Quinn Mighty Irish
NEW York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is an interesting candidate for mayor two years hence. She has been polishing her Irish credentials carefully in the past few months, leaving few in doubt about her ambitions.
She attended the Irish Arts Center star-studded awards dinner on Friday night where she was presented with an award amidst shots of her with Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Flatley and others.
Quinn, of course, is central to the idea of a new Irish cultural center building in Manhattan, which is long overdue. As you will read elsewhere, there is considerable movement on that issue. If she delivers she will truly be considered the Mighty Quinn
On Sunday she was in the heavily Irish neighborhood of Sunnyside, Queens speaking to local residents on issues of concern.
She made it clear through her staff that she is fully supportive of Governor Eliot Spitzer's new rule which will allow undocumented residents to apply for driver's licenses, which is now a touchstone issue in the Irish community.
Right now Quinn and Congressman Anthony Weiner would be the front-runners on the Democratic side for the mayor's position. Weiner has also been burnishing his Irish credentials with a recent trip to the Emerald Isle.
No doubt they are both hoping that current Police Commissioner Ray Kelly stays out of the race, as he would surely be a formidable competitor.
Flatley Wows Them
SPEAKING of the Irish Arts Center event last Friday, it seems they had an incredible night of stars with Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Ciaran Hinds, Michael Flatley and Gabriel Byrne to name but a few on hand.
The main topic of conversation after the event, however, was Flatley's speech about the future of the Celtic Tiger. By all accounts it was a smash hit.
Flatley is much more than an entertainer. He is a member of Mensa, a highly successful businessman and he thinks deeply about the Irish/Irish American relationship.
His take is that the Irish diaspora is a poorly understood in Ireland and that the potential exists for a major economic, cultural and political powerhouse if the diaspora is properly harnessed.
Flatley is just the latest to espouse such views. Best selling author and commentator David McWilliams has a new book and major television program at present that makes the same point. It seems an idea whose time has come.
Atlanta's Irish Gather
THE Irish in Atlanta will be celebrating their annual Stars of the South event in that city on October 27 at the Commerce Club.
This is the second year for the event, which is staged by Atlanta's Irish leaders in conjunction with Irish America magazine.
The key figure is Don Keenan, head of the Keenan Kids Foundation and legendary lawyer who has won some of the largest settlements for stricken children in American history.
This year's Stars of the South include Irial Finan, Irish-born executive vice president of Coca-Cola, Richard Riley, former secretary of education in the Clinton administration, and Alison Brown, founder of the internationally famous Compass Records. For more information call 404-223 5437