Call for a big Bronx turnout

Bodies in the room will be key.

Supporters of the campaign to have a street beside Gaelic Park in the Bronx named after the late lawyer and human rights activist Frank Durkan are urging people to attend a meeting of Community Board 8 on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Board members take serious account of turnout when it comes to making decisions to name streets, said attorney, and one of the organizers of the campaign, Martin Galvin.

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The meeting is set for Riverdale Temple, 4545 Independence Avenue at 7.30 p.m.

A number of submissions in support of the street naming have been presented to the board. The board's transportation committee, chaired by Dan Padernacht, has already given its approval.

Speaking at the committee hearing, attorney Galvin, said that "in addition to the home of Irish games, Gaelic Park had

long been the launching pad for campaigns on crucial Irish justice and that Frank Durkan's voice had been synonymous with those issue as he "fought for justice both as a trial lawyer inside courtrooms and as a political campaigner outside the courtrooms."

Cathy O'Brien, aactivist and a local resident, spoke of her family's long association with Frank Durkan, particularly his support for patriotic organizations like Friends of Irish Freedom and Sean Oglaigh na Eireann for whom he had often given orations at Gaelic Park.

Dan Dennehy of the AOH spoke of Durkan's support of the the order's freedom-for-all-Ireland committee and on immigration issues.

John Dunleavy, chairman of the New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee, spoke of the central role that Gaelic Park had played for immigrants arriving from Ireland and Frank Durkan's leading role in that community, which has made such a contribution to the Bronx.

Mike Carroll, an attorney with O'Dwyer and Bernstien, where Durkan had worked as a lawyer, noted that many were absent from the meeting because of a scholarship function that night given in Frank's name.

It was another sign of the "affection, regard and esteem" that the Irish community still felt for Frank Durkan, who died in 2006, Carroll said.