Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Activist complains to Mayor Bob Buckhorn about new pub's name

TAMPA

From wearing a pair of kelly green pants decorated with shamrocks to dyeing the Hillsborough River green for St. Patrick's Day, Mayor Bob Buckhorn loves celebrating his Irish roots.

But that gives Buckhorn no cover with the local leader of an Irish heritage organization when it comes to the name of the new Paddywagon Irish Pub at the corner of Cass and Tampa streets.

"Your Honour, I fail to understand why your administration granted a license to The Paddy Wagon since this uniquely American perjorative term was instigated by the Know Nothings in the 19th century to denigrate Irish-Catholics."

So begins a recent letter to the mayor from Séamus S. ÓhEarcáin of Sun City Center, where he is president of the Hillsborough County division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America.

Around South Hillsborough, ÓhEarcáin is better known as James J. Harkins IV, a community activist and founder of the SouthShore Roundtable.

Over the years, Harkins has lobbied for the development of the SouthShore Regional Library, the local branch campus of Hillsborough Community College and the south county fire station and sheriff's substation. He serves on the county's Public Library Board, where he chairs the planning committee, and a plaza at the SouthShore library is named in his honor.

Harkins, 77, also is a historian, lecturer and author who writes a blog, The Irish Mastryoshka, on the history of Irish monks in medieval Europe.

"Regrettably, such terminology has been carried forward along with denigrations of African-Americans, Hispanics, Jews, etc.," Harkins added in his June 10 letter to Buckhorn. The Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, organized in New York City in 1836, is "America's oldest civil rights organization," said Harkins, who said he would forward Buckhorn's response to his state and national boards.

Webster's New World Dictionary defines "paddy" as an Irish form of Patrick, a term to describe someone from Ireland and as a "patronizing and formerly offensive derisive term." It says "paddy wagon" is slang meaning patrol wagon.

Buckhorn said he wouldn't have gone with Paddywagon himself, but he's not offended by it.

"I say that as somebody of Irish descent who is married to a woman of Irish descent," he said. "I think at some point political correctness can be taken too far. If that had been my establishment, I would have chosen another name, but it's not my restaurant and it's not my job to pick the names" — a point the city repeated an a letter to Harkins.

"We appreciate your sensitivity to what you feel is a derogatory slur to the Irish American people," city planning and development director Thomas Snelling wrote in a July 5 letter. "Please be aware, however, that the naming rights of businesses are not within the city's regulatory purview, and we have no authorization to request a name change.

"Since this is a franchised business," Snelling added, "you may want to contact their headquarters and ask them to consider your position."

Harkins said he spotted the pub's name while driving through downtown, has not complained to them and did not realize it was a franchised business.

Paddywagon owner Jeff Barnes referred questions to the pub's corporate parent, Linksters Management Group of Sarasota, which did not respond to requests for comment.

"I'm not trying to stick my finger in somebody's eye," Harkins said. "I'm just trying to say, 'Hey, what about this?' "

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

Activist complains to Mayor Bob Buckhorn about new pub's name 07/13/13 [Last modified: Friday, July 12, 2013 4:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.