Saturday, November 6, 2010


This blog is high in the night sky on a plane bound from Pittsburgh to New York. Your man and me left Ireland on Tuesday on a long haul that had us travelling for over twenty two hours before we arrived at our first stop in the tidy town of Meadville, Pennsylvania. Bed thankfully beckoned and we collapsed, separately - though that’s none of your business - into jetlagged but much needed slumber.

The next morning breakfast or what passed for breakfast in our accommodation, put your man in thoroughly bad form.

‘There’s no porridge’ he declared.

‘They call it oatmeal here’ I reminded him.

‘Well there’s none of that either’ he retorted.

And he was right. Poor coffee in paper cartons. Multi coloured cereals, Cheerios, in polystyrene bowls. Mixed fruit. Plastic knives, forks and spoons. A machine for making waffles.

‘Remind me not to come here again’ your man grumped.

‘Maith go leor’ I said as I munched my way through the plastic fodder and hoped that he would get into better form.

The gig at Allegheny College was a very good affair. A capacity crowd, a series of interviews and an informed discussion lightened your man’s cranky mood. And the good weather helped. Bright autumnal sunshine and acres upon acres of tall trees resplendent in their russet, orange, yellow and gold foliage surrounded and dotted the campus.

Allegheny county has passed a United Ireland motion. So has its neighbours the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Aside from Ireland the politics here are all about this weeks election results. The Democrats took a pounding. They lost the Congress but kept the Senate. But all the talk around here is about the negativity and coarseness of the campaign.

From home came news of Senator Pearse Doherty’s victory at the High Court in Dublin and scéal that the Government would have little choice but to move the writ for the by-election that they have avoided for over eighteen months.

‘That means we get to Donegal’ your man beamed at me.

‘To work’ I said.

Tomorrow night our big event is in the Úll Mor.

Alec Maskey will be there and Raymond McCartney. As well as Martina Anderson. They will speak on their Policing and Justice portfolios. Raymond is the Vice Chair of the Assembly Justice committee and Alec and Martina are Sinn Féin representatives on the Policing Board. The three of them are also former political prisoners. Raymond served nineteen years, Alec four and a bit and Martina did thirteen years in the worst possible penal institutions. In Britain itself. With all the racism, bad practice and down right bad mindedness and brutality of that system. At least in Ireland prisoners had lots of company. Prison life in Britain was a lonely grind for Irish politicos. And for their families.

But they came through it all. In many ways their election as public representatives and their work on these big issues of Policing and Justice shows how far we have all come. Of course we have still a long way to go but if someone ever laments the distance still to be travelled point them at the distance travelled those far. And take succor from that. We will complete our journey. Our people will be free, And united.

But for now as the New York skyline open below us we begin our descent. Here for a day. On Friday the flight home. It will be slán New York. Good Morning Ireland! Home for the mother and father of all election campaigns in Donegal South West.

This blog is looking forward to that. So, I am pleased to note, is your man. He is now in good form again.

And that my friends is a very important place for him to be. Especially for me.


Timothy Dougherty said...

At this day Gerry ,you should be back and ready of action. Coming with months of more political drama ahead. The national office of Fianna Fáil said:"Let Them Eat Cheese". That is one way of dealing with problems,this new initiative of dealing with those living in poverty. There are mountains of Irish Cheese to the poor. The plan is to organize the Cheese by degree of poorness,or each Cheese exchanged by type of cheese to that poor area.The government's attention was on solving the economic problems is interesting. Maybe Dubliner cheese from County Cork could go to Cahills Farm cheese from County Limerick, the problem meets the limits of the mind. The big question is will there be Biscuits or Breads with which cheese as well? Sinn Féin candidate Senator Pearse Doherty is a the clear favourite.The people are not stupid and people know what Fianna Fáil has done and the Big Cheese will not change whatFianna Fáil will do to them in the budget on December 7th.

Maria said...

Dear Mr. Adams,

I am a political organizer with the United Steel Workers' Union in Pittsburgh.

Firt of all, Pittsburgh is spelled P-i-t-t-s-b-u-r-g-h not Pittsburg.

Secondly, it's the center of, not a neighbor of, Allegheny County.

Thirdly, our region has far more to offer than bad breakfasts. Pittsburgh is widely considered to be the greenest and most liveable city in the United States. It has one of the lowest crime rates and one of the lowest costs of living of any major metropolitan area in the country. Our universities are among the best in the nation. People come from all over the world to be treated at the state-of-the-art facilities of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and our cultural district rivals that of New York City.

Allegheny County is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains and is absolutely gorgeous. Our city's skyline is stunning.

The people of Western Pennsylvania, I'm guessing not unlike the people of West Belfast, are proud, family oriented working class folks who have stayed here to rear our children and still have dinner at our mums' houses every Sunday afternoon.

You may want to come visit here properly and find out about us.

As a child in the eighties, I idolized you but right now I feel like telling you what you can do with our plastic knives, forks and spoons. I mean, how would you like it if I traveled to your neck of the woods and the only comment I made about it in a public blog is how poor the coffee is in Belfas?

James and Linda said...

The breakast you had is what we, in the States, call "a continental breakfast." As a child, I first heard that expression on a family vacation, that our room came with a continental breakfast, and I got all excited about it, imagining a continent-sized buffet table of breakfast food as far as the eye could see. My mother set me straight, that "continental" means you're not getting very much.

Election night was a drag, nationally, but in Dallas County we did very well. I got an earache standing in the rain supporting my candidates, and it was well worth the effort. On the nearly solid-red state of Texas map, we're a blue oasis.

Best of luck in the Donegal by-election.

Darrin Wood said...

Dear Gerry, I am doing some lobbying on the Basque process here in the USA and would like some pointers or help.
PS We met in Bilbao/Gernika/Madrid during a trip you made for HB back in 1994.
besarkada bat,
Darrin Wood
45 15th St NW
Massillon, Ohio 44647

PH: 330-268-7868

The Independent Variable said...

Béir bua, a chara

The Independent Variable said...

Béir bua, a chara

Micheal said...

Nineteen years. Now that is a good stretch. So is thirteen.

Our people will be as free and united as they choose to be. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. Thanks for leading the horse to the water. He'll drink at some stage. That's the funny thing about democracy. People making bad choices more often than good ones. In my humble opinion.

They don't even pick the leaves up in Dublin, or clean the pavements of snow and ice in winter, yet they have a half a million people on the dole. What a country. There's a lot to be said for the British system you know. And I hope SF can bring some of it to bear island wide.

In Dublin they say that the current Dail numbers are great news for the constituencies of certain independents. Who said pork-barrell politics is dead.

Good luck to Doherty in Donegal. I wish I had his smarts at 33.

James and Linda said...

Now, Maria, while I totally agree that Gerry needs to work on his spelling, you have to take the story about the breakfast in context. Surely you know that Gerry likes to put the most humorous slant on every event; there's no offense intended in writing about the plastic forks, it's a self-deprecating comment for the folks back home. Who among us, who've read Gerry's essays, will ever think of the Waldorf Astoria without remembering his experience with the mini bar?

I, for one, appreciated reading that our Gerry--a world leader in the political realm--stayed at the exact same type of hotel that I stayed in while serving as a delegate to my state's Democratic Party convention. I eschewed the convention hotel for an affordable place with a free continental breakfast included--and I'm a huge fan of the waffle machine.

Good on ya, Gerry, for keeping it real and staying at the same hotels that the rest of us activists stay at!