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Irish pols offended by Chuck Turner’s rant

Irish pols offended by Chuck Turner’s rant
By Dave Wedge  |   Thursday, December 2, 2010  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Local Politics

Photo by John Wilcox

Hub leaders past and present got their Irish up yesterday over Chuck Turner’s rant as he was bounced from the City Council, when he blamed his ouster on “the Irish” and sought to cast himself as a martyr cut from the same cloth as the legendary Mayor James Michael Curley.

“Chuck Turner is certainly no James Michael Curley,” State Rep. Marty Walsh (D-Dorchester) told the Herald. “(Turner) was convicted in a court of law for taking money. The Irish didn’t do that to him. I take serious offense that he blamed the Irish for his problems with the legal system.”

Added John “Wacko” Hurley, a South Boston activist who organizes the neighborhood’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade: “I wouldn’t expect anything less coming from him. He’s a wannabe and a never-was.”

In a fiery plea to keep his job, Turner compared himself to Curley, a former congressman and governor who was elected mayor despite a felony conviction. The Roxbury politician said the struggle of blacks is similar to the oppression the Irish endured under Yankee rule.

“The law has been used to persecute the Irish in this very city,” Turner said during a turbulent City Hall hearing that ended his 11-year run on the council. “That’s why they re-elected James Michael Curley when he was in jail. They knew the laws were controlled by the Yankees.”

The ethnically mixed council, which includes five members with Irish surnames, voted 11-to-1 on a motion by President Michael Ross to expel Turner, marking the first time the board has booted a member.

“Those Irish men and women forgot their history,” Turner bellowed outside City Hall last night, referring to the council. “James Michael Curley is ashamed of his descendants.”

Former Mayor Raymond L. Flynn took umbrage with Turner’s tirade, saying, “I’m a very proud Irish Catholic politician, and I am very disturbed with such a comparison. It’s completely unacceptable, and I’m sad that Mr. Turner . . . would make that statement. Nobody should use his name in their own defense because Jim Curley’s record stands out more so than anybody. Councilor Turner was misguided.”

State Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty, a Charlestown Democrat, said he didn’t take “personal offense” to Turner’s harangue but felt it was out of bounds.

“What I don’t understand is how anything about it could be directed at any one racial or ethnic group. That’s completely uncalled for,” O’Flaherty said.

Turner’s ouster, which is effective tomorrow, follows his conviction last month on federal corruption charges for taking a $1,000 payoff and lying to federal agents. Turner, 69, used his final speech on the council floor to rail against the media and federal government, claiming he was targeted as part of a ploy to “take down” black elected officials.

“That conviction was rotten,” Turner said to cheers from supporters. “They had no basis for doing it.” Continuing to proclaim his innocence, he added: “I’m a man of principle. I didn’t do it.”

Councilor Charles Yancey was the lone member to vote against Turner’s removal and sought to block the vote, citing a technicality that alleged the board was violating its own rules.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/politics/view.bg?articleid=1300275

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  1. Bishop Filipe Cupertino RamosTeixeira, OFSJC

    Racism is just a cancer who will never be cured by anyone. when ever a black person manifests his or her understanding of the matter, then, it becomes an insult to european americans??? Chuck Turner you are right. Your people support you no matter what. You said the truth every time, everywhere and to ever one…