New efforts are being made to haul controversial US Ireland Alliance chief Trina Vargo before the Irish parliament in Dublin.
Furious Kerry senator Mark Daly had demanded Vargo be quizzed by the Irish authorities after her recent attack on Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
Vargo accused Kenny of ‘embarrassing’ Ireland by presenting ‘shamrockery’ gifts to US President Barack Obama at the White House.
Vargo was particularly critical of Kenny’s decision to present President Obama with a Certificate of Irishness during their St Patrick’s Day meeting.
Just last week Vargo posted an online blog questioning the presentation of the certificate and described it as ‘lamentable shamrockery’.
Fianna Fail senator Daly responded by slamming her comments and called on Vargo to apologise to Kenny.
The Kerryman also asked that she should be called to Dublin to report on her organisation’s ‘value for money’ in relation to the funding it receives from the Irish parliament’s Committee on Education.
Now the Irish Examiner reports that the row between the pair has escalated after Vargo wrote in her blog that: “The Department of Foreign Affairs will use even their own Taoiseach to flog those things. The shop in Shannon Airport must have been out of leprechaun dolls and chunks of the auld sod.
Guess who will be off the Irish Embassy guest list, again!)
“The Taoiseach joked that the certificate is ‘rare’ - that’s because no one wants them. I know the country’s saving money, but I’m sure one of Ireland’s great writers would have been only to happy to sign a book for the President.
“Irish America can be just as bad. During this week it is always people from Ireland and Northern Ireland who tell me how horrified they are by the shamrockery, and they’re right, it’s embarrassing.”
Daly accused Vargo of Irish-American bashing in response.
He said: “Ms Vargo, for all her political experience, seems to have nothing good to say about virtually anyone in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland or the Irish American Community.
“Ms Vargo should issue an apology. One would have to wonder what was behind this recent outburst.”
The Irish Examiner reports that Vargo then issued a ‘fiery response’ to the Kerry senator in which she stated that Irish Government funds have not been spent on the Mitchell Scholarship programme for more than a decade.
She also pointed out that audit reports from her organisation are regularly sent to the Department of Education in Ireland.
“I find it disturbing that you suggest that my job is to only wear the green jersey,” she added. “I am apparently allowed to praise Ireland and promote Ireland, but never criticise it.
“This demand that people keep quiet and never raise questions is one reason Ireland is in the situation it now finds itself.
“I created the US-Ireland Alliance as the antidote to the shamrocks and leprechaun nonsense, and I have no intention of apologising for that.
“There is a rightful place for sentimentality, but it will not help contribute to the cultural, economic, and political wellbeing of our two countries.”
Daly told the paper that seven members of the Irish parliament, from across the political divide, have now signed a letter requesting Vargo to present the Foreign Affairs Committee with a ‘value for money’ report on her organisation.
Vargo replied that she does not expect to be asked to appear before the committee.