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New monument memorializes Irish immigrant experience

Posted at 1:22 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 13:22:03-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Irish culture and heritage runs deep in the Queen City, and now, a new monument bears witness to the Irish immigrant experience in the United States.

The new Irish Immigrant Monument was unveiled Monday morning outside the Buffalo Irish Center on Abbott Road.

“Most of us in the United States share a similar story of our ancestors immigrating here for a better life,” said New York State Assemblyman Pat Burke. “My grandfather, Paddy Burke, was a plasterer. He came to the U.S. from Ireland in 1950 and fought tooth and nail for our family. This monument is in honor of people like him. The road was rocky and people were not always welcoming, but this country ultimately gave Irish-Americans the chance to succeed, and our community is better because of it.”

The monument depicts two contrasting images. The first shows a family gazing at the Statue of Liberty as they arrive in the U.S. The second image shows a man pointing at a sign that reads, "Irish Need Not Apply." The two images capture the harsh reality many Irish families faced when they arrived in the U.S. in their search for a better life.

The monument was commissioned by Assemblyman Pat Burke and Councilman Chris Scanlon and was completed by local artist Bill Koch at Stone Art Memorial in Lackawanna.