Monday, 5 October 2009

Irish-American Hardball or California Dreamin'?

© Joe ÓNéill 2009

On July 21, and August 8, I posted two articles,

July 21, 'California dreamin'

August 8, 'Irish American Voters'

The first, dealt with a resolution adopted by the Irish American Democratic Club of San Francisco, stating in part that, 'the California Democratic Party strongly supports Irish Reunification and urges both the State Legislature and the California Democratic Congressional delegation to support all peaceful actions that support the final reunification of the island of Ireland [Eire] by all electoral and diplomatic means necessary.' On July 19, the full resolution of the San Francisco Club, was adopted by the Executive of the California State Democratic Party.

The second post, carried a reprint of an excellent article by Stella OLeary, Founder and Chair of Irish-American Democrats, which challenged the assertion by Irish Times correspondent Niall Strange, that the influence of Irish-American voters was on the wane.

OLeary very astutely wrote then,

“No politicians have received more from Irish America than the Clintons. At one St. Patrick's Day breakfast Irish American Democrats raised $200,000 for the election of Hillary Clinton to the Senate.”

“As was commonly reported, Irish Americans raised millions for the election bid of Senator Clinton for the Presidency. One of our own, Declan Kelly, was at the very top of Senator Clinton's list of fundraisers.”

(Kelly, aged 41, born in Portroe, County Tipperary, has since been appointed by Secretary Clinton as Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland.)

On hearing the news of the position of the California Democrats, Northern Ireland First Minister, Peter Robinson, wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stating that the campaign by California Democrats was 'unhelpful.'

If that news wasn't bad enough, the San Francisco Labor Council have got into the act. On September 28, they passed the following resolution;

Resolution in Support of a United Ireland

WHEREAS, the logic of history, international law, human rights and peace dictate the reunification of the island of Ireland [Eire]; and

Whereas, the reality of the moment—the Good Friday Agreement and the development of the All-Ireland institutions of governance—attest to this momentum; and

WHEREAS, in the past the San Francisco Labor Council has historically
supported not only equal rights and justice for all Irish people, but also the reunification of Ireland as the path to that end; and

WHEREAS, the contributions of the Irish-born, and Irish Americans to this state, this nation, and to labor unions are legion,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Labor Council supports Irish reunification and supports all peaceful actions that support the final reunification of the island of Ireland by all electoral and diplomatic means necessary; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to Bay Area Central Labor Councils, the California Federation of Labor, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), and to President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton, US Senators Boxer and Feinstein, House Speaker Pelosi, and Congresswoman Speier.

Submitted by Denis Mosgofian, GCC-IBT 4N and Mike Casey, Unite Here 2 and adopted unanimously by the San Francisco Labor Council on September 28, 2009.


Tim Paulson
Executive Director

When the First Minister hears this news, I have no doubt he will put pen to paper once again to inform the San Francisco Labor Council that this move would be 'unhelpful.' I would however give him one little bit of advice, don't C C it to San Francisco's Irish-American Mayor, Gavin Newsom. He will be a little busy running for the Democratic Party nomination for Governor of California.

Around this time I also came across an article in which former California State Senator, Tom Hayden, (First to draft MacBride fair employment legislation for the California legislature regarding use of state pension funds invested in Northern Ireland) mused that he was unsure if the current group of Irish-American activists were as committed or as active in pursuit of an Irish-American agenda as those who were around in the 1980's.

He may well get his answer sooner than expected.

California Dreamin'

“California, once described by Patrick Doherty as, the 'Jewel in the Crown' of the Mac Bride Principles campaign for fair employment practices by American companies doing business in Northern Ireland, has again shown that Irish-Americans continue to be pro-active in the quest for Irish reunification.”

“Doherty was, and is at this time, Director of Corporate Responsibility for the City of New York pension funds, and a leading proponent of the Mac Bride Principles campaign.”

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