King Leads Anti-Immigrants

CONGRESSMAN Peter King has now become the de facto leader of the anti-immigration reform forces in the House of Representatives.

King led a press conference on Tuesday surrounded by a bunch of other know nothing politicians intent on stopping the Senate immigration reform bill in its tracks.

King stated that he wanted current laws enforced and no provisions for dealing with the undocumented whatsoever. He and his colleagues have introduced a bill to that effect.

Trading on his position as the ranking member of the Homeland Security committee, King has now taken the lead over less well known advocates such as Congressman Brian Bilbray of California.

King has become an embarrassment to many Irish Americans with this latest stunt, with his finger pointing at people who have committed no greater crime than to seek a better life for themselves in America - just like King's people did in their time.

King has now become irrevocably tied to the anti-immigrant cause, a sad reflection on a man who spent much of his congressional career fighting a lonely fight for human rights for Catholics in Northern Ireland.

When it comes to Hispanics and other undocumented, however, including thousands of Irish, King wants to see them all deported.

The Gypo Nolan transformation of King to immigrant basher has left many of his former friends deeply shaken. How could one man who did such good for a downtrodden people fail to see any connection between them and the people he now excoriates? It will always remain a mystery.

Ahern Stays in Place

THERE was good news for Irish immigrant organizations with the announcement that Dermot Ahern has been reappointed minister for foreign affairs in the new Irish government by Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern.

Dermot Ahern has shown a great interest in the undocumented Irish and has worked long and hard to help their case in America.

A change at the top would have been difficult at a time when New York Consul General Tim O'Connor and now Ambassador Noel Fahey will depart within months of each other.

Ahern has an insider knowledge of the issue at this stage, and given that the critical time has arrived for the bill it is a very important development that he remains in situ.

Northern Ireland A Hard Sell?

IF you ever wanted confirmation that good news don't sell then the situation Northern Ireland executives find themselves in is a great example.

A massive Northern Ireland exhibition starts next week in Washington, D.C., and the great and the good from the North will be in America, including Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Finance Minister Peter Robinson.

Despite that, the reaction of the collective America media has been a polite yawn. It is astounding given the high caliber nature of the exhibit and the extraordinary story of the peace process in Northern Ireland that there has not been a rush of media attention.

However, Northern Ireland as well as everywhere else falls under the category of "if it bleeds it leads." If there is peace, however, it seems a whole different dynamic takes over.

Nevertheless, the presence of McGuinness and Robinson in America together is an extraordinary achievement and a sign of very changed times. Let's hope the media gets the message in the next week before they arrive.

Galway Full

Time in U.S.

GALWAY University has become the latest third level Irish institution to establish a permanent presence in America.

Sarah Kelly has been named as its liaison and representative officer based in New York, working with its U.S. foundation board which was established last year under the chairmanship of Declan Kelly, president and CEO of Financial Dynamics.

Sarah Kelly has a long established relationship with NUI Galway, having formerly worked at the University for two years in her capacity as director of development.

In her new role, which is solely development-related, she will be responsible for working with the U.S. board on a series of awareness-raising and fundraising projects in the U.S., as well as maintaining a permanent office in New York for ongoing outreach to and liaison with the Irish American community. She may be reached at 347-623-3866 and at sarahekelly@

NUI Galway is in the midst of an ambitious *400 million development campaign, launched at the end of last year in the U.S. and Ireland last year by President Iognaid O'Muircheartaigh. The role of the U.S. foundation board is to raise awareness for the ongoing academic work and expansion plans which are envisaged at the University as a result of that development program.

Board Chairman Declan Kelly said, "We are delighted with the progress we have made in a short period of time and are planning a series of interesting events in the coming months to continue our awareness building program, highlighting the great work that is being done at NUI Galway in so many different fields.

"The establishment of a full time representative office here in New York is another very important milestone in our development and a sign of our commitment to participating in a meaningful way, long term, in the Irish American community."