Intelligencer

Boston Irish For Hillary

ANOTHER major fundraiser for Senator Hillary Clinton by leading Irish Americans will take place in Boston on September 7. It will be the latest in a series of fundraising events that Irish communities across the U.S. have been holding for the Democratic presidential frontrunner.

"The enthusiasm for Hillary is far greater among the Irish here than it ever was for John Kerry," stated one Boston insider who is connected to the fundraiser. "This is a very big event."

Over $250,000 was raised for Clinton in New York at an Irish American fundraiser hosted by actor Gabriel Byrne in April, and the Boston one may well come close to matching that total.

Among those who are chairing the Boston event are Congressman Richie Neal, head of the Friends of Ireland group in Congress, Congressman James McGovern and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, an all-star lineup for sure.

New Yorker Declan Kelly, CEO of Financial Dynamics, is once again a leading contributor, as he has been for all of the Irish fundraising for the senator. Stella O'Leary, who heads up Irish American Democrats, is also active in the event, as well as a number of leading Boston Irish business people.

The event will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel and will cost $2,300 a ticket. So far Irish groups have got together in New York, San Francisco and Baltimore, and events are planned in Boston, Chicago, Atlanta and some other cities.

It will not be surprising if at the end of it, over $1 million is raised for the Clinton coffers.

It is certainly a nice return for the Democratic presidential contender, whose work on Northern Ireland has really paid off in terms of securing long term Irish American support.

Bill Set for North?

MEANWHILE, Hillary's spouse, former President Bill Clinton, may well spend time in Ireland in the coming months.

Apparently the ex-president is anxious to see how the new power sharing government is panning out. That is not surprising really, given how much of the credit must go to the Clinton administration, especially in the early stages of the peace process.

Clinton keeps in close touch with the North and has frequently spoken to the principals, including Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness.

With Northern Ireland urgently seeking economic investment from the U.S., Clinton seems a natural to go there and give advice to the parties concerned. Certainly he can be assured of a warm welcome, even from Unionists who were so suspicious of his involvement in the peace process from the start.

To Catch a Spy

THE naming of an alleged high up Sinn Fein spy has become a sport in much of the online media over the past few days.

Reports have been circulating for some time of a high up spy in Sinn Fein ranks, but the story gained momentum when David Simpson, a Democratic Unionist member of Parliament said he would name the man under privilege in the House of Commons.

That began an entire cottage industry of speculation about who the high up person was. Of course the previous top spy, Denis Donaldson, was exposed in similar fashion and was later shot, almost certainly by IRA dissidents.

The latest name bandied about is certainly not that of a top level Sinn Fein operative, so the fond hopes among anti-Sinn Fein elements that somehow a major Sinn Fein figure would get caught in the web are misplaced.

Of course, all this is done without a scintilla of evidence being presented about the person and what he allegedly did.

Blog sites are stating that he was compromised because of sexual infidelities and that he became a spy for both MI5 and the RUC at the height of his career in Sinn Fein.

Again, it is vital to note that no one has produced any evidence at all, but that has not curbed the speculation. The person named is from the mid-Ulster area, and Simpson claims that he was also active in the Provisional IRA and took part in the murder of a relative of his.

Ahern to Launch Feeney Book

TAOISEACH (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern will launch the Conor O'Clery biography of Irish American billionaire philanthropist Chuck Feeney in Dublin on Labor Day. The location will be Trinity College.

The book, The Billionaire Who Wasn't, will chronicle the extraordinary life of Feeney, who grew up in a working class New Jersey neighborhood, went on to make billions in the world of duty free shopping and then secretly gave it all away.

The book is attracting major attention in America too, and 60 Minutes are said to be preparing a profile on the reclusive Feeney, who is the perfect antidote to the Donald Trump/Paris Hilton era of excess we all live in.

A huge part of his giving was in Ireland to college level institutions, and it is no surprise that the book launch there will attract Ahern, whose government has greatly benefited from the $300 million or so that Feeney has given to Irish education.

A New York launch is also planned for the near future, and it is hoped that Feeney himself will be at that one. Certainly, in terms of a life well lived and giving back Feeney has a lot to teach the idle rich about their obligations.

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