Irish feel to it.” Ray Kelly recalls.

There was also the rough-and-tumble side, and by the early 1950s, the neighborhood saw the first jarring influx of the next wave of immigrants from Puerto Rico and the rise of the city’s first serious youth street gangs. “It turned into a classic West Side Story with the influx of the Puerto Ricans and the gangs.” said Kelly. When he was thirteen years old. Kelly’s father had had enough, and decided to move the family to Sunnyside, Queens, which in those days was almost akin to moving to the suburbs. From there it was off to Archbishop Malloy High School.

All four of Kelly’s grandparents were born in Ireland; the Kelly side hailed from Roscommon. His grandmother Bridget Leonard and grandfather Patrick Kelly had both come over in 1884. It turned out they had both been on board the same boat, the Sythia. but they didn’t meet until after they landed. On his maternal grandparents’ side, Bernard O’Brien hailed from Longford and Mary Carolan came from Cavan.

Kelly’s parents were American-born. James Francis Kelly grew up in Hell’s Kitchen on Manhattan’s West Side, and his mom. Elizabeth O’Brien. was raised in the Kips Bay area in the East Thirties. Both were teeming neighborhoods of blue-collar workers in those days.

Kelly himself didn’t venture “back” to Ireland until lie was an adult, and then it was as a paid speaker to Dublin and Belfast.

His own family includes two sons. Gregory and James. Ray asked both to take the police test. They didn’t, but Ray doesn’t seem too upset that they headed off on their own careers. Greg’s a White House correspondent for Fox News and Jim is a managing director at Bear Stearns.

Ray says he’d like to go back to visit the West of Ireland when he gets some time off. That, of course, is virtually never. His last real vacation was “sometime in 2001.” Despite the constant demands, being commissioner is a job he clearly loves. He even turned down Bill Clinton’s offer to head the FBI in order to stay as Police Commissioner during his first stint under Mayor Dinkins.

Like most veteran cops, he is stoic about the tragedies that come with the job.

While this story was being researched. Eric Hernandez, a cop who had been beaten at a White Castle restaurant in the Bronx and then inadvertently shot by a fellow officer who mistook him for a perpetrator, was fighting for his life. Kelly didn’t mention it during an interview at One Police Plaza, where he works behind a desk once used by Teddy Roosevelt, but he had been a near daily visitor to the bedside of the comatose cop. But the heroic efforts to save Hernandez’s life proved futile. He died on February 8. the fifth cop to die since November 2005.

“The toughest part of the job is visiting an officer who has been shot or injured or telling a family that a loved one has died.” Ray Kelly said.

Budget constraints have forced Kelly to wrestle with a declining number of officers on the force in his tenure – down 12 percent to 37.000 officers. And he blasted an arbitration ruling that cut the pay of the new class of rookie cops by $15,000 a year.

“It’s disgraceful.” Kelly says of the new starting salary.

“The class we hired last June, the starting salary was $40.000. This class, it is $25.000.” By contrast, he said the starting salary in Los Angeles is $50,000. “Nobody joins the NYPD to get rich, but you have to give them something to live on.”

Kelly is a constant fixture on the evening news and in the papers and is widely seen as the second most powerful man in City Hall.

There are some who are starting to whisper that Kelly should try to move up a notch and make a move for Gracie Mansion himself when Bloomberg’s second term expires in four years.

It’s not the first time he’s heard the question and in typical Kelly low-key style, he bats it away. “This is the job I want and this is the job I am focusing all my energies on.” he says.

“I also don’t think I have the makeup for an elected position.” he says. “I’ve been in executive positions for a good portion of my adult life – making decisions, not necessarily compromising and making deals. And I think that’s a good part of being in an elected office.”

Is he going to stay for the full four years of Bloomberg’s second term? “I hope so.” he answers. And after that? “I never plan that far ahead.” he says.

The best part of the job? “It’s being in a position to see all the great work that goes on every day. I’d like to be able to personally commend every cop for the great job they do.”

And with that, New York’s top cop was off, dashing to another press conference and a swearing-in ceremony for new undercover officers.

“It’s very rare to find a man with his mental capacity as well as his physical and mental toughness.” said attorney Eddie Hayes. “He’s a very good example of the warrior intellect, and we’re fortunate to have him as our general.” ♦

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The Top 100 https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/the-top-100/ https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/the-top-100/#respond Sat, 01 Apr 2006 14:58:09 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=25046 Read more..]]> “I’m, Irish. There are some things more important to me than money.” – POLICE COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY

Our Top 100 is about many things, but more than anything, it’s about heart.

It’s about an 11-year-old giving up play time to practice Irish dance and winning the World Championship in Ireland.

It’s about a snowboarder going for the gold and coming up just short, and a skater practicing the quadruple jump over and over until she gets it.

It’s about going to Afghanistan to help women be better midwives and doctors, and giving a kid a new life by fixing a cleft palate. And it’s about reaching out and using your corporate muscle to raise funds so that far away in Africa a woman doesn’t have to walk two hours to a well and back again.

For an organization called the Heart of Camden it’s about pushing back at ravaging poverty and older Irish immigrants helping out newer immigrant families.

It’s about keeping the tradition alive through music, and being entertained and informed by first-rate actors, artists, writers and journalists.

And it’s about pushing the boundaries, and in the case of the shuttle crew, leaving the earth’s boundaries altogether.

It’s about tradition and heritage, and service.

And it’s about education – the key to the future, and in the case of Irish Studies programs, a window on the past.

Continuity and connection to the past is something we feel strongly in Irish America. And in honoring those on our Top 100 list we remember those who went before.

In our story on Jim Kelly, who heads up Catholic Charities in New Orleans, we see an element of Margaret, an Irish woman who took in orphaned Irish children whose parents died on famine ships en route to New Orleans in the 1800s.

The history of Irish in the military is reflected in our “Soldier Ride” story, and Sgts. Kelly and Calhoun. Both lost limbs in Iraq but they still cycled across the country to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. And sadly, in reading Lt. Michael Murphy’s profile in the “Those We Lost” section, we are reminded of all those who didn’t make it home.

On Green Street, outside the studio of Kit DeFever, where Police Commissioner Ray Kelly graciously posed for our cover photo, the cobblestones – nice to look at but tough to walk on – offer a glimpse of old New York. I imagine an Irish immigrant of a hundred years ago pushing a cart along a street such as this and I say as much to Ray Kelly. “My father was a milkman with a horse and cart,” he tells me, and the past becomes a part of the present.

In America, like nowhere else, we are proud of simple beginnings and where they can take you when you stick to the road, though the going may be tough.

In the wake of 9/11, Kelly’s job is particularly tough, but it’s one he took because he felt he had something to offer. He is a cop who knows the streets of New York well, having grown up here, and under his command the city’s crime rate is at an all time low. We couldn’t ask for a better person to be in charge in the face of a terrorist threat than this ex Marine, and we couldn’t have picked a better “Irish-American of the Year.”

We are also proud to honor the Commissioner’s son, Greg Kelly. A former Marine like his father, Greg delivered extensive coverage on Iraq and now serves as a White House reporter for Fox News.

We are big on tradition in Irish America and big on family. And every year in this issue we look at Irish-Americans all across the country and see that there is much to make us proud. So let us celebrate and lift a glass to all our Top 100 and to ancestors who continue to inspire us. Even when they had little else, they had the music and dance and they knew how to make a party.

Mortas Cine. ♦

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1916 Anniversary Sparks Debate https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/1916-anniversary-sparks-debate/ https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/1916-anniversary-sparks-debate/#respond Sat, 01 Apr 2006 14:57:44 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=25050 Read more..]]> On the eve of the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising, mainstream political parties are actively competing for the legacy of Ireland’s historical revolution. The government has already announced that the state will officially mark the occasion on April 16 with a military parade past the General Post Office in O’Connell Street, site of rebel headquarters during the Rising.

Some 2,500 personnel from the Defense Forces will take part in the parade, and the Air Corps will perform a fly-past. Ceremonies will conclude with a state reception at Dublin Castle.

In recent years the Irish state treated 1916 as a low-profile commemoration because of the association between the ‘Old IRA’ – the Irish Republican Army who fought in 1916 – and the present-day Provisional IRA outlawed by the Irish state. However, with an eye firmly fixed on centenary celebrations in 2016, mainstream parties have revised their public pronouncements on the Easter Rising. In a spirit of ‘reclaiming the Rising,’ commemorative events have moved from background action to center stage. Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Bertie Ahern has already invited suggestions from Dáil TDs (parliamentarians) on a centenary program.

Opening a conference in Cork recently, President Mary McAleese suggested that many of “today’s freedoms, values, ambitions and success rest on that perilous and militarily doomed undertaking of nine decades ago and on the words of that Proclamation.”

The President’s remarks reignited arguments on whether modern Ireland was defined by 1916 or whether progress towards national independence was hindered by those events. Her address also reopened the debate on whether the legacy of 1916 was to justify violence and glorify blood sacrifice in the pursuit of Irish independence.

The President’s comments will hardly improve relations with hardline unionists in Northern Ireland. One week previous, Dr. Ian Paisley departed from script in an address to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). “I don’t like the President of the Irish Republic because she is dishonest,” he told DUP members. The DUP leader’s remarks were sharply criticized by the Irish government in Dublin. ♦

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Finucanes Demand Full Tribunal https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/finucanes-demand-full-tribunal/ https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/finucanes-demand-full-tribunal/#respond Sat, 01 Apr 2006 14:56:39 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=25056 Read more..]]> Members of the Finucane family reacted angrily when told that the British government will not hold a public inquiry into the 1989 murder of Catholic-solicitor Pat Finucane.

Seventeen years after Finucane was assassinated by UDA gunmen, the victim’s family feel they are no nearer the truth. An initial review by retired Canadian judge Peter Cory concluded that there was collusion between the gunmen and members of the security forces. He recommended that a public inquiry should follow.

However, Northern secretary Peter Main told the solicitor’s widow Geraldine that any investigation would be subject to ministerial approval on security grounds. The Finucane family have rejected anything short of a full open inquiry and are not prepared to submit to a watered-down version. Should the British government insist, it will be a limited inquiry or none at all: the Finucane family will not cooperate, vowing instead to take their campaign to the European courts. ♦

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Staunton Replaces Kerr https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/staunton-replaces-kerr/ https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/staunton-replaces-kerr/#respond Sat, 01 Apr 2006 14:55:32 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=25060 Read more..]]> Steve Staunton was unveiled as the new manager of the Irish international soccer team. In a surprise move, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) named Staunton to lead the new management team alongside veteran manager Bobby Robson. Staunton, 37. will be team manager and Robson, 72, who once guided the English national side to the semifinals of the World Cup. will be his adviser.

“I am the boss,” declared Dundalk-born Staunton at a press conference announcing his appointment. “I am the gaffer and whatever I say goes. The buck stops with me. To manage my country is the ultimate honor. It is clearly the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Staunton’s predecessor Brian KCIT was fired amid accusations that he lacked experience at senior international level. However, Staunton, although holder of a record 103 international Irish caps as a player, has no management experience whatsoever.

Staunton will have about seven months to prepare for his first competitive outing as manager. Unlike the U.S., Ireland did not qualify for this summer’s World Cup in Germany, so the FAI will schedule a number of international friendlies, beginning with a home game against Sweden. With fans’ morale at an ebb following a disastrous World Cup qualifying series, the transformation of Ireland’s most-capped international player into the team’s new boss will reignite public interest in the team. Staunton’s first responsibility was to attend the qualifying draw for the 2008 European Championships. Ireland will face Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Wales, Cyprus and San Marino. ♦

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Casey Returns to Galway https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/casey-returns-to-galway/ https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/casey-returns-to-galway/#respond Sat, 01 Apr 2006 14:54:28 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=25064 Read more..]]> Former Bishop of Galway Dr. Eamonn casey returned to Ireland at the start of February following 13 years in exile. Dr. casey, 78, lived and worked in the U.S., Ecuador. Mexico and England and has retired to the parish of Beagh. near Gort in Co. Galway.

“I regret that in the past 1 let a number of people down,” he said in a rare interview to Irish media. “It caused great hurt to some and for that. I am deeply regretful and sad.”

Formerly a very high profile figure in Ireland’s religious world, the former bishop’s exile followed revelations that he had fathered a son with his American lover Annie Murphy and temporarily diverted church funds for personal use. He left Ireland in 1992 in a storm of controversy, but public opinion has softened towards casey, with many people feeling he has already paid for his duplicity. ♦

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Stardust Anniversary Raises Questions https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/stardust-anniversary-raises-questions/ https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/stardust-anniversary-raises-questions/#respond Sat, 01 Apr 2006 14:53:26 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=25067 Read more..]]> Hundreds of people gathered in the north Dublin suburb of Coolock to remember the 48 young people who died in a fire at the Stardust nightclub 25 years ago. The disaster occurred at a disco on St. Valentine’s eve in 1981. and families of the victims are demanding that the investigation into the fire should be reopened.

The last inquiry was inconclusive about the cause of the fire, suggesting that the blaze was probably caused by arson. However, families and survivors feel they got “no justice” from that investigation and they want the case reopened to re-examine forensic evidence. “The collective loss and injury is of a scale so deep as to be beyond the imagination,” said Fr. Kevin Moore, who celebrated a memorial Mass in Coolock. ♦

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Dublin Considers Cable Car https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/dublin-considers-cable-car/ https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/dublin-considers-cable-car/#respond Sat, 01 Apr 2006 14:52:54 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=25069 Read more..]]> A private consortium is behind a spectacular proposal to build a 52 million euro cable car complex running 2.5 miles along the River Liffey in Dublin’s city centre. Property developer Barry Boland outlined a plan that would set cable cars running from Heuston Railway Station to Spencer Dock in the International Finance Services Centre.

Four cable cars would ferry visitors about 80 meters above the river, and each would have a capacity for 25 people. Tours in either direction would take about 20 minutes and projected ticket prices are 15 euros (just under $18).

The project would present an adventurous new tourist attraction, offering an aerial view of many landmarks in the capital – including the Four Courts, Christchurch and Guinness Brewery. Boland told the Irish Times that the scheme would include two new pedestrian bridges across the Liffey. Details on the project are at an advanced stage, but despite an enthusiastic reaction from Dublin City Council, the consortium has yet to apply for planning permission. ♦

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Gardai Complete Money-Laundering File https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/gardai-complete-money-laundering-file/ https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/gardai-complete-money-laundering-file/#respond Sat, 01 Apr 2006 14:51:24 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=25071 Read more..]]> Gardai (Irish police) completed an investigation into suspected money-laundering operations by the Provisional IRA following the massive £26 million Northern Bank raid in Belfast two years ago. A nationwide garda search codenamed Operation Phoenix led to the home of a financial adviser in Cork where cash deposits of £2.4 million matched with banknotes stolen in the raid. Gardai believe that almost £5 million of the haul was sent to Cork for laundering through various channels. Another IRA republican activist in Cork harbor held part of the haul in safe-keeping, but when he heard that gardai were getting close, he panicked and set about burning the cash at his home. The garda file, which accounts for £5 million of the £26 million raid, has been sent on to the Director of Public Prosecutions. ♦

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Fire Destroys Reynolds Factory https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/fire-destroys-reynolds-factory/ https://irishamerica.com/2006/04/fire-destroys-reynolds-factory/#respond Sat, 01 Apr 2006 14:50:28 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=25073 Read more..]]> Former Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Albert Reynolds was moved to tears when fire destroyed his family business in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford. An accidental blaze tore through cannery sections of C&D Foods, a pet food factory with an annual turnover in the region of 100 million. The fire was a serious blow to the workforce of almost 500, although production was restored at a reduced level within weeks of the outbreak.

C&D has been in the Reynolds family for years, and the former Taoiseach’s son Peter is chief executive. Albert Reynolds visited the scene and was overwhelmed by the devastation. “I don’t know what words I could use to describe it,” he said, faltering emotionally outside the factory gates. “I mean, to spend a lot of your life building up something, it’s not easy.”

The company has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Last year it bought out a British rival to make it the largest producer of own-label pet food in Britain and Ireland. The disaster threatened C&D’s future, but a partial return to production has encouraged staff that all jobs will eventually be restored. ♦

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