Former Hill staffer Keith Carney has a plan to help foster comity within the ideologically charged Capitol: unite the children of the Emerald Isle.
Come Friday, the former Senate aide intends to do just that via the launch of a new club, Hill Irish.
“We want to bring staffers of Irish descent together to socialize and to celebrate our rich heritage in a relaxed atmosphere,” Carney said of the non-partisan, non-profit organization he’s shepherding into existence.
The kickoff party is scheduled to take place at Hamilton’s (233 Second St. NW) from 5 to 8 p.m.; the $10 admission fee nets attendees access to one drink ticket, light snacks and live music. Carney told HOH a chance meeting last year with Susan O’Neill, the daughter of the late Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, D-Mass., convinced him the time was right to make a move.
“Tip O’Neill was a man who used his Irish heritage as a tool to get things done, as did Ronald Reagan. These two, opposites in nearly every way (one a Catholic Democrat and the other a Protestant Republican), forged a friendship and a working relationship based upon their common Irish roots,” Carney said via email.
In an effort to brush aside the discriminating factors (position, party affiliation, wealth) that can stymie relationship building in #ThisTown, he’s made the membership requirements incredibly simple.
“You have to be a current or former congressional staffer and you have to have Irish lineage,” Carney said of the two-part test.
Playing it cool probably wouldn’t hurt either.
Carney et al. (he said a half-dozen supporters have already signed on to the nascent project) are hoping to reverse the partisan tide that’s swept over the legislative branch in recent years by getting folks out to Nationals’ games, local wineries and historic functions.
Team HI is also putting the finishing touches on a website featuring an activities-packed calendar, as well as exhaustive coverage of Irish culture.
“We plan to host a variety of interesting seminars and fun events in the coming months,” Carney said.
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