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Irish Fair honors victims of Astoria fire, boro men

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Associated Press writer and special correspondent Hugh Mulligan of Astoria will receive the 2001 Irish Bard Award at The Great Irish Fair Sept. 8 and Sept. 9 at Dreier Offerman Park in Coney Island.

Three other Queens residents also will receive honors at the fair, which benefits Catholic Charities of Queens and Brooklyn. They are: First Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Dunne of Whitestone, who will receive the Round Tower Award; John Concannon of Flushing, the Thomas J. Cuite Memorial Award; and Mairead McInerney of Whitestone, the Colleen Queen.

This year the two-day celebration of Irish culture will be dedicated to the memories of the three heroic firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty during a fire and explosion in Astoria on Father’s Day: John Downing of Woodside, Brian Fahey of East Rockaway and Harry Ford, who grew up in Little Neck.

Mulligan, who on the Astoria-Long Island City border, has traveled to 146 countries and covered wars from Vietnam to the Middle East and Angola during his four decades with AP. He has covered numerous heads of state and accompanied Pope John Paul II on 28 of his trips around the world.

The Bard Award is presented to a distinguished writer dedicated to telling the stories of Ireland and of her people.

Dunne will receive the fair’s Round Tower Award, a Hibernian symbol of friendship. It is given to one who helps improve the quality of life for the less fortunate.

A patrolman in 1969, Dunne rose through the ranks to chief of the department and was appointed first deputy commissioner last year.

Concannon worked his way from mail boy on the old Collier's magazine to assistant to the general manager. From there he went to Newsweek where he retired after 35 years as an assistant business news editor.

He served as public relations director of the St. Patrick's Day Parade for 20 years, was an aide to the parade grand marshal in 1978 and is co-author of “The Irish-American Who’s Who” and the ”Irish Directory.” He currently is working on a book on Irish-born and Irish-American recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

McInerney, 17, a junior at Dominican Academy in Manhattan, is a champion Irish step dancer — she has performed at Carnegie Hall — and plays the fiddle. She also is a volunteer at Ozanam Hall Nursing Home and active in fund-raising for the needy.

The fair features live entertainment on seven stages, Irish import vendors, arts and crafts displays, and rides and games for children. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days.

Posted 7:22 pm, October 10, 2011
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