Monday, March 01, 2010

Common Heritage

On my mother’s side, I am descended from Eoghan Ua Niall (Irish spelling), the nephew of the guy on the left on this 2007 Irish postage stamp. Sheila O’Donnell, a private investigator who like me lives near San Francisco, is related to the guy on the right.

Sheila was the PI that put together the info that in 2002 busted the FBI for framing Judi Bari, the celebrated redwoods activist.

When I was dealing with Wise Use vigilantes in Washington state in the mid 1990s, my Public Good partner Paul called on Sheila to help us figure out the network of figures involved in threatening and assaulting environmental activists there. Sheila came up to consult Paul, but I was otherwise engaged and missed meeting her in person.

I had another near miss prior to meeting Sheila when Ani Mander, my professor at New College of California passed away in June 2002. I went to her memorial at Stinson Beach Community Hall, and at the end of the service Ani’s son said he wanted to thank Ani’s friend Sheila O’Donnell. When I asked him to point her out, he said she had just left.

When we finally met on the plane at SFO in December 2005, Sheila and I flew up to Seattle together to help groups fighting violent anti-immigrant bigots, and had a good chat about our common Irish heritage.


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