Whitey trail stretches all the way to Ireland?

Okay, it was Santa Monica not Santa Sligo or the like but the Whitey Bulger saga may well throw up a few Irish surprises given that he was quite possibility on the island at one point during his 16 years on the lam, and reportedly had money stashed in a safe deposit box in an Irish bank which, of course, might not have been the smartest financial move of his life.

But anyway, the other possibility is that Ireland, no stranger to high end art heists, could well be the hiding place for some of the world's most valuable paintings as a result of Whitey's reported one time interest in things that came in frames.

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Bulger's name has been linked to the theft of thirteen paintings, including Rembrandt's only seascape "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee," a Vermeer, five Degas drawings, and a Manet portrait, all from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston by thieves dressed as policemen on St. Patrick's Day in 1990.

"Art crime investigators joined the hunt for Bulger amid the discovery of evidence that he was involved. With the crime boss now behind bars, sources said the paintings - which are believed to be hidden in Ireland - may finally resurface," the Guardian reported in the wake of Bulger's arrest in California.

Perhaps, like Whitey, they are hiding in plain sight. Well, perhaps not.


We have to be protective of Rory McIlroy's Irish identity lest the "British Boy" brigade across the Irish Sea tries to claim the young man. The highest level of alert will come at the British Open in a few days, though it all might depend on how well he does in the season's third major.

IF is mindful of the old Richard Harris line: "British actor wins award, Irish actor in bar brawl." the Limerick-born Harris was of course pointing to the "British Boy" phenomenon and how it affected him.

In that vein, this little tale from a read in northern Ireland is most apropos. Here it is in the reader's own words as emailed to IF: "I recalled a story my father told me. When the great Belfast boxer Freddie Gilroy fought Alphonse Halimi (a French-Algerian Jew) in London In 1960 for the world bantanweight title, the BBC inter-round summarizer, Mr. J Barrington Dalby, continually referred to Gilroy as "the British Boy" when he was on top but abandoned this for "the Irishman's in trouble" later in the bout, and when the verdict was announced that he had lost on points, said he always suspected the Irishman wasn't up to it!

Funnily enough in his victory speech, Halimi stated, "Today I have won vengeance for Joan of Arc." He must not have heard Barrington Dalby's final pronouncement.


In the run-up to the ig­nominious resignation of Congressman Anthony Weiner, the political newspaper Roll Call, reported that there was one man behind the scramble to fill Weiner's seat and "that man is Rep. Joe Crowley."

Stated the Roll Call report; "New York's quirky election laws give local county chairmen unique power to select each party's nominees in the event of a special election. And Crowley, as the Queens County Democratic chairman, will have the ultimate say over which Democrat would run in the Empire State's 9th district."

Queens County, as it turns out, makes up roughly 70 percent of now ex-congressman Weiner's district.

Quoting "New York Democratic operatives" the report stated that Crowley was likely to appoint someone who is merely a placeholder, with the understanding that the nominee would not seek re-election in 2012.

"And his motivation has everything to do with redistricting. Crowley wants to expand his strong minority 7th district, which currently borders Weiner's 9th, to include a segment of white Catholic voters who currently reside in Weiner's district.

"It's perfect Crowley territory. He wants to move out of the Bronx, where he is now, and more into Queens," one Democratic operative told Roll Call.

And that, according to the report, "likely means that Crowley would avoid nominating any ambitious Democrat who would presumably fight to keep the district during the redistricting process."


Newly appointed Chicago police chief Garry McCarthy knows all about guns, having to use them to enforce the law and the suffering that they inflict on people when they are used to break it.

McCarthy went before a church congregation in his new town recently to berate the gun lobby and stating "The NRA does not like me, and I'm OK with that."

McCarthy, according to the Chicago Sun Times, went on to say that in the debate about gun control, there has to be "a recognition of who's paying the price for gun manufacturers being rich and living in gated communities."

Added the report: McCarthy told parishioners an anecdote about a brutal night of killings in Newark, N.J., where he was previously head of the police department. McCarthy said that after he got home that night, he turn on the TV to relax, and tuned in to Sarah Palin's Alaska.

"She was caribou-hunting and talking about the right to bear arms," McCarthy said. "Why wasn't she at the crime scene with me?"

In a subsequent statement, McCarthy, an Irish Echo Law and Order Top 50 honoree, said "strong gun laws against illegal firearms are critical in order to maintain public safety and private rights."


No surprise given party policy as Sinn Féin calls on candidates seeking presidential nomination to backvoting rights for Irish citizens in the wee North.

The party has stated that its party councilors will be free to support the nomination of candidates in the presidential election who give their backing to presidential voting rights for Irish citizens in the North.

"This year will see an Irish presidential election campaign in which Irish citizens in the North will be denied the right to vote for their president," Monaghan county councilor and spokesperson for Sinn Féin's National Councilors' Forum, Matt Carthy, said in a statement.

"Under existing arrangements the current president herself would not be entitled to vote in the presidential election if she still lived in her native Belfast," he said.

Ah yes, IF has been making that point for some time, not to mention the fact that John Hume, not so long ago voted the greatest Irish person in history, won't be able to vote either under current restrictions.

"Irish citizens from every part of Ireland should be able to vote in the forthcoming presidential election," said Carthy.

Change that to "U.S. citizens from every part of America should be able to vote in the forthcoming presidential election" and it does get you thinking, does it not?