When Tony met Charlie: 30th anniversary of Gregory's famous deal

 

HARD TO believe, but it’s 30 years since the late Tony Gregory and his fellow community activists signed the famous “Gregory deal” with Charlie Haughey.

A number of events are taking place in Dublin to mark the anniversary of the deal, signed on March 8th, 1982.

In return for supporting Haughey as taoiseach, Gregory negotiated a regeneration package for his inner-city Dublin constituency, where years of poverty and government neglect had taken its toll.

Next Friday at 7.30pm, journalist Mick Clifford will chair a discussion in the Pillar Room of the Rotunda with some of the main participants in the negotiations, including Fergus McCabe, Noel Gregory and Mick Rafferty.

This will be followed by contributions on the significance of the deal by Diarmaid Ferriter, Pádraig Yeates and Michael O’Regan of this parish. On Saturday afternoon, TD Maureen O’Sullivan, who is Gregory’s Dáil successor, will unveil a plaque at the scene of the talks at Summerhill Parade in Ballybough.

It’s a busy week for Ms O’Sullivan, who welcomes American peace activist Cindy Sheehan to Leinster House on Thursday.

Ms Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed during the Iraq war, attracted international media attention in 2005 when she began an anti-war protest at a makeshift camp outside George W Bush’s Texas ranch.

The California native, who ran unsuccessfully for the US Congress in 2008, is visiting Ireland to campaign for the release of the Cuban Five, a group of men sentenced to life in a Miami court on charges of espionage. Since their imprisonment, there has been widespread international criticism of the convictions.

Ms Sheehan travels to Belfast early in the week for a number of engagements before returning to Dublin, where she will address a meeting in Leinster House organised by Ms O’Sullivan.

Next on the agenda is a teatime meeting at Liberty Hall to mark International Women’s Day.

Ms Sheehan will finish her day with an event at Trinity College organised by Amnesty International.

She then flies to Sweden, before returning to Dublin for St Patrick’s Day.