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George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin. Officer Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds even though he was handcuffed behind his back. George Floyd kept repeating, “I can’t breathe,” and finally, on the verge of death called for his mother.

George Floyd did not deserve to die, as he was only accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.

His death has pushed people to the brink. Demonstrations took place immediately across the country, and then they went worldwide.

Next, the looters got into the act, fires were set and chaos spread. Hundreds of stores were looted and burned. The criminal elements always manage to cash in.

Now the police are taking the heat, likened to fascists (social authoritarianism) militaristic. The police have issues to resolve. Excessive force is number one on the list. At the same time, we must relate to the job they have to do. Police work is dangerous work. Many police officers are killed in the line of duty. Just like everyone else, they want to go home to their families at the end of the day.

Those that are calling for defunding the police are foolhardy. What will you do when the looters and arsonists take to the streets again?

Does systemic racism exist? No doubt to some extent, and it is driven by economic opportunity. The so called disparity is predicated on the level of education. In Minneapolis, 70% of whites own homes while 27% of African-Americans own homes. We are now back to the clenched fist, the symbol of Black power.

During the riots the looters helped themselves to liquor and cigarettes - things that in the long run drastically take a toll on their health.

Peaceful demonstrations are best so that businesses are not destroyed, along with the jobs that they provide. Law and order must prevail. Police must address excessive force and at the same time we need to support the police or it all goes downhill.

Unfortunately, politics are in play and they are targeting the November election.

Civil war statues should not be vandalized. They can be moved to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. and elsewhere. We cannot rewrite our history books.

Jim Kilroy
One of our great volunteers that we had at the Irish American Heritage Center, has passed away at 92 years of age. Jim was from Newport, Co. Mayo, Ireland. He came to the US. in 1950 and settled in Chicago.

He was one of 8 children, number six in the lineup. His parents were Michael Kilroy, and Ann Leonard. Jim’s brother Joe emigrated to Chicago, his sister Maeve became a doctor, and his sister, Eithne, became an Irish Sister of Charit. She took the name of Margaret Joseph and served 50 years in Zambia, Africa.

Jim married Kathleen Lyons and had four children, Margie, Michael, Nancy, and Kate.

Jim served in the U.S. Army and was with the Airborne, stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, with the 82nd Airborne.

Jim loved handball and played Gaelic football for the McBrides. His brother Joe (RIP) continued to play football which he loved, and together with Bill McManamon (RIP),, he formed the new McBrides GAA Club.

The month of October, 1956, Chicago was treated to the formation of the new Gaelic football Club. The trick was choosing a name that would do justice to a group of spirited young men. (Local McBride’s historians have said, “it was like pulling a rabbit out of a hat!).”

At the Irish American Heritage Center, Jim Kilroy, Joe and Tom Gardner did the steel work. All were CTA Iron workers. They installed the headers for the arches in the 5th Province Room, and erected the steel for the elevator shaft, all under the guidance of Patrick McCarthy, our structural engineer. Mike Shevlin Sr. got the steel donated from U.S. Steel where he worked at the time. The beams came in 10 foot lengths, so they had to cut them down and drill holes for the bolts.

Before he went to work for the CTA, Jim was a Union Ironworker. Jim worked high steel and was elected to put the American flag on the last i-beam when they topped out the Prudential building in 1955, (pictured above). It was the first skyscraper built in Chicago since the depression of the 1930’s and the end of World War II.
Later in life, Jim married Maura Barry, pictured below.

Turns out that Jim Kilroy’s father, Michael Kilroy was a famous Major General in the Irish Republican Army.

He lived and died in a house on Carrickaneady Road. Kilroy, a blacksmith by trade, was deeply religious, very proper and had a great dislike for anybody who drank alcohol.

On one occasion in mid-winter while attending a Brigade Council meeting, the woman of the house arrived with a tray of glasses and a bottle of Poitin, to warm them up as it was snowing heavily outside. When offered the Poitin Kilroy replied: “Ma’am we don’t drink.”

In September 1920 Michael Kilroy was appointed Vice O.C. Mayo Brigade IRA. The following November a meeting of the Brigade Council was held in Kelly’s of Brockagy 4 miles N.E. of Newport at which it was decided to set up active service units. Kilroy was appointed Brigade O.C. The Active Service Units were not successful, as most members were known to the Royal Irish Constabulary (R.I.C.), so it was decided to engage in guerrilla warfare. The West Mayo Flying Column was set up with Kilroy as its leader.

After having fought in the Black and Tan War, the 1916 Rising, and the Civil War, he served as a member of Parliament in the first Irish Government, 1923.