Two Irish nationals were listed among the dead in the massive toll from the December 26 tsunami in Far East Asia. The bodies of Eilis Finnegan, 27, from Dublin and Conor Keightley, 31, from Cookstown, Co. Tyrone were retrieved from the debris following the disaster. Several more Irish nationals are still missing, feared dead.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern visited Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka to personally assess the extent of destruction. Following his visit, the government raised its emergency aid for the region to 20 million euro.
That amount has been surpassed by donations from the Irish public during intensive fundraising effort across the country. Funds collected were distributed among various aid agencies with an emphasis on Irish charities like Trócaire, Concern, GOAL and the Irish Red Cross.
Here in the U.S., Irish-Americans raised money at various events throughout the country. In New York, The Irish Rep. put on an evening to benefit Concern, with Frank and Malachy McCourt, Susan McKeown, Brían F. O’Byrne, and various others performing. The Rambling House in the Bronx, meanwhile hosted a “Head Shaving” event to raise money for GOAL. Other events to benefit the victims of the tsunami included a concert by Black 47. ♦