Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dishonored To Be Honored

You're brilliant, Fionnula Flanagan. You've done Ireland proud. The US-Ireland Alliance would like to honor your contributions.

Thanks, she says, I'll be honored to attend the pre-Academy Awards party next month.

Over time, however, things change, and Ms. Flanagan will not be attending the party after all.

What could have happened to cause a complete reversal? Another appointment, something more pressing?

Actually, no. It's because of Trina Vargo, the president of the US-Ireland Alliance. Trina and her outspoken letter to the Irish Times, to be more accurate.

Ms. Vargo put in her two cents about the illegal Irish lobby, which is hoping for personalized legislation that would make it possible for the Irish to come out from hiding in the U.S. Their situation would become normalized, and let all the other ethnic groups hammer out their own arrangements.

In her letter, Ms. Vargo criticized the notion that the Irish were somehow special and deserved a unique deal for them alone, as if they were barging to the head of the queue like V.I.P.s. Niall O'Dowd, who chairs the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, took exception to Ms. Vargo's thesis and a war of words sprang up. The fuss has yet to die down, as one would expect in an issue so emotionally charged.

Ms. Flanagan has taken Mr. O'Dowd's side in the argument. The famed actress wouldn't mind if the Irish got preferential treatment so that they could go home for the weddings and funerals that they have to miss now. With that in mind, she'll not be at the party, lest someone think she's in agreement with Ms. Vargo, who wants the whole legalized immigrant cake and not just the Irish slice.

The Alliance will have to party on without the guest of honor. But if the writers are still on strike, there won't be any Academy Awards Ceremony anyway, and what's the point of a party before an event that isn't happening?

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