Noraid fund-raisers elude compliance with US laws. Massachusetts authorities try to track down Noraid
The Public Protection Bureau of the Massachusetts attorney general's office is looking for Noraid. Investigators with the attorney general's office want to know if the Irish Northern Aid Committee (Noraid) raises funds in the state, and if so, why the group has never registered as a charity.
Noraid is actively raising funds in Massachusetts, according to the group's own publications. And it has even received ``best wishes'' from several well-placed state and local politicians.
The state's file on Noraid contains four documents: a May 1983 letter asking Noraid to register; a November 1983 followup letter; a second followup in September 1984; and an October 1984 note that Noraid's telephone in South Boston had been disconnected.
The May 1983 letter reads in part: ``Please be advised that all charitable organizations, except those organized exclusively for religious purposes, must register and file annual financial reports with the Division of Public Charities. . . .''
The letter was addressed to the South Boston chapter of Noraid, at 447 West Broadway. Although no longer at that address, the group apparently is not a fly-by-night organization. A copy of a Noraid advertising supplement published in conjunction with the organization's 14th annual Boston testimonial dinner indicates that there were at least seven active Noraid fund-raising chapters in Massachusetts last year. They included units in Boston, South Boston, Charlestown, Malden, Lynn, Merrimack Valley, and Western Massachusetts.
Among those in attendance at the Feb. 14, 1984, Boston dinner was Michael Flannery, who founded Noraid in New York City in 1970.
The advertising supplement includes a full-page, paid advertisement extending ``best wishes'' to Noraid from William M. Bulger, president of the Massachusetts Senate. Similar messages were extended in paid advertisements by four members of the Boston City Council, including council president Joseph M. Tierney.