It was an amazing year in both Ireland and Irish America with massive changes, especially in Ireland. Here are our top ten news stories.
No. 1. The complete meltdown of the Irish economy -- from Europe’s poster boy to unwanted bastard child, Ireland was the focus of incredible attention from the Wall Street Journal, The New York times and every other major publication. Unfortunately the attention was all bad.
No. 2. Phoebe Prince, the young Irish girl who moved to America, to school in Massachusetts was mercilessly bullied and took her own life. The subsequent national debate over what had occurred has given huge new impetus to efforts to stop school bullying.
No. 3. The downfall of Fianna Fail. Ireland’s leading political party, which has been in power 22 of the last 24 years. Now, because of how they mishandled the economy they may well disappear as a political force for a generation in the upcoming election.
No.4. Bridie Murphy detained: 80-year-old irish woman was held for five hours by immigration authorities when she returned from Ireland after visiting her son there. Even though she had a green card and had two sons serving in the military she was still questioned and threatened with losing her status.
No. 5. Murphy Commission Report: The report into abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin was an extraordinary document, laying bare all year long the incredible cover-up of abusers by the archdiocese. Much of the material was truly sickening.
No 6. Irish ship runs Gaza blockade. The Rachel Corrie , sailing from Ireland was stopped outside Israeli territorial waters in a tense stand off just days after nine Turkish sailors were shot dead aboard a similar ship.
No. 7. End of the Kennedy era. Patrick Kennedy stepped down from his seat in Rhode Island and for the first time in 47 years there would no longer be a Kennedy in Washington.
No. 8 The Irish weather. The year opened with an incredible spell of bad weather in Ireland followed by a blazing summer and now an even worse end of the year as winter bares its fangs.
No.9 Irish president turns down St.Patrick’s Day parade Grand Marshal in New York. Mary McAleese decided that upsetting gay groups in Ireland ,with whom she has excellent relations, was not worth the price of leading the 250th parade up Fifth Avenue.
No 10. Icelandic volcano. For weeks on end it seemed the U.S. and Europe were back in the steam ship era as the eruption of a volcano in Iceland prevented Transaltantic flight. Fortunatey it did not last too long.