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Irish America magazine - April/May '08 issue: Top 100 Irish Americans, The Greening of Silicon Valley, The Chieftains of Endurance, The Mighty Moran Clan, Emotional return to Belfast for Liam, The Maras and the Rooneys, Irish Eye on Hollywood, Music & Book Reviews

 
The Mighty Morans
From priests to centerfolds, the Moran clan have produced some very interesting folk.
 
The Greening of Silicon Valley
Scan the upper ranks of some of Silicon Valley’s powerhouses and you’ll find Irish names
 
Irish American of the Year
Tom Moran has brought aid to Africa and peace in Northern Ireland.
 
 
 
 
Top 100 Irish America's Finest Peacemakers

Nowhere has the contribution of the Irish in America been more crucial than in Northern Ireland, where, at last, an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation reigns. It would not have happened were it not for the efforts of the edicated Irish-Americans profiled in the following pages.They come from all corners of the community – corporate chieftain, politician, building contractor, pub owner, union representative – united in their desire for peace, they represent the many who, all across America, raised their voices and moved mountains.

 

Bill and Hillary Clinton

As major supporters of the Irish peace process, Bill and Hillary Clinton moved mountains. The 42nd President of the United States took the strongest position on Irish issues ever taken by an American president. In 1994 he granted a visa to Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, fulfilling a campaign promise and stating “the U.S. cannot miss this rare opportunity for our country to participate in the peace process.”

Then in November, 1995, President Clinton became the first sitting American president to visit Northern Ireland. He and Hillary were greeted by tens of thousands of people lining the streets in Derry and Belfast. It was the first of several visits that the Clintons made to Ireland. The First Lady would also play a leading role in moving the peace process along. She helped create links between the White House and leaders on the ground, and worked closely with women on both sides of the divide at a time in the conflict when women’s voices were hardly heard.

President Clinton’s Irish roots are traced through his mother, Virginia Cassidy Kelley, who was the granddaughter of Irish immigrants, “poor Irish farmers,” as she called them. The Cassidys are believed to have emigrated from Ballycassidy, County Fermanagh.

In March, 1996, President Clinton was Irish America’s Irish-American of the Year.

In March, 2007, Hillary Clinton was named Irish America’s Person of the Year.

William Barry

Bill Barry’s involvement with Ireland is simply the natural progression of his life. As a young FBI agent he was assigned to Attorney General Robert Kennedy and became a close friend of the Kennedy family.

In 1993, Barry met up with Bill Flynn, Chairman of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy. It didn’t take long for Barry and Flynn to recognize their common interest in the land of their ancestors and become great friends. Together, they made incredible things possible. Working with Flynn, Barry was among the first to welcome Gerry Adams to the United States. He continued his work alongside Flynn in engaging the political leadership of the Loyalists.

It is with great pride that Barry, who grew up in Brooklyn, with roots going back to County Cork, surrounds himself with his family of five sons and two daughters. He and his wife, Mary, live in Rockland County.

Susan Brophy

Susan Brophy joined the White House staff in 1993, serving as Deputy Assistant to President Clinton and Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs until 1998. She proved a key player in the peace process in terms of keeping the president up to speed on matters concerning Northern Ireland. In 1998, Brophy moved to Lisbon, with her husband, Gerald McGowan, the U.S. Ambassador to Portugal.

While in Lisbon, she oversaw the coordination of the visits of President Clinton, several bipartisan Congressional delegations, Cabinet officers and other dignitaries. During this period, she also served as a board member of the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations.

A Massachusetts native, Brophy graduated from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She recently joined the Washington, D.C. firm Glover Park Group as a partner in the legislative affairs practice.

John Connorton

A prominent New York lawyer, John Connorton worked to bring together politicians from different traditions in Northern Ireland, and as head of the New York chapter of the Friends of Belfast, he continues to encourage investment, innovation and enterprise as a way to support the peace process.

An influential Democratic Party strategist, Connorton, who served as a naval officer in Vietnam, was the New York State director of presidential campaigns for Gary Hart (the first presidential candidate to have an opinion paper on Northern Ireland), Al Gore and John Kerry.

Connorton, who is on the board of the Flax Trust, Belfast, went to Holly Cross College and Fordham Law School. He was awarded an honorary CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his N.I. efforts. His grandparents came from Counties Roscommon, Mayo, Kerry and Cork.

Joe Crowley

Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), co-chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs, was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 1986. He served as the treasurer of the American-Irish Legislators Society of New York State which was instrumental in obtaining a visa for Gerry Adams, and as a member of the Americans for a New Irish Agenda group.

In 1994, Crowley sponsored a legislative resolution urging President Clinton to implement five recommendations on Irish issues which would set in motion a constructive U.S. policy with regard to the North of Ireland, and in the following years his dedication to the peace process has not waned.

Congressman Crowley’s mother was born in Killeen, County Armagh. On his father’s side, his grandfather was from Stabbanon, County Louth. His grandmother was from Mullaghorn, County Cavan.

John Dearie

As a Bronx Assemblyman from 1973 to 2002, John Dearie secured passage of the MacBride Principles through the New York State Legislature in 1986, in the teeth of a well organized opposition campaign. Dearie’s tactic of targeting key members of the State Senate paid off, as did the considerable personal effort he put in.

He organized “Irish-American Presidential Forums” in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000. Candidate Clinton’s strong commitments made during the 1992 forum concerning Northern Ireland, are viewed as significant contributions to the peace process.

Dearie was born and raised in the East Bronx. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame having received a full basketball scholarship. He went on to earn an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate Business School at Northwestern University, and graduated from New York University School of Law. He and his wife, Kitty, have two sons, John, 6 years old, and Michael, 4.

Fay Devlin

Anyone dealing with Northern Ireland for the past 20 years will have come across the name Fay Devlin, the co-founder and CEO of Eurotech, a multi-million-dollar New York firm specializing in high end interior construction.

A strong supporter of the Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin strategy as the way forward in Northern Ireland, the County Tyrone-born businessman has helped raise millions of dollars in funds to support the party’s efforts.

In May, 1995, Devlin was one of the key people behind setting up Friends of Sinn Féin U.S. The organization came into being when President Clinton decreed that Sinn Féin was a legitimate political party and as such should be allowed to raise funds in the U.S. The Friends of Sinn Féin U.S., who in addition to fundraising, have become the voice of the party in the U.S., are dedicated to helping Sinn Féin achieve peace, justice and the aims of the Good Friday Agreement. Fay is married to Rosemary, who is also from County Tyrone, and they have five sons.

Chris Dodd

As a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chris Dodd, who is in his fifth term as Connecticut’s senior senator, has played a central role in nearly every foreign policy debate over the past 25 years. Working with six presidents he has fostered relationships with many of today’s most important world figures.

Dodd’s involvement in Northern Ireland dates to the 1980s when he championed the cause of IRA prisoner Joe Doherty. His lobbying efforts helped secure a visa for Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams in 1994. And in 1995, he was a member of the delegation that accompanied President Clinton to Ireland.

Dodd continues to take an active interest in the peace process today, meeting with Northern Ireland’s leaders whenever possible.Chris Dodd was born in Willimantic, Connecticut, the fifth of six children to the late Senator Thomas J. Dodd and Grace Murphy Dodd.

Pat Doherty

In 1984, Pat Doherty, then a new- comer to the New York City comptroller’s office, took on the MacBride Principles as his first major assignment. Armed with a master’s degree in international relations from Columbia and a law degree from Hofstra, Doherty, the son of an Irish immigrant from Derry, began the long, often tedious task of contacting the various organizations with a stake in the Irish question and gathering all relevant information on employment discrimination in Northern Ireland.

The MacBride Principles, named for the late Irish statesman and Nobel Peace laureate Sean MacBride, were a set of fair employment guidelines for firms operating in Northern Ireland, focused on U.S. firms doing business there.

They were passed by the New York State Legislature in 1986, and finally passed by the House and by the Senate in March 1996. They were signed into law by President Clinton in October, 1998.
Doherty continues to work for the office of the New York City comptroller.

Pat Donaghy

Pat Donaghy emigrated from Carrickmore, County Tyrone to New York City in 1959. Eleven years later he co-founded Structure Tone, a general contracting and construction management firm that went on to become one of the most successful in the country.

Donaghy, who says that it was an accident of birth that he was born in a country where nationalists like him had no say in the government and many had no option but to leave, saw Sinn Féin’s strategy as the way forward, and his dedicated support was vital in establishing the peace process in the early 1990s.

He was one of the key players lobbying for a U.S. visa for Gerry Adams, and further lent his support to the establishment of Friends of Sinn Féin U.S., an organization supporting the party and its policies. When asked at a fundraising dinner why he supported Friends of Sinn Féin, Donaghy replied: “Because I am a peace hound – I believe in peace. A lot of people have been trying for years to support something, but this is the
first time ever we could do it legitimately.”

Larry Downes

President of Friends of Sinn Féin U.S., Larry Downes, a New York lawyer, has for many years focused his energies on improving the situation in the North of Ireland. Raised in Queens, New York, one of seven children, Downes became interested in politics in 1977 when he worked on the gubernatorial campaign of Mario Cuomo, and went on to serve on his staff at the New York Sate Department.

When Downes entered the field of law, he worked for O’Dwyer and Bernstein, founded by Paul O’Dwyer, the New York lawyer who was a legend in championing civil rights at home and abroad. Downes said the Hunger Strike in 1981 educated people around the world about the Republican cause. “It was the springboard for the current peace process,” he said.

When asked about Friends of Sinn Féin U.S., Downes said, “We started the project in 1995 when President Clinton permitted Mr. Adams to come into the U.S. and raise funds. So far, we’ve raised over $5 million. That money didn’t buy arms, but office space, computers and cars.”

Chuck Feeney

The name Charles “Chuck” Feeney has become known worldwide since it emerged that the New Jersey-born businessman had given away his entire personal fortune of almost $4 billion and in the process created one of the world’s largest philanthropic organizations.

Feeney’s interest in Ireland has also included a strong desire to help with the situation in the North, and he became involved in the peace process as early as 1987 when he met with Gordon Wilson, whose daughter Marie died in the IRA bombing in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh that year.

Feeney, who traces his roots to Fermanagh, decided he wanted to help end the conflict and made contact with Sinn Féin and the other major political parties in the North. He was a member of the Irish-American delegation that traveled to Ireland in 1993 and 1994 to negotiate for a ceasefire, and with the IRA ceasefire, Feeney agreed to fund a Washington office for Sinn Féin. The Friends of Sinn Féin still have an office in Washington, D.C.

William Flynn

William “Bill” Flynn was a crucial figure in the Northern Ireland peace process, chairing the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP) and helping to broker the IRA ceasefire. The then chairman of Mutual of America put his career and his reputation on the line by traveling to the North and speaking out for justice and Sinn Féin’s right to participate in all-party talks.

The NCAFP, under Flynn’s guidance, helped procure a U.S. visa for Gerry Adams by inviting him to speak in New York, and further moved the peace process along by hosting speakers from all sides at forums at the Mutual of America building in New York.

Flynn, now chairman emeritus of Mutual, continues his work with the NCAFP, which is dedicated to the resolution of world conflicts that threaten the security of the U.S., and has contributed to the debates on the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia. Flynn, who was Irish-American of the Year in 1995, served as Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1999. He is a first- generation Irish-American with roots in Mayo and Down.

Denis Kelleher

In 1958, Denis Kelleher emigrated from County Kerry and landed a job as a messenger at Merrill Lynch. Acutely talented in matters of finance, Kelleher quickly rose through the company ranks. Today, he is CEO and founder of Wall Street Access, a diversified financial services organization with expertise in money management and trading for institution and hedge funds.

Despite his extraordinary success, Kelleher has never lost sight of his humble roots. He has been a major contributor to Sinn Féin and hosted the first ever lunch for Gerry Adams in New York. Kelleher also supports The American Ireland Fund, which promotes peace in Northern Ireland.

He set up his own special scholarship fund in his native Kerry to help promising students. In 2007, Kelleher served as the Grand Marshal for the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He is a graduate of St. John’s University, and serves as its chairman of the board. Kelleher is married with three children and was proud to be recognized with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1995.

Jean Kennedy Smith

As Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith played a leading role in the peace process. Convinced that a U.S. visa for Gerry Adams was a key component in the peace framework, she risked her diplomatic reputation by clearing the way for the U.S. visit. The Kennedy Smith move was a bombshell forcing a major debate within the upper echelons of the State Department on the Irish issue.

The ambassador’s brother Senator Edward Kennedy and the Irish-American lobby began a concerted effort to win the visa, which they did, and on February, 1, 1994, Adams was allowed in the U.S.

Kennedy Smith had seen an opportunity for peace and she grabbed it. It was the culmination of a long-time desire to help bring peace to Northern Ireland. In 1974, she had stayed with John and Pat Hume in Derry, and upon witnessing the depressing sight of streets full of bombed-out buildings as the
violence reached its zenith, she vowed to help if the opportunity presented itself.

Edward Kennedy

As one of the original Four Horsemen who formed the Friends of Ireland group, along with Tip O’Neill, Patrick Moynihan and Governor Hugh Carey of New York, Senator Kennedy championed the cause of the International Fund for Ireland, an annual appropriation of U.S. funds to benefit disadvantaged areas. In more recent years, he has spearheaded the push for immigration reform.

Kennedy’s support for constitutional nationalism in Ireland has long been evident through his friendship with the legendary John Hume, former leader of the SDLP party. He played a vital role in bringing American influence to bear on both the British and Irish governments at key moments in the peace process, and had a hand in convincing President Clinton to remain strongly involved.

And while many politicians who espoused Irish causes ran for the hills when Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams came to the U.S., Senator Kennedy was there to greet him. In fact, he was instrumental in persuading President Clinton to grant Adams a visa in February of 1992.

Edward Kenney

Ed Kenney’s diplomacy skills proved a valuable tool throughout the peace process. When Kenney joined Mutual of America in 1994, he brought with him the knowledge honed in a 25-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and a background as a liaison with other law enforcement and government agencies.

Kenny joined Mutual just as chairman Bill Flynn’s invitation to Gerry Adams won the Sinn Féin leader a visa to the U.S. Flynn and Tom Moran, who succeeded Flynn as Mutual’s chairman, president and CEO, continued to extend hospitality to loyalist and nationalist politicians at the New York offices of Mutual of America, and it was Kenney’s job as executive vice president of external affairs to facilitate those visits and the many visits that Flynn and Moran made to the North in the ensuing years.

Born in Queens, New York to parents of Roscommon and Tipperary heritage, Kenney graduated from St. Joseph’s Seminary with a degree in philosophy. He and his wife Brigid live in Ossining, New York. They have five children and one grandchild.

Donald Keough

Donald Keough’s pride in his Irish heritage remains constant. After a career in corporate America he turned to a venture of a different kind – investing in Irish Studies. When he retired as President & CEO of Coca-Cola in 1993, he established the Keough Institute of Irish Studies at Notre Dame, and the Keough Notre Dame Centre in Dublin, Ireland with an endowment of $2.5 million.

Keough, whose ancestors immigrated from County Wexford shortly after the Irish famine, grew up in Sioux City, Iowa, and has been involved in the peace process, setting up American political and business contacts for many leading Northern Irish politicians. He accompanied President Clinton to Belfast in 1999 and met with Northern Ireland leaders there.

Keough is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Horatio Alger Award and the Notre Dame Laetare Medal. In June, 2007, he was granted Irish citizenship, something he celebrated by taking his wife Mickie, his children and grandchildren on a trip to Ireland.

Peter King

Congressman Peter King (R-NY) has long been recognized as an outspoken advocate for human rights and justice in Northern Ireland. He visited the six counties on many occasions and was supportive of Irish Republicans in the days when it was extremely unfashionable to do so.

A staunch friend of Ireland in Congress, he was first elected to represent New York’s Third District in Nassau County on Long Island in 1992. King served on the Committee on International Relations and co-chaired the Congressional Ad Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs.

In 1985, King was elected the Grand Marshal of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade and has been honored by organizations such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians and The Irish National Caucus. A graduate of St. Francis College in Brooklyn, the former attorney earned his law degree at Notre Dame. He traces his Irish ancestors to counties Limerick and Galway. He and his wife, Rosemary, have two grown children, Sean and Erin.

Gerald Lynch

In 1998, Gerald Lynch was one of two U.S. delegates named to the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland, a group charged with examining and recommending future change in the police force there. At the time, Lynch was president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and respected internationally as a foremost authority on and advocate of criminal justice.

In 2003, Lynch stepped down as president of John Jay after serving for 28 years. During his time there he oversaw regular exchanges between the Irish police and John Jay College and established The Jerry McCabe Fellowship program in memory of an Irish detective killed during an attempted robbery.

He continues to speak on police corruption, ethical behavior and other subjects related to criminal justice and policing. Lynch, who graduated from Fordham Preparatory School and received his B.S. from Fordham University and his Ph.D. from New York University, is a second-generation Irish-American with roots in counties Limerick, Louth, Meath and Tipperary.

Seán Mackin

Seán Mackin has been very visible and proactive in the Irish peace process. As a boy and young man growing up in West Belfast he was consistently harassed, beaten and seriously injured by the RUC and British Army.

He and his wife Philomena and their Irish-born daughter, Jennifer, moved to New York, where they lived for many years before they were placed in deportation proceedings by the U.S. government. In a historic ruling, Philomena and Jennifer were granted political asylum in 1991 and Seán was granted a “suspension of deportation.”

The entire family have since become United States citizens. (The Mackins also have a younger child, Seán Óg, who is a U.S. citizen by birth.) Mackin has used his high profile in the Irish community to promote the strategy of Sinn Féin on its pathway to peace and is an active fundraiser and member of the Friends of Sinn Féin.

Bill McGimpsey

Far fewer Irish-Americans support the Unionist cause in the Northern Ireland peace process than the Nationalists. But from 1994 onwards, mainly in response to the expanding involvement of the Clinton administration in the peace process, a small but determined Unionist support network was put forth by Putnam County resident Bill McGimpsey, a native of County Down.

His relatives in Northern Ireland are members of the Ulster Unionist Party (his cousins Chris and Michael McGimpsey came to prominence when they challenged the Anglo-Irish Agreement by bringing a suit against the Irish government, arguing that the Agreement was invalid because it contradicted Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of Ireland).

A supporter of David Trimble, the Ulster Unionist Party leader who made a considerable contribution to the peace process by signing the Good Friday Agreement, Bill McGimpsey also contributed, particularly in conveying Unionist perspectives to White House policymakers.

Fr. Sean McManus & Rita Mullan

The Irish National Caucus, founded by Fr. Sean McManus, opened its office on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. on December 10, 1978 to lobby for Irish justice and peace. One of its first objectives was to “stop U.S. dollars subsidizing anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland.”

McManus and his Executive Director Rita Mullan met with Sean MacBride (pictured above), the Nobel Peace Prize and Lenin Peace Prize winner, who agreed to act as chairman of the U.S. group in the Republic of Ireland. Thus, the foundation was laid for the MacBride Principles, a set of fair-hiring practices for N.I.

McManus, a Redemptorist priest from County Fermanagh, was arrested in 1971 because he helped a stone thrower escape the police. He moved to the U.S. shortly after. Mullan, who lost her father and mother to the “troubles,” grew up in Belfast. She qualified as a nurse and for a time worked in Little Rock, Arkansas, before moving to Washington, D.C. to open the national office of the Caucus.

George Mitchell

The name George Mitchell is synonymous with the Irish peace process. The former senator from Maine was tapped as President Clinton’s economic advisor on Ireland and headed up the first ever White House- sponsored Economic Conference on Ireland in May 1995.

In June 1995, Mitchell took on the monumental task of co-chairing, and later chairing, the all-party talks which ultimately led to the Good Friday Agreement. “Senator Mitchell’s role was indispensable to the success of the negotiation process and to the securing of the Good Friday Agreement. There can be no doubt that without his patience and stamina the outcome could have been very different,” said Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

On the Unionist side, David Kerr, press secretary to David Trimble, said, “I don’t think anybody else could have done what he did, it was a remarkable political balancing act.” Mitchell, whose grandparents emigrated from Ireland in the 1800s, was first elected to the Senate in 1980.

Bruce Morrison

Former Congressman Bruce Morrison is known for his dedication to the peace process in Northern Ireland: In 1994, he was part of a delegation of Irish-American business leaders who toured the troubled province in a trip organized by Irish America publisher Niall O’Dowd, which helped secure the first IRA ceasefire.

Morrison began working on Irish issues in 1983 and won his place in the annals of Irish history when as a member of the House of Representatives he authored and helped enact the Immigration Act of 1990, which provided nearly 50,000 Irish citizens with green cards.

Morrison has served as co-chair of the Congressional Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs, and, in 1992, as chairman of Irish-American for Clintons, helping to develop the campaign’s Irish agenda.
A 1973 graduate of Yale Law School, Morrison lives with his wife Nancy in Bethesda, Maryland.

Richard Neal

Rep. Richie Neal (D-MA), chairman of the Friends of Ireland group in Congress, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1988. Since then, Neal has maintained his dedication to concerns of Irish-Americans and fostering peace in Northern Ireland.

Shortly after joining the Friends of Ireland in 1993, Neal was appointed co-chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs. He worked diligently towards a peace treaty in Northern Ireland and was considered an important figure in the 2005 disarmament of the IRA.

Neal, who described the agreement between Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley to work together as one of the most significant developments on the island of Ireland in more than a century, garnered several awards for his Irish efforts including the International Leadership Award by The American Ireland Fund as well as the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medal in 2006 by the Ancient Order of Hibernians. A devoted family man, Neal resides in Springfield with his wife Maureen and four children.

Terry O’Sullivan

Terence M. O’Sullivan, general president of the 800,000 member-strong Laborers’ International Union, the largest immigrant union in the United States, has also put the union on the forefront of the fight for true immigration reform that would include a legalization component for undocumented immigrants.

O’Sullivan throughout his career as a union organizer has also been a strong supporter of peace and justice in Northern Ireland, a tradition that goes back to the early days of the American labor movement’s support for a free Ireland.

The San Francisco-born O’Sullivan was an early support of Sinn Féin and the path to peace as envisioned by its
leadership. He has traveled to Ireland and Northern Ireland, and spoke at the Sinn Féin Ard Feis (the party’s annual meeting).

O’Sullivan’s grandfather was born in Glencar, County Kerry, and moved to the U.S. in the 1920s. His maternal great grandfather was from Roscrea, County Tipperary, and he immigrated at the turn of the century.

Nancy Soderberg

A key White House official with responsibility for Ireland during the early days of the peace process, Nancy Soderberg, played an important role in delivering on Clinton’s pre-election promises on Irish issues. As a former staffer for Senator Edward Kennedy, the Massachusetts native became the Foreign Policy Advisor for the Clinton Administration (1993-1997) and brought her knowledge on Irish issues to bear with both the president and National Security Advisor Tony Lake.

Soderberg wrote the position papers on Ireland during Clinton’s presidential campaign, and she played a vital role on the Gerry Adams visa issue. For her proactive role she was vilified in the British media.
Soderberg, who has Irish and Scottish roots through her McGillvarry and Mullin ancestors, served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 1997-2001. From 2001-2005, she served as vice president for Multilateral Affairs of the International Crisis Group in New York, before moving to Florida with her husband, Richard Bistrong.

Ciaran Staunton

Ciaran Staunton, who emigrated from Westport, County Mayo in 1982, is renowned for his support of Irish Republican causes. Whether organizing protests outside the British Consulate or holding fundraisers to support the families of those affected by the Troubles, his voice has long been vocal on the need for justice in Northern Ireland.

At the onset of the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement, he played a major part in the American role and worked closely with the Sinn Féin leadership and Irish American leaders to bring about the Adams visa and the IRA ceasefire.

Ciaran, who owns O’Neill’s Bar and Restaurant, one of the most popular Irish spots in Manhattan, is the Vice Chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) and has been described as “one of the most dynamic personalities involved in ILIR” and as “the man that won’t take no for an answer.” He also helped co-found the Irish Immigration Reform Movement in the late 1980s, which lobbied successfully for the Donnelly and Morrison visa programs.

 
 
 
 
 
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