Hibernians from Suffolk to Buffalo, led by State Presidents Victor Vogel and Jacqueline Clute, were applauded in the New York State Senate and Assembly chambers and won State Legislative Resolutions honoring “Ireland’s 1918 Freedom Mandate”. The AOH and LAOH picked April 24th,the calendar day of the 1916 Rising, to honor the historic election where Ireland stunned Britain by voting for the Easter Rising and a free Irish parliament or Dail Eireann. The ceremonies in both state houses preceded a celebration at the Albany AOH Hall, where Senator Boyle presented a framed copy of the State Senate Resolution to the State Presidents. Click to view the event photo album.
Senator Boyle opened the state Senate session with the “Irish Freedom Mandate 1918” topping the agenda. The bill, already passed in both the Senate and Assembly, recounted the history of the 1918 Freedom Mandate, then went on to commend the AOH-LAOH for making sure this key chapter in Irish history was properly remembered in New York State.
Despite a last minute schedule change and early morning session, a strong AOH-LAOH delegation attended, led by both State Presidents, National Secretary Karen Keane, State Secretary John Manning, Hibernian Digest Editor John O’Connell, State Treasurer Regina Begley, Past Presidents Jim Burke, Tim McSweeney, Chip McLean,and FFAI Chairs Dolores Desch and Martin Galvin among other state and county officers.
Senator Boyle spoke of the import of the resolution and his pride in being a member of the AOH. Senator Martin Golden, then stood to speak about his own pride in Irish heritage, his wish for the reunification of Ireland and the major part in Irish history played by the “exiled children in America.” Senator Klein then talked about the Irish desire for freedom and hardships the Irish overcame, in common with the experiences of so many American immigrants to America. (Read a copy of the Resolution).
The Senators stood and applauded the AOH and LAOH for raising this important issue. The Senate then suspended and permitted the AOH-LAOH to come forward for photographs.
Nearly 100 AOH-LAOH members packed the gallery for the Assembly session that afternoon. State VP Tom Lambert, National Directors Dan Dennehy and Liam McNabb, LAOH State officers Joann Gunderson and Cathie Doherty among many others joined as Speaker Carl Heastie welcomed the delegation. Bronx County President Bob Nolan was designated by his cousin Assemblywoman Nolan to sit alongside her as a special representative for the AOH-LAOH.
Assembly Sponsor Cusick spoke about how the legislature honored the 100th anniversary of 1916, and should not forget that in 1918, Ireland voted popular support for the freedom proclaimed in 1916 and to have a free Irish parliament. Assemblywoman Nolan followed also spoke about the resolution.
Hibernians then went to the Albany AOH Hall for a celebration co-hosted by AOH Division 5 led by Ciaran Geraghty and John Levendosky and LAOH Division 1 led by Dolores Desch and Cathy Davis.
The highlight of this event was the formal presentation of a framed copy of the State Resolution by Senator Boyle to State Presidents Victor Vogel and Jacqueline Clute. State President Vogel noted that Senator Boyle was a member of the AOH and thanked him and all the Senators and Assembly members who voted for these important Irish resolutions and all the AOH-LAOH members who lobbied for their support.
An Aide to State Comptroller DiNapoli spoke about the Comptroller’s backing on the MacBride Principles and recently the McGuinness Principles.
National Director Liam McNabb praised the united effort from around the state which had gotten the votes to pass these Resolutions.
New York State AOH Freedom For All Ireland Chair Martin Galvin noted:
“The 1916 Rising and Proclamation were the beginning of freedom for 26 of Ireland’s 32 counties. This year we mark the centenary of the 1918 all-Ireland election where by electing 73 Sinn Fein candidates out of 105 pledged to a free Irish Parliament rather than a British parliament, the Irish shocked Britain and voted popular support for the Rising and freedom. Sadly we must remember that Britain’s response was to jail many of those elected, outlaw the Irish parliament and today six counties are still denied freedom for all Ireland.“
LAOH FFAI Chair Dolores Desch then concluded by speaking about the 1918 Irish election, where women were allowed to vote and Sinn Fein campaigned on a platform of national freedom as proclaimed in 1916. She called for support for initiatives such as the McGuinness Principles to finally see that freedom for all of Ireland.
Photos and photo album courtesy of John O’Connell of oconnellphotos.com