TRIBUTE TO JOHN WILLIAM O'BEIRNE -- [FROM THE IRISH ECHO, SEPT. 19, 1990] (Extension of Remarks - November 02, 1990)
HON. THOMAS J. MANTON
in the House of Representatives
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27, 1990
- Mr. MANTON. Mr. Speaker, I wish to call to the attention of our colleagues the passing of a fine American and a constituent, John W. O'Beirne.
- I first met John shortly after he had founded the American Foundation for Irish Heritage. Through that organization he hoped to bring new recognition to the accomplishments of Americans of Irish decent. His ultimate dream was to see the establishment of a museum here in the Nation's Capital to honor the Irish contribution to America.
- Last year John approached me about the possibility of a congressional resolution to designate the month of March as Irish-American Heritage Month. I was pleased to introduce such a resolution along with my distinguished colleague Representative Brian Donnelly. That resolution became law on October 12 of this year, as a result, for the first time in our history the month of March will be so designated. Unfortunately, my friend John O'Beirne did not live to see his dream fulfilled as he tragically succumbed to a heart attack early in September. He will be missed.
- John O'Beirne was born in Elmhurst, Queens, on September 9, 1917. Both of his parents were Irish immigrants. John graduated from LaSalle Academy in New York City and then the New York College of Music. In 1941 he began a very distinguished 33-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He began with the Fingerprint Division and during World War II worked on various important espionage cases. In the 1950's he spent time training new agents at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA. John then spent several years in the New York City field office, then moved to Washington and ended his FBI career working in headquarters.
- After his retirement John kept more than busy working in the security field and also lending his talents to various charitable endeavors. John worked on investigative matters for the Retail Credit Corp., the Wackenhut Corp., as well as two congressional committees.
- Mr. Speaker, John O'Beirne was as well known in the local community and the national Irish community as he was to those of us in Government. He was a founding member of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Elks Lodge 2357, a member of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick Glee Club in New York, a member of the New York American Irish Historical Society, a member of the American Ireland Fund, a member of the Knights of Columbus, a director and chairman of advertising for the Washington, DC St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee, and of course founder and chairman of the American Foundation for Irish Heritge.
[FROM THE IRISH ECHO, SEPT. 19, 1990]
- Mr. Speaker, it almost defies belief that one man was able to accomplish so much in only 72 years. John O'Beirne will be sorely missed. I call my colleagues attention to an editorial about John's life by the editors of the Irish Echo. I ask unanimous consent the editorial be reprinted in the Record at this point.
John O'Beirne, who died on Sept. 5, was a remarkable man. A distinguished 30-year career in the FBI would have been enough alone to establish that fact. But there was much more to this man.
Extremely proud of his Irish heritage he involved himself in promoting and extolling that heritage in the Washington, D.C. area and far beyond.
He had a long affiliation with the Glee Club of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, was a member of the board of the Washington St. Patrick's Parade and a member of the American Ireland Fund.
But it was with the American Foundation for Irish Heritage that he was most successful in bringing to the attention of Americans of all backgrounds the many contributions of the Irish to our country.
Assisted by his colleagues in the foundation, John O'Beirne was responsible for getting the House of Representatives to designate March 1991 as `Irish American Heritage Month.' This has never happened before and it took an enormous amount of work to accomplish.
Those who knew John O'Beirne were not surprised that he got that job done. He didn't just talk about his Irish heritage, he worked to promote it and he set an example for all of us to follow.