Fundraiser a Record
THE fundraiser in Dublin last weekend for Senator Hillary Clinton, attended by her husband Bill, was one of the most successful ever held abroad, according to sources. It raised close to $400,000 and could have touched the million mark if the venue had been larger.
Earlier, before coming to Ireland, Clinton raised another $250,000 in Britain, making it a nice $650,000 total for the weekend.
The facts are that the Clintons are incredibly popular in Ireland, initially because of their work on the peace process and in recent times because the senator is seen as the antidote to President George W. Bush, who remains very unpopular because of the Iraq war.
To say most of Ireland is pulling for a Clinton victory would be to put it mildly. Bill has become as big a presence there as John F. Kennedy was in his day - a reminder that when America elects a president his or her power to shape the world is still undiminished.
Clinton simply loves to go to Ireland anyway. He spent last Saturday before the event shopping on Grafton Street and meeting with Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern, Bono and Seamus Heaney and his wife Marie. On Saturday night he bunked down in Bono's hotel, the Clarence.
There was talk a few years back that Clinton might purchase a property near the K Club golf course in Co. Kildare. That did not pan out, but friends say he is not ruling out a similar venture in the future.
While in Ireland Clinton indulged in his true passion - golf. He played a round in very wet conditions at Portmarnock with Irish American supporters Declan Kelly and John Fitzpatrick, as well his aide Doug Band.
Irish Raise More Money
THE Clinton fundraiser puts the Irish community on track to be the highest fundraising group among any ethnic group for the Clintons. The total will shortly close in on $2 million, with an event planned in Chicago shortly.
The man behind the phenomenal numbers is Declan Kelly, chief executive of FD, one of the world's most sought-after business and financial communications consultancies.
Kelly, 39, has certainly set the Irish world alight since moving here from Ireland five years ago where he ran a very successful public relations company.
He tapped into those contacts when putting together the Irish fundraiser on Saturday. Sources say the number could have gone as high as $1 million but limitations on space prevented it.
Kelly has raised very large sums now in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Ireland and soon in Chicago for the Clinton campaign. There is even talk of a major Hillary event in Iowa before that state's caucus on January 3, as well as a further fundraiser in Ireland.
McGuinness, Paisley Schedule Set
THE Reverend Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness who are first minister and deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, will have a packed schedule when they arrive in New York and Washington in early December.
As was revealed in the Irish Voice last week, the two men will travel together for the first time to the U.S., and judging by the media interest they will make quite a splash.