Irish Social Club Slams the Door on Those Wanting to Help

Board of Trustees met on Wednesday night and would not let people in - including politicians, who have been trying to save the club.

The trustees of the  of Boston literally slammed the door on people who have been trying to save the longtime social club. 

On Wednesday night the trustees held a meeting at the club on Park Street, and according to several people who wanted to attend the meeting, they were not allowed in. Instead there was a group of more than 20 people standing outside of the Club as the meeting occurred behind closed doors. 

Paul Kilgariff, the lawyer for the club, did not return a phone call to West Roxbury Patch. Witnesses said that Kilgariff came out before the meeting started and said it was only open to Trustees.

Included in those not allowed in were the staff of politicians like West Roxbury District Councilor Matt O'Malley, who has been working hard to save the Club. O'Malley arrived a couple minutes after the door had slammed, but he sounded off the next day about what had happened

"It’s very disheartening. There was clearly a desire to keep this club open to find some sustainable models for it. A lot of people want to be a part of the conversation," said O'Malley. 

"I was really shocked with the reaction. I don’t know what has caused this riff. (Wednesday) night wasn’t set up to be a contentious meeting. Longtime members and potential members were there to offer their services of the two concerns of the club's dwindling membership and financial constraints. It's appalling we weren’t allowed in to foster some type of dialogue."

One person who literally had the door slammed on her was one of the Club's biggest supporters in trying to keep it alive, Kathleen Adams. Adams penned a letter for the Trustees outlining how to keep the Club going - and instead handed it to a Trustee before the door was slammed shut. The letter is attached to this article.

Said Adams, "I wasn't surprised that they didn't let us in. But I felt bad for the lifelong members who showed up and expected to be allowed in and were shut out.  All I want is a vote of the members.  The bylaws state that any expenditures over $500 require a vote of the general membership."  (The bylaws are attached to this article.)

Also disheartening was the quick glance that Adams got inside the Club, and after hearing rumors of the Club's inside possessions leaving the site, the rumors.

Added Adams, "The paintings were not hanging up, some of the furniture is gone, as well as the liquor in the bar. No one had the authority to remove these things, never mind turning in the liquor and entertainment license. Closing costs would easily cost more than $500.  The members deserve to be heard. We tried to resolve this amicably.  They have left us no option but to pursue further legal action."  

O'Malley added that fellow City Councilor John Connolly and State Rep. Ed Coppinger, D-West Roxbury, have also been working hard to save the Irish Social Club, which closed abruptly in April. 

Connolly helped find an attorney has been working pro bono, and Coppinger has helped with , which is one of the issues as to why the club closed. 

Said O'Malley, "This wasn’t met to be an adversarial meeting. We are truly trying to help the current board of the Irish Social Club so it remains open and intact." 

The councilor said he understands people are frustrated,  but that no one knew how dire the financial situation of the Club was until it seemed too late. "There was no inkling of the fact that they were so financially strapped. There is a movement to rectify that and I don’t understand why they are unwilling to engage current and new members." 

Like Adams, O'Malley said he's not going to give up on saving the club.

"We’re going to regroup. We're trying to pinpoint what happened at the meeting. We will reach out again to Kilgariff and President Andy Sheehan to let them know there are a lot of people who want to help. What is the resistance to it?"

Stephen Shepard May 27, 2011 at 04:31 PM
From an Irish Musician's standpoint, there is a wealth of cultural exchanges (for ALL AGES, within our own local community), that can only otherwise, be had at distance and/or in pubs; Céilís (traditional Dances), Seisiúns (Music Sessions), Irish Music concerts requiring a smaller venue (which would otherwise be held as less publicized "house concerts" in private homes), class space for Irish Language, Music and Step Dance teachers, as well as the Social Dances and sports gatherings. It may be an antiquated paradigm, but in an age where most folks get their socializing from the social media on their computers, the need for real live social venues such as the Irish Social Club of Boston are at their greatest.


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