(By Ned Hoskin, Staff reporter)
Troy - Troy has a link with world history in an Irish patriot named James Connolly, and a local group is organizing a tribute to his memory.
Connolly's impact on the world labor movement and the struggle for an independent Ireland was internatoinal and long-lasting, according to organizers. The tribute, planned for Septmber 1986, is to be a combined effort of all communities linked to him.
"We're calling the whole thing 'a handshake across the ocean'," said James Devine, chairman of the James Connolly Commemorative organizing committee. "This should be an occasion that will bring all of us together and establish stronger lasting ties between the communities."
The main reason the tribute is being planned here, he said, is to recognize Connolly's association with Troy. Devine's research shows Connolly came to the United States in 1902 and moved to Troy in 1903, setting up house at 96 Ingalls Avenue.
He worked for the Metropolitan Insurance Company until a recession caused the firm to falter. He went to work in Newark, NJ, and his family joined him there in 1905.
In 1910, he returned to Ireland and in 1914, became the head of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. He was one of the founders and leaders of the Irish Citizen Army, and initiated the Labor Party in Ireland.
As commander of the Dublin Garrison, Connolly played a key role in the "Easter Rising" which began April 24, 1916. Though it was defeated, the rising changed the course of Irish and world history. He was executed 2 1/2 weeks later.
Groups and individuals interested in participating or endorsing the commemorative are: Greater Troy Area Chamber of Commerce, members of the State Legislature, Irish-American Labor Coalition, Dick Spring of the Irish Labor Party, Susan Moyle Lynch of the Troy Liveability Campaign, the Irish consul general in Manhattan, various trade unions, Cornell University and attorney Paul O'Dwyer, former president of the New York City Council.
Plans include the possible erection in the city of a monument made in Ireland, a parade, a festival, traditional Irish music, dancing and peotry, and a ceremony which would feature remarks from national and international persons with an interest in the man.
A one-time commemorative journal is planned, which would feature articles about the man, his accomplishments and his relationship to Troy.
Other local persons withconnections to Irish-American activities are involved.
They are co-vice chairmen Peter P. Durkee and Edward Connolly; Anne H. Armeo, treasurer; Alice Connally Fisk, secretary; Brian Sullivan, liaison with the city, and Troy attorney William McGovern, legal counsel.
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