Presidential Proclamation–Irish-American Heritage Month, 2011




Our diverse Nation has been shaped by the sacrifices and successes of those who crossed both land and sea in pursuit of a common dream.  For millions of Americans, this journey began in Ireland.  In the wake of the Great Hunger, many sons and daughters of Erin came to our shores seeking a brighter day, with only courage and the enduring values of faith and family to sustain them.  Alongside many others who sought a better life in a new Nation, these intrepid immigrants built strong communities and helped forge our country’s future.  During Irish-American Heritage Month, we honor the contributions Irish Americans have made, and celebrate the nearly 40 million among us who proudly trace their roots back to Ireland.

From the earliest days of our Republic, the Irish have overcome discrimination and carved out a place for themselves in the American story.  Through hard work, perseverance, and patriotism, women and men of Irish descent have given their brawn, brains, and blood to make and remake this Nation — pulling it westward, pushing it skyward, and moving it forward.  Half a century ago, John F. Kennedy became our first Irish-American Catholic President and summoned an expectant citizenry to greatness.  This year, as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s inauguration, we recognize our 35th President and the countless other Irish Americans whose leadership and service have steered the course of our Nation.

Seldom in this world has a country so small had so large an impact on another.  Today, the rich culture of Ireland touches all aspects of American society, and the friendship that binds Ireland and the United States is marked by a shared past and a common future.  As communities across our country celebrate Irish-American Heritage Month and St. Patrick’s Day, our Nation pays tribute to the proud lineage passed down to so many Americans from the Emerald Isle.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2011 as Irish-American Heritage Month.  I call upon all Americans to observe this month by celebrating the contributions of Irish Americans to our Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.


South Carolina News

To all my Northern friends thank you for sending us a White Christmas, our first in 47 years.

I also need to apologize to Jordan Liflander for not thanking him for his work in establishing the new division in Spartanburg. Jordan transferred from New York to our Greenville Division while living in Spartanburg. Several other brothers were commuting from Spartabburg to Greenville. Jordan contacted Jim Nettles State Organizer and the rest is history.

The lesson here for all growing States is start with a little idea, give the required resources and success will happen. As we look at the last census and the States growing in population we need to crank up this effort. Are you listening Texas?

We begin the new year with many divisions installing new officers. This is very important as we spread responsibility for our organization to more individuals. This will only foster more ideas to spread the good news of our heritage.

As we mentioned earlier we were pleased to welcome Paul Gleeson to the Southern region and we thank Jim Lawracy for his efforts and also Jim McKay for his support. Since that initial meeting we continue to correspond with Paul and he is very receptive to all ideas and we really have an ally with him in Atlanta.

In January the State is holding a state wide social in Charleston with all the old and new State Officers. This will allow us to have a seamless transition. We have also asked the LAOH to join us at the social to be held in Charleston. Any National officers are invited as well but I believe there is a conflict with the Right to Life March in Washington.

Two subjects that I will share more information later. We were contacted by “Tartan Day South” and Invited to be the honored Society during their first Festival on April 1&2 in Columbia S. C. The event is being produced as a Celtic Celebration highlighting the rich culture that has evolved from the Celtic tribes.

The other event is our State Convention in October.

New AOH Division in South Carolina

The Father Edmund P. Joyce Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians was chartered in Spartanburg on Saturday, November 13th. It is named for Fr. Joyce, who graduated from schools in Spartanburg and served as executive vice president of Norte Dame University for 35 years. It is the 9th Division in South Carolina and part of the largest Irish-Catholic Organization in the world.  South Carolina is growing with a new Division each year. National Director Robert Mott and State President Lyn Byrne installed the new officers.  Jordan Liflander (864-357-6171) is the new President and State Chaplain Fr. Timothy Gahan is the Division Chaplain.  The event included the Shamrock Degree, Mass, Installation of officers and a banquet at St Paul the Apostle Catholic Church. The State organizer is James P Nettles, Jr.

Members of the new South Carolina Division joined by National Director Bob Mott and South Carolina State President Len Byrne

\Irish Consul General Comes to Town

By John Temple Ligon
The Columbia Star
Reprinted with permission

Paul Gleeson, the Republic of Ireland’s new Consul General for the South, greeted the guests Saturday night, November 6, at the Clarion on Gervais Street. Gleeson celebrated the opening of his consulate in Atlanta’s Buckhead, Ireland’s first new consulate in the United States since 1936 and its first in the South. Running the show was Columbia’s Jim Lawracy, Columbia Division president, Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) and chair of the banquet host committee.
Gleeson is responsible for seven states: Georgia and the Carolinas, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The Irish Embassy in Washington meets the needs for a consulate there, while the other American consulates for Ireland are in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago. Texas is part of the South to some and the West to others. The Chicago consulate handles Texas.
Gleeson was in Columbia to push for further ties with Ireland, but his country is already well-represented in South Carolina, where there are 26 Irish commercial sites across the state-six in the Midlands.
In Columbia MMI Products provides construction materials. The American headquarters for Cooper Power Tools Inc. is in Lexington, and they assemble electric and pneumatic tools there and also in Sumter. In Camden, Covidien makes surgical gauze. Elite USA in Winnsboro manufactures contract electronics goods. In Blythewood, Trane US Inc. produces commercial air conditioning coils.
As the first consulate in the South and the first in the country since 1936, the new Irish presence in Atlanta drew celebrants from across the United States, most of whom were officially connected with the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.
The AOH began in Ireland in the early 17th century. As AOH national treasurer, Louisiana State Judge James McKay came from New Orleans. Ciaran Staunton, head of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, was present also as a Manhattan restaurateur. Brian Donahue was in attendance as Mecklenburg County board chairman, Charlotte. The president of the South Carolina AOH State Board, Len Byrne, was there to be photographed next to Ginger Frederick, the state president of the South Carolina LAOH, the ladies’ organization. Two past South Carolina presidents, Joe Dougherty and Raphe O’Geaney, joined everyone on the second floor and the veranda at the Clarion overlooking Gervais Street.
Gleeson addressed the diners with his encouragement for more Southern indicators of free trade between the Republic of Ireland and the United States, offering the services of his consulate to help in any way necessary.
Earlier in the day, Gleeson toured the Columbia Canal, where Irish labor worked almost 200 years ago to build the canal that allowed boats a way around the rocks and the rapids. Irish labor was considered actually cheaper than slave labor because in case of a fatal accident on the construction site, the death of an Irish laborer was not necessarily the loss of capital. Gleeson was shown the memorial to the Irish laborers.
Columbia’s Johnny Jordan, president at Cherokee Inc., general contractor, generously contributed his crews’ skills and erected the memorial gratis. Mr. and Mrs. Jordan were at the Clarion function where just about everyone else came by to thank the contractor.
In 2007, the Irish gross domestic product grew by 4.7 percent, but since the Great Recession began in December 2007, the Republic of Ireland has somehow fallen into foul financial standing, down to the point where the Irish are counted in a league with the people of Portugal, Spain and even Greece.
The country’s GDP contracted by more than 7 percent in 2009. Ireland’s deficit this year is estimated to be running around 32 percent of its gross domestic product, the highest in euro-zone history.
In the past week the cost of insuring Irish government debt against the risk of default set another record. The annual cost of insuring $10 million in Irish debt over five years climbed to $563,000. The Irish 10-year government bond yield is 7.64 percent, more than 5.25 percentage points over what the Germans have to pay their bond holders.
Meanwhile, Irish budget choppers are on the job. They plan to chop $8.5 billion from the national 2011 budget in a country of 4.4 million people.
Also last week, Ireland and Spain were removed from a list of countries in which Russia’s $131 billion sovereign wealth funds were permitted to invest.
Once the world gets out of the woods, it should take Ireland with it. The big problem is that evacuating the woods might be at least another year away. On the other hand, maybe prematurely, the European Commission did forecast that the Irish economy could grow by three percent in 2011.
The other big issue among the AOH representatives was the 1965 Immigration Act that continues to lock out the Irish who want to immigrate here. The United States has maybe 11 million undocumented immigrants, and about 50,000 of them are Irish immigrants. Over the past five years, almost five million visas have been issued to people from around the world. Europeans received 758,119, out of which Ireland received 7,505. The emigration out of Ireland hasn’t always been that way, of course, particularly in 19th century American history.
From 1845 to 1849, the Irish population of eight million fell by 30 percent. One million died of starvation, and another 1.5 million emigrated. One million, roughly, immigrated through New York Harbor.
In South Carolina, 13 percent of the population claims Irish heritage.

Treasurer Jim McKay, Consul General Paul Gleeson, Jim Lawracy, and SC President Len Byrne