March 7, 2019 By Neil Cosgrove
03/06/2019– The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH)
Since her appointment, it has been manifestly evident that British Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley is woefully unqualified. The world was amazed when the Crown’s senior official in the north of Ireland had so little understanding of the community of Northern Ireland as to be “surprised” to learn that members of the Unionist community do not vote for Irish Republicans and Republicans do not vote for Unionists. However, while there is some hope for the redemption of ignorance, there can be no toleration of the repulsive comments which Ms. Bradley made today in the House of Commons and the beliefs that belie them. Ms. Bradley’s exculpation of murder when committed by servants of the state reflects a fundamental prejudice that disqualifies her to have any further administrative role in a community attempting to recover from the violent legacy of the past by restoring faith in the certainty and impartiality of justice. For Ms. Bradley to believe that being an agent of the state gives one a license to kill without investigation or consequence is repulsive. Ms. Bradley’s blanket absolution for murders committed by British security forces, that “They were people acting under orders and under instruction“, is an obscene echo of a defense the world heard in Nuremberg in 1945 and rejected. The Russian agents who attacked Sergei and Yulia Skripal with a nerve agent, drawing vociferous condemnation from the British government, were also acting “under orders and under instruction”. Britain has condemned the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, yet it was likely carried out by members of the Saudi security forces acting “under orders and under instruction” similar to those given the murderers of lawyer Pat Finucane in Belfast. Britain has demonstrated a low toleration for injustice when outside of the United Kingdom, but an even lower standard of delivering justice when it comes to Northern Ireland. Though she has tried, Ms. Bradley cannot walk back her comments; they are clear and unambiguous. It was no coincidence that Ms. Bradley throwback to 19th century imperial jingoism was given in response to questions from members of the loyalist Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The same DUP which was the only major party in Northern Ireland to not sign the Good Friday Agreement; the same DUP whose support Ms. May and her Tory party need to tenuously cling to power and push through an ill-conceived Brexit. There is no doubt that Ms. Bradley’s inflammatory comments were well calculated to please her DUP audience; it is likely Ms. Bradley was also acting “under orders and under instruction” and just as reprehensibly. In the age of Brexit, the British government’s Good Friday Agreement commitment to act with “rigorous impartiality” in Northern Ireland has been reduced to farce. We are witnessing The Good Friday Agreement, one of the great triumphs of diplomacy over violence, being sacrificed on the altar of Brexit “under orders and under instruction.” The world, and particularly the United States, must hold Britain accountable to the commitments they made over 20 years ago to enact the impartial justice expected of all civilized nations.
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HIBERNIAN FACT-FINDING MISSION CONCLUDES
Hibernians completed a highly publicized nine day fact-finding mission which included, a Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest session, receptions by Belfast and Derry Mayors, questioning Derry's Unionist Deputy Mayor and eight Councillors, briefings on collusion, legacy justice, Brexit, Pat Finucane, Bloody Sunday and the Dalraidian environmental threat, as well as meetings and presentations to community groups. The Freedom for all Ireland (FFAI) delegation led by President Jim McKay and LAOH President Carol Sheyer included leading Hibernians from 13 states. They concluded in Dublin briefing Irish Foreign Service officials and making a commitment to bring the facts back to AOH and LAOH members across the country.
The 37 member Hibernian delegation stopped at the border, where "Border Communities Against Brexit" members Damien McGinnity, Declan Fearon and John Sheridan catalogued the catastrophic threat of Brexit. Judge McKay presented a copy of Congressman
Brendan Boyle's Resolution on the issue and outlined the ongoing American efforts to support these communities.
The tour them moved to Belfast, escorted by Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice, to join the Finucane family for a vigil outside Pat Finucane's home. Here Judge McKay spoke about "the special courage of the civil rights lawyer who continued to fight for justice despite death threats until he was murdered for doing so."
The next morning the delegation, joined Ballymurphy Massacre victims' families outside Laganside Court, where Judge McKay told reporters that "Hibernians across the United States had their eyes on that courtroom and were behind these families in their long fight for justice". FFAI Chair Martin Galvin added that "if nationalists cannot get justice in a case where 11 victims included a priest and a grandmother, how could they expect justice in any case of British Army or collusion murder?"
Hibernians witnessed a court session marked more by deliberate British Ministry of Defense delays than testimony.AOH National Director Denny Parks, a court official, said "if anyone refused to comply with court orders in an American court the way
the British had, the case would be dismissed and someone jailed for contempt!" Solicitor Padraig Murray and Barrister Michael Mansfield gave an update to the delegation on the progress and deliberate delays in the proceedings.
The FFAI delegation were welcomed at a City Hall reception hosted by Mayor Deidre Hargey, where she spoke about the role of nationalists in the city. Here Judge McKay made the announcement that the prestigious AOH-LAOH MacBride Award would be presented to Fr. Gary Donegan for his work in the Ardoyne Houben Centre.
The delegates met that evening at the Felon's Club with a number of community groups who have been supported by the AOH-LAOH Christmas Appeal.
The FFAI group returned the next day to Ballymurphy where campaign leader John Teggart , Carmel Quinn and other family members pointed out locations where loved ones were murdered.
The group then toured Republican graves at historic Milltown Cemetery escourted by Joe Austin and Brendan McFarlane of National Graves.
At An Culturlann that afternoon, author Richard O'Rawe spoke about his friend Gerry Conlon of the "Guildford Four", Niall Murphy analyzed the political implications of the recent Belfast Forum, Andree Murphy and Mary McCallan of Relatives for Justice spoke about the unique problems faced by women during the conflict. Sean Murray gave a preview showing of his film UNQUIET GRAVES, along with Anne Cadwallader and Alan Brecknell.
The delegation then moved to Derry. At the George McBrearty Mural in Creggan, Kevin Hasson of the Bogside Artists explained the impact of political murals and art in the city. With members of the McBrearty family hosting, Martin Galvin spoke about George McBrearty's life as an example of what Republican commemorations and murals represent to people across the north.
At the nearby Mickey Devine Mural, former H-Block Blanketman Tony O'Hara gave an emotional personal recollection of his brother Patsy O'Hara's death on Hunger Strike, while Bobby Sands' former cellmate Thomas "Dixie Elliot" shared his personal
memories of Bobby Sands, the song "Back Home in Derry" and another Hunger Striker cellmate Thomas McElwee.
Civil Rights leader, author and journalist Eamon McCann spoke on the Civil Rights Movement and Bloody Sunday and charged that the Saville Inquiry was unsatisfactory because it did not acknowledge the systematic cover-up begun almost immediately by the British Army.
The delegation raised this issue at the Guildhall or City Hall with Derry Mayor John Boyle. The FFAI group then had a spirited session with 8 Derry Councillors , led by Unionist Party Deputy Mayor Derek Hussey presiding joined by six Sinn Fein members and an Independent Republican. Mr. Galvin began the questions by noting that last time he "accompanied an American delegation requesting a meeting with the British or Unionists he got an exclusion order in reply." The FFAI raised the question about Bloody Sunday cover-up posed by Eamon McCann, and asked the councillors what they would like to see from meeting an American FFAI delegation. The session had been scheduled to last 30 minutes but continued for 90.
The AOH-LAOH members went to the Museum of Free Derry, for a presentation on Bloody Sunday's continuing legacy by John Kelly and today's legacy and justice issues by Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Center. They saw an exhibition on the Great Hunger hosted by Gerry O'Hara before finishing out the evening at Derry AOH hall.
In Tyrone, the group, escorted by AOH County President Gerry McGeough climbed to the historic Mass Rock at the controversial Dalraidian gold mine site in the Sperrin Mountains. They visited the Republican Garden of Remembrance at Carrickmore with special mention of AOH member Ed Walsh who was killed in the 1916 Easter Rising and was affiliated with the American AOH Alliance and Hibernian Rifles.
At the Battery Bar Ardboe, the delegation saw the site where American citizen, and tour member Martin Galvin's close friend, Liam Ryan, was murdered by off duty members of the British Army's Ulster Defense Regiment in 1989, got a report about the investigation conducted into the case by Relatives for Justice and heard from Martin Mallon about the murder of his aunt Roseann Mallon with the same weapons. Francie McGuigan one of the Hooded Men spoke about what happened to him on beginning on the same day as the Ballymurphy Massacre.
The second day in Tyrone began with a tour of the historic Hill of O'Neill, stops at the Dungannon offices of the Republican ex-prisoner support group EALU and Relatives for Justice, and a discussion of legacy justice at Galbally Community Centre where relatives outlined a British strategy of "deny, delay and die."
Tyrone AOH then hosted the delegation to a night that included two pipe bands, other musicians and presentations to several delegates.
The FFAI spent its final two days in Dublin, participating in a 1916 Easter Rising Walking Tour with Lorcan Collins, and a talk on 1916 evening with author and historian Ruan O'Donnell at Pearse House. Independent TD Peadar Toibin was given an opportunity speak to delegates on his newly formed political party. The AOH-LAOH members were then hosted at Leinster House by Senator Billy Lawless before being welcomed to give a full briefing at Iveagh House to Irish Foreign Service officials in meetings organized by National Director Dan Dennehy and Treasurer Sean Pender.
AOH Freedom-for -all-Ireland Chair Martin Galvin noted:
" As many delegates said, the end of this tour is just the beginning of a greater national campaign. Members of this delegation from across the United States saw just how much American help is needed by those still denied freedom from British rule and suffer injustice. We were told again and again across the north that they count on Irish America and see the AOH-LAOH as their voice, in America.
"It is crucial now more than ever that we bring the facts we have seen back across America and do more nationally to support those still denied justice and freedom."
23 February, 2019 01:00
The AOH in America has voiced concern to develop a controversial goldmine in the Sperrin Mountains
The PSNI has set up a special team to deal with issues relating to a controversial planned goldmine in Co Tyrone after “increasing tensions” in the area.
It is understood some elected representatives in the Omagh area have been contacted by members of a recently formed Engagement Team.
In an email recently sent to a local councillor a police officer involved with the team reveals that a specific mine related email address has also been set up by police.
However, when contacted last night a spokesman for the PSNI said there was no specific Engagement Team in place.
The establishment of the team comes amid rising tensions in the Greencastle area over plans by Canadian firm Dalradian Gold to develop a mine and an associated processing plant which will use cyanide to strip gold from ore.
The firm is majority-owned by investment management firm, Orion Mine Finance, which has offices in New York, London and the Cayman Islands.
Some people living in the Greencastle area opposed to the plan on health and environmental grounds.
In the email, which has been seen by the Irish News, a member of the Engagement Team said that he and a colleague are both Omagh neighbourhood officers “but will be concentrating a large portion of our time to the community in Greencastle, Co Tyrone, following the ongoing and increasing tensions within the area.”
The email includes the mobile phone numbers of two officers involved with the new team.
They say they intend to make contact with elected representatives, local organisations and residents in the coming weeks.
Although police deny there is a specific Engagement Team in place, in a statement Superintendent Clive Beatty last night said: “Effective policing requires the co-operation of the public, which can be delivered through effective engagement with all key stakeholders and the officers within the Omagh area have and continue to engage with all interested parties.
"While the mining debate continues within the local community, from a policing perspective our objectives are clear - our aim is to protect people, prevent harm, ensure there is no breach of the peace or criminality, and facilitate peaceful protest."
Meanwhile, the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) in America has given its backing to the local people opposed to the mine plan.
Members of the organisation visited the area with Tyrone AOH president Gerry McGeough last week.
Spokesman Martin Galvin said: “We support those who are defending this beautiful part of Tyrone from the threat Dalradian poses to the health of future generations, the environment, culture, beauty and historical importance of this area.
“We have already included this issue in our discussions with Irish government officials and I will personally be giving an update to the New York State Comptroller Di Napoli's office."
A spokesman for the mining firm said: “Dalradian is proposing a safe project that has been designed to meet and exceed environmental standards, and maintain the Sperrins status as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“Our employees and contractors, who are mostly from the immediate area, are committed to their environment and we have spent almost a decade gathering a comprehensive assessment of the local environment which has informed our planning application.”
February 10, 2019 By National Board
A delegation of forty AOH and LAOH members met with the group known as Border Communities Against Brexit in Newry, the city referred to as the “Gateway to the North” on the border of County Armagh and County Down. The encounter followed a discussion at Dromintee Gaelic Athletic Club, as part of the first stop on the delegation’s Freedom For All Ireland Tour of Ireland.
A panel including National President, Judge James McKay, National Freedom for All Ireland (FFAI) Martin Galvin, and Border Cross-Community leaders Damien McGenity, Declan Fearon, and John Sheridan discussed the impact Brexit will cause to All Ireland economics and the peace process. The Border Committee Against Brexit members thanked the Hibernians for their continued commitment to fighting against Brexit and for Irish peace with justice and unity. They also stated their appreciation to Irish Americans for encouraging their federal and state legislators to stand up for the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process. Charlie Casey, President of Newry AOH and a Newry legislator welcomed the group at their first stop.
The annual Freedom for All Ireland delegation which this year includes LAOH National President Carol Sheyer, AOH National Treasurer Sean Pender, LAOH National Secretary Marilyn Madigan, and AOH National Directors Dan Dennehy & Denny Parks is organized by National FFAI Martin Galvin.
February 15, 2019 By National Board
On Wednesday, February 13, 2019, AOH National Board President Judge James McKay, National Treasurer Sean Pender and National Director Dan Dennehy had an unforgettable meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the Oireachtas Éireann. The Oireachtas is the legislative body of the Republic of Ireland. It consists of the Office of the President of Ireland and its two houses: the Dáil Éireann (lower house) and Seanad Éireann (upper house). The houses of the Oireachtas sit in Leinster House in Dublin.
The opportunity to meet with the Taoiseach was arranged by Senator Billy Lawless, the first overseas Irish Senator, and a highly respected restaurateur and resident of the Chicago area. In the photo on the right are (l-r) Senator Billy Lawless, National Director Dan Dennehy, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, National President James McKay, and National Treasurer Sean Pender. The group is standing beneath a portrait of Michael Collins, famed Irish hero, revolutionary, soldier and politician.
Earlier in the day the National Board members had the opportunity to meet with Gerry Adams, former leader of Sinn Féin and presently the Teachta Dála for Louth. AOH National Treasurer Sean Pender, National President James McKay, TD Gerry Adams, and National Director Dan Dennehy were in attendance.
Photo courtesy of Sean Pender.