MaryAnn McCarra-Fitzpatrick
BLOOD DRIVE!!! SUNDAY 10th August 2014, Assumption Church, Peekskill, NY.

If you are in the area, please consider donating on 10th August.

BLOOD DRIVE - SUNDAY 10th AUGUST 2014 - 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Blood reserves are challenged by Summer patient demand……..

Fr. Wilson Hall
Assumption Church
131 Union Avenue
Peekskill, NY 10566


Poems forthcoming in “Florida English” literary journal…….

Very pleased to hear, today, that my poems “Shamrocks” and “Blood Pudding” will appear in the 2014 (Irish-American themed) issue of Florida English, forthcoming in October 2014.

Can’t wait to read all the contributions!!  I am sure it will be a fascinating issue!!

Three poems………..


 two blue birds, their meeting

forever forestalled under the

china glaze, repeated, endlessly,

over teapot, dinner plates, side-

plates, teacups, and saucers

so smooth to her fingers, laundry-

chapped, as she sees the story

of lost love repeated, repeated,

repeated in blue and white,

upon the shelf, the shelf, the shelf

of blond wood that she stares at,

puzzling at some small imperfection

she cannot correct, the motes of

dust in a ray of sunlight mocking

her and still the dinner to be done,

be done, be done


Christmas Cards Tell The Weather

 Christmas cards tell the weather

report, the deaths and


borne by red robins wreathed in

a gleaming sparkle of snow, gritty to

the fingertips, caught by the light, the handwriting

fainter and fainter until it is

no more

still others enclose photos

of grave-faced children, familiar

yet unfamiliar, mouths silent,

name and number on their


as we stir the batter for

the Christmas cake we make

wishes, always wishes, how

wonderful the things the mind

can conceive.

the foreign taste of dates a

meaty sweetness, the

custard, hot, poured over

pudding and Christmas

yet to come

the bulbs burning on

the tree are hot to the touch,

the tinsel a magic of silver


Sunday Morning, Sunday Afternoon

Saturday night dissolves into

Sunday morning, the music

and talk died away now, slipping

on blackened shoes, securing the goldbead

clasp of a handbag with a

snap, hem straightened, and, powdered and

lipsticked, off to Mass

later, picking up soft rolls and the

bulk of a Sunday paper, inky fingers pressed

Silly-Putty upon the funnies,

turning it to see the image

you have created, this

duplicate of a duplicate, another

and another

later still, listening for the

jingle-music of change in a pocket

foreshadowing thick curds of

ice cream in a crisp cone, the

paths cut into the grass of the

park strips of brown earth

worn bare, naked as

open wounds


Publishers of Laughing Earth Lit……..published biannually………..

Some new poems posted……….


Just writing to make sure you know about Poetry Slam taking place on Sunday. Here are the details from the website of the Katonah Museum of Art:

Poetry Slam: Write it, Read it, Shout it Out!
5:00 – 6:00 pm Practice poetry slam skills with ZORK 
6:00 – 7:30 pm Poetry Slam at the KMA

Join host and Westchester Slam Master Eric ZORK Alan for a fantastic and fun evening of poetry. If you love poetry, you will love it more. If you hate poetry, this event will change your mind. 

Make yourself heard in this first-ever poetry slam at the KMA. The open slam starts with a performance by National Slam Icon Eric ZORK Alan. Bring 1 -2 poems to share in the open slam, or just bring your open ears and clapping hands.

$15 Members, $20 non-members

39 poems posted to the blog…….

'The Mammy Monologues' aims to take a no holds barred look at motherhood.

Journalists and authors Claire Allan and AM Scanlon will be compiling a comprehensive collection of first person experiences - from earth mothers to those who choose to be child free, bereaved mothers, reluctant mothers, young and old mothers. We will also look at women’s relationships with their own mothers - and how that has shaped their experiences.

We value your input and will regularly be crowd sourcing - believing that every mother has a story to tell.

For more information about this exciting project email:

AM Scanlon is a journalist and writer and has had work published in the UK, Ireland and the USA. She writes for a wide variety of publications and has one non-fiction book under her belt: “It’s Not You, It’s Me! A Girl’s Guide to Dating in Ireland”. She is a regular contributor on television and radio.
She has one perfectly delightful son.

Claire Allan is an author and journalist. She has been a staff reporter and columnist. with the Derry Journal since 1999.
She has published seven fiction novels with Poolbeg Press in Ireland and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Ulster.
She has two perfectly delightful children (one of each).

Follow us on Twitter:

Very disturbing allegations have emerged recently regarding excessively high infant mortality rates in mothers and childrens homes, like Tuam, which were run by religious organisations in Ireland in the past decades. Previous investigations by the Irish State into allegations of wrongdoing by religious organisations have been severely lacking, and have attracted strong criticism from International Organisations.

We are holding a vigil (a silent protest with candles, putting children’s boots on railings etc) at the Irish Embassy in London to show our conviction that these shortcomings must not be present in the investigation being established. 

Here is a link to our campaign group

In our vigil, we call for the following:
(The Irish Government has partially addressed the first two points, but has not addressed the others)

-The investigation must be comprehensive, and must cover all similar institutions. The investigation should attempt to ascertain the location of other mass unmarked graves of children such as those at Tuam and Castlepollard.

- It is necessary to fully investigate allegations of drug-testing on children at these homes, and allegations that this was done in some locations without consent. Where a defence of consent is made, efforts should be made to discover whether any practices of obtaining consent from mothers utilised coercion or duress.

- The inquiry should also investigate claims by Paul Garrett, NUIG Professor, that a Catholic Organisation “Child Protection and Rescue Society of Ireland” (“CPRSI”) forced women who had fled to Britain from Mother and Children Homes to return.

-The investigation should cover the extent to which the practice of forced removal of children from their mothers for adoption was widespread, and the investigating commission must be empowered to make suggestions regarding Adoption Legislation if it deems it necessary, in order that those forcibly separated may be reunited where there is a desire on both sides for this to happen.

-The strong criticism of the McAleese report into the Magdalene Laundries by the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) has given significant cause for concern. The Committee stated that the reports of survivors were not given sufficient account, and stated that the investigation was not sufficiently comprehensive. The Committee wrote, in its letter of 22 May 2013, that the investigation “lacked many elements of a prompt independent, and thorough investigation”. The Committee requested information as to whether a proper investigation would be established. Amnesty International has adopted a similar position. 
It is submitted that in order for the Irish State to properly comply with its International Human Rights Obligations, further investigation of the Magdalene Laundries is necessary, as stated by UNCAT and Amnesty International, and given the relevance of the circumstances of the Magdalene Laundries to the Mother and Children Homes, the Magdalene Laundries should be included in the investigation being established so that a proper inquiry can be made in line with UNCAT’s recommendations. To not do so would make any investigation incomplete.
Further, survivor testimony must be considered to be of prime importance in the inquiry being established, otherwise the inquiry’s ability to discharge its purpose would be significantly undermined.

- UNCAT in the same letter also heavily criticised the lack of criminal prosecutions by the Irish State in relation to the findings of child physical and sexual abuse in Institutions run by the Catholic Church which were outlined by the Ryan Report. As the Committee noted in the letter, ensuring prosecution is a key element in addressing past failings and providing better protection. However they note that at the time of their writing that though 14,038 victims of physical and sexual abuse had been awarded financial recompense, only one case had been prosecuted. This is unacceptable and projects the impression that one gains criminal immunity by virtue of membership in a religious organisation.
The current investigation which is being established should have the power to recommend that criminal investigations be instituted with regard to certain persons/ organisations/information for whom evidence has been found disclosing criminal acts. Irish Criminal Law, and Irish International Human Rights Obligations, do not countenance criminal wrongs going unpunished.

-It is necessary that any investigation have a strong independent international presence in order to ensure objectivity. It would be ideal if the investigation was directed by international experts. At the very least it is necessary that those directing the investigation be comprised partially of international experts

- Lastly, when the investigation into child physical and sexual abuse was being conducted, Judge Laffoy who formed part of the investigation felt compelled to resign as she felt that a review on costs done by the Government left the investigation unable to properly perform its duties. Given the importance of the investigation being established to the survivors of these homes, and the Irish State as a whole, similar issues must not encountered in the present investigation.

UN criticism of past inquires by the Irish State

Amnesty International Criticism of the Magdalene Inquiry

Another area of concern has been the response of the Irish Media to recent events. Newspapers were slow to report on issues relating to Mother and Children Homes. The Irish Times, through Rosita Boland, even grossly misrepresented Catherine Corless’ views and falsely claimed that she had issued a retraction regarding Tuam, for which they have refused to apologise. Many Irish Media Outlets however have now begun to publish insightful and sensitive Articles on Irish Mother and Children Homes, and we call on them to continue to do so.

Here is an Article by Corless’ family criticising misrepresentation of Catherine Corless’ views by the Irish Times

The Westchester Gallery at Westchester Community College
Group Exhibit
Ending 31st July
27 North Division Street
Peekskill, NY


The Westchester Gallery at Westchester Community College

Group Exhibit

Ending 31st July

27 North Division Street

Peekskill, NY

Thursday 3rd July 2014

7:00 p.m.

Irish Embassy

17 Grosvenor Place



LONDON — THE United Kingdom is lying on the psychiatrist’s couch. Suddenly the country seems uncertain of its identity, its place in the world, its relationships with its closest family members and its neighbors.

It is a bizarre moment in the history of an ancient realm, insufficiently grasped by its allies, especially across the ocean. Britain is having a kind of nervous breakdown, and its friends aren’t sure whether to say something or just look away.

Many Britons ask: Does Scotland still love us? Will it stay or vote for divorce? Even if we don’t love the European Union, do we really want to leave? And if we leave, will America still think we have a “special relationship,” or is it more committed to others, like Beijing and Berlin?

Britons wonder if they can still afford to sit at the high table of international powers. Even if they keep their expensive nuclear deterrent, do they really want an army smaller than it has been since Waterloo? Military intervention alongside the Americans after Tony Blair, Iraq and Afghanistan, is well, all a bit difficult now, so much so that the Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, can lose a parliamentary vote on a key issue — bombing Syria — and not feel he has to resign.

Queen Elizabeth II is a wonderful old trouper, in her fuchsia suits and matching hats, tromping along her dutiful path in sensible court shoes. But King Charles III? Divorced, impatient, meddling — some suggest skipping a generation and going right to that nice young William, with his pretty wife and perfect baby.

Then there’s the odd coalition government, the first in decades, and party leaders who all lack a certain gravitas. Plus all the heated agonizing about those Eastern European immigrants, let alone Muslims — Mr. Cameron was criticized for insisting that Britain remains a Christian country. The BBC is marred by scandal, and even the famous British tabloids, the “red tops,” have to be careful these days, after the phone hacking trials. And let’s not get started on England’s humiliation in the World Cup.

Along with institutions like the Church of England, the sense of nationhood is being diluted, many Britons say. Time, Mr. Cameron has said, for a restoration of “British values,” even if no one can quite define what they are.

Just the other day, Mr. Cameron went on about Magna Carta, which turns 800 next year, and how he wanted to ensure that all students were taught its lessons of citizenship and parliamentary power. Two years ago, Mr. Cameron couldn’t translate Magna Carta into English for David Letterman. (Great Charter, by the way.) But now he admonished that “we should not be squeamish about our achievements, or bashful about our Britishness”; he called “belief in freedom, tolerance of others, accepting personal and social responsibility, respecting and upholding the rule of law,” as “British as the Union Flag, football and fish and chips.”

Of course, those are essentially French and German values too, minus the flag and the fish and chips. The lukewarm attitudes of a growing immigrant population to national symbols and ideals, from the monarchy to the military and the troubled BBC, are also echoed on the left, as they have traditionally been.

A recent survey of social attitudes was particularly revealing about what it means to be British these days. In 2003, 86 percent of respondents thought it was important to speak English to be considered “truly British”; now, 95 percent do. And while 69 percent in 2003 thought it vital to have lived in Britain “most of your life,” now 77 percent do.

“I don’t think we’ve had such a rocky ride in a very, very long time, since your lot parted company with us,” said Martin Woollacott, an editorial writer for The Guardian, referring to the United States. The Scottish referendum in September, the general election next May and Mr. Cameron’s promise of a referendum on British membership in the European Union “will greatly affect our future,” he said. “They could break up the state or take the state out of the E.U.”

No matter what happens in Scotland, Mr. Woollacott said, “there will have to be a new start for British politics.”

If Scotland leaves, it will be a radical new start for all four countries of the kingdom; if Scotland stays, there will be further federalization.

It’s all quite a departure from the poorer, far less cosmopolitan Britain I encountered more than 30 years ago, when I first lived here as a journalist. Then, Margaret Thatcher was fresh off her military victory in the Falklands; she was sometimes referred to as Boadicea, after the Celtic queen who fought the Romans, and sometimes as “the Leaderene,” and sometimes as Tina — as in, there is no alternative. A verb was created for her management style — she attacked, or “handbagged,” institutions and even the members of her cabinet, nearly all men, one of whom, John Nott, expressed his love for her.

Continue reading the main story


Mark Thomason

 27 minutes ago

The Industrial Revolution started in Britain in part because it does have natural resources. At the time coal and iron and easy water…


 38 minutes ago

Like other readers, I don’t quite understand the author’s inference that Thatcher and Reagan together made the world better. Reagan broke…

Mark Thomason

 40 minutes ago

"Britons wonder if they can still afford to sit at the high table of international powers."They also wonder if they can afford not to sit…


MORE important, she had a plan. She changed Britain from the inside, and not always to everyone’s liking, humbling militant unions and forcing the Labour Party into a necessary confrontation with modernity. Internationally, too, she was admired, from the Reagan White House to the Kremlin. It was Mrs. Thatcher who identified Mikhail S. Gorbachev as a comer and invited him to London in December 1984, four months before he became Soviet general secretary.

Britain then “punched above its weight,” its counsel sought eagerly, if not always happily, by Reagan and his successor, George Bush, whom she admonished after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, that “this is no time to go wobbly.”

Britain today is far richer and more sophisticated, with London’s having become an almost impossibly expensive global capital, a hot spot and sanctuary for money and power, culture and art. Yet London can seem a country of its own, an empire sucking in workers and money not just from the rest of the world, but from the rest of Britain, too, where life goes on in a more traditional, modest fashion, but where people are less happy with the sense of flux.

Simon Jenkins, a British political columnist and historian, thinks that even though the country is going through a puzzled period, it has become a more self-assured place than it was in the 1970s. “Then Britain was seriously in a mess,” he said, before Mrs. Thatcher began to alter political life. Then the clichés were about “the British disease” and “the sick man of Europe,” and that’s gone, he said.


Still, he added, Britain has made serious errors — “allying itself too closely to the United States in its neo-imperialist burst” under President George W. Bush, for one thing. Then “we became drunk on money and ignored inequality and the provinces and the downside of borrow and spend, and we never made our peace with Europe.”

When I raised the diagnosis of national neurosis recently to a group of establishment Britons, there was something of a collective sigh. David Howell, now Baron Howell of Guildford, a former Conservative cabinet minister, was prompted to respond in “The World Today,” a magazine of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

“A London-based American correspondent,” he wrote, referring to me, said that Britain these days appeared to be having an identity crisis. “Unfair?” he wrote. “Definitely. Irritating? Very. Yet with a maddening tinge of truth. Somehow, on a fast-shifting world stage, the British story does seem to have become more confused.”




Dail Debate on Tuam Mother & Child Home, 5 June 2014.