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Neal, Walsh dare to speak of Easter Week

Congressman Richard Neal
Photos by Lee Pellegrini

By Irish Echo Staff

Massachusetts Congressman Richard E. Neal and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh shared their insights on Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising at an event held at Boston College’s Gasson Hall on Monday evening last.
The gathering, titled “Reflections on the 100th Anniversary of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising,” was sponsored by Boston College and the Boston College Center for Irish Programs.

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Provost and Dean of Faculties, David Quigley, delivered opening remarks before giving the podium to the mayor and the congressman.

Neal, an avid historian, is a long-time guest lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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Mayor Marty Walsh

Mayor Marty Walsh

Mayor Marty Walsh[/caption]

Walsh, a 2009 graduate of the Woods College of Advancing Studies at Boston College, and the son of Irish immigrants from County Galway, has long been a student of Irish history.

Oliver P. Rafferty, S.J., professor of history and director of the Irish Studies Program at Boston College, said he was pleased to sponsor an event on such an important topic during its 100th anniversary year.

“The Irish Studies Program is delighted that Congressman Richard Neal and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh agreed to speak at Boston College on the significance of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, in its centenary year,” said Fr. Rafferty.

“These two prominent Irish Americans will help us to appreciate an event which is seminal for an understanding of modern Irish history.

“The Proclamation of Independence, read by Patrick Pearse outside the General Post Office in Dublin on Easter Monday 1916, explicitly mentions the support the attempted revolution had from Ireland’s ‘exiled children in America.’

“It is therefore altogether appropriate that two of the descendants of Ireland’s exiled children give us their insights into the circumstances and importance of the Rising,” Fr. Raffery added.

Congressman Neal is co-chair of the Friends of Ireland group in Congress and, according to a spokesman, is planning a number of events in his Western Massachusetts district later in the year to mark the 1916 centenary.