Assembly points

Assembly points

November 2, 2014 Blog 0 Comments
An interesting week ahead. I will be going the direct route to the Assembly, co-option in place of Alex Maskey who moves to replace the indomitable Sue Ramsay who was a great representative for West Belfast but is stepping down due to ill health.
Belfast has many friends in the US who will face a more daunting — and traditional — route back to elected office in the mid-term elections on Tuesday, including Democrat Mike Cusick of Staten Island and Republican Mike Fitzpatrick of Long Island. The latter described in a Newsday endorsement as “an uncompromising conservative, a burr to all” which captures a little bit of his feisty approach to political life. I met the two Mikes in the State Capitol in Albany in March of this year and am an admirer of their ability to work across political fault lines to get things done for their constituents.
They were part of the groundbreaking Opportunity Belfast trade and investment mission to Belfast last Februrary and are strong allies of the peace process in New York. I have no doubt they will get the thumbs-up from their constituents. Two other participants in that barnstorming visit to Belfast were Brian Kavanagh and Alec Brook-Krasny — who like their colleagues attended the New York-New Belfast conference this year — and they also go to the polls on Tuesday. If I were a betting man, I’d be doubling down on both.
Also in the electoral wars this Tuesday is the Comptroller of New York State Tom DiNapoli who, if returned for another four-year-term, will arrive in Belfast for the Aisling Awards on 20 November with a fresh mandate and renewed commitment to  the work of building up the peace with jobs — a path he pioneered with the recent $15m investment in the Crescent Capital fund here.
Pádraig by Marcus Mac Conghail
Pádraig by Marcus Mac Conghail
Pádraig Schaler
Pádraig Schaler

Bhí mo chroí liom inné is mé ag éisteacht leis an albam nua a d’éisigh cairde Phádraig Schaler. Féach an suíomh idirlín ag www.amhrándophá Iarracht atá in Amhrán do Phádraig, lena chnuasach d’amhráin ghleoite, cuidiú le costais cúram an fhir óig as Baile Átha Cliath, ar leag carr é i Cape Cod, Massachusetts, i samhradh 2013. Ach fosta tá sé ag cur an spotsholais ar iarrachtaí theaghlach Phádraig áiseanna cearta a chur ar fáil in Éirinn d’othair a bhfuil gortú inchinne orthu. Le cois air sin uilig, is siombal é den ghrá atá ag an bhaicle ógánach ar Phádraig agus é i gcóma ar fad in otharlann sa Ghearmáin. Mar deir an file Marcas Mac Conghail i ndán fíorchumacht ar an albam ag tréisliú leis an “50 spártach cróga” a thum iad féin in uiscí an Atlantaigh do Phádraig.

Ó bhéal gach duine, bhí d’ainm, bhí d’ainm..
Ligim an liú sin aríst ar phár duit
go bhfille tú abhaile slán, a Phádraig.”
Is ionspioráid iad tuismitheoirí Phádraig agus is díol bróid iad na daoine óga a dhéanann cinnte go gcluintear a ainm gach áit ina bhfuil Gaeil bailithe.
My heart soared this week, listening to the new album issued by friends of Pádraig Schaler, the Dublin student knocked down in Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the summer of 2013 and who remains in a coma in Germany, his native country being unable to offer him 21st Century care.
Amhrán do Phádraig is a collection of beautiful songs composed and performed by his many friends as a fundraising contribution to his health costs but also to spotlight his parents’ continuing campaign to have proper care facilities for brain injury patients in Ireland.
Ultimately, of course, it’s a gift of love from his young friends to Pádraig, trapped in a coma in Hamburg but still at the heart and soul of the company every time his young Irish speaking friends gather.
Buy the album, launched at the national Oireachtas yesterday, say his name. And enjoy, in particular, the uplifting poem by Marcas Mac Conghail.

About the Author

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir is the outgoing Sinn Féin MLA for South Belfast and a civic activist in Belfast.