The Irish Echo newspaper recently held a St Patrick’s Day reception on Capitol Hill to unveil a portrait of the late Pat Finucane (1949-1989) – the slain civil rights attorney from Belfast. The Echo commissioned artist Robert Ballagh to produce the painting. Congressman Richard E. Neal Chairman of the Friends of Ireland and Congressman Chris Smith unveiled the portrait inside a well appointed meeting room in the Capitol Building just down the hall from the House Floor.
The portrait was unveiled to an audience of more than one hundred members of Congress and Irish American leaders. The AOH was well represented at the event that including Freedom for All Ireland Chairman Sean Pender, National Editor and Director Keith Carney and Washington brothers Jack O’Brien, John McInerney, Roury McDonald (whose father worked with Pat Finucane). Baltimore brothers Daniel Layden, Mike Breen, Bill Pribyl and Malachy McAlister also attended.
The reception included a special guest, Pat Finucane’s wife Geraldine. A truly moved Mrs. Finucane had trouble overcoming her bittersweet emotions at the event. She thanked all for the special portrait and described all of the attendees in the rooms as “friends,” which was appropriate.