Former Senator George Mitchell is rightfully a hero in Irish America, a man who took on the thankless job as President Clinton’s peacemaker in Northern Ireland and against all odds succeeded.
For that he was nominated for the Nobel Prize and probably should have got it alongside David Trimble and John Hume, the two Northern Irish leaders who did.
But now Senator Mitchell is in deep danger of having his good name and reputation sullied because of the incredible vitriol being aimed at Irish Americans, and indeed, many in Ireland, by the leader of the organization that essentially bears his name.
Trina Vargo of the US-Ireland Alliance which promotes the Mitchell Scholarships which bring 12 students a year to Ireland uses every opportunity to slam and cast disdain on the Irish American community and many Irish leaders.
Her latest broadside on the Mitchell scholars website was aimed at Prime Minister Enda Kenny for awarding an Irish heritage certificate to President Obama at the White House.
“The shop in Shannon Airport must have been out of leprechaun dolls and chunks of the auld sod,” Vargo wrote sneering at Kenny.
She also slammed Irish Americans and stated that Irish people were laughing at them every St.Patrick’s Day "The Irish are just so grateful for the attention that they grit their teeth, take it, and then laugh at the Yanks at the end of the night.”
This from a woman whose organization was set up to foster closer ties between Ireland an America.
George Mitchell has become an enabler in this farce. Vargo uses his name at every opportunity and Mitchell has been making calls to Capitol Hill to raise funds for Vargo to further feather her ample nest at the US-Ireland Alliance. ($175,000 salary, wonderful expense account)
Quite why Mitchell is allowing this blistering hate of Irish Americans to manifest itself in an organization he essentially stewards is hard to understand.
He is a man who is rightfully deeply protective of his legacy but he seems unable to understand how much damage is being done as a result of this hatred and invective that Vargo regularly spews. There have now been numerous incidents in this regard.
Anytime an Irish American leader deals with this issue they are shunted aside because Mitchell’s name is invoked.
No more I say. Someone needs to set Senator Mitchell straight on what is being done in his name and it needs to happen now.
Trina Vargo is due to receive $20 million from hard-pressed Irish taxpayers that was promised in the good times. Unlike the American Ireland Fund, which gracefully withdrew from a similar arrangement when the hard times hit, Vargo continues to insist.
Now she seeks $5 million from the equally hard-pressed American taxpayers—and is using George Mitchell as her front man in Congress.
I hate to oppose George Mitchell, but until he can get someone capable of civil discourse and bringing Ireland and America together rather than trying to tear it apart I think we should all oppose his request.
It is time to stand up and be counted. I fully intend to be. Let me know what you think.