County Tyrone Ancient Order of Hibernians at a special ceremony in Dungannon, honored New York State and Suffolk County AOH, for its Thomas Clarke-Kathleen Daly Clarke Memorial in Manorville. Tyrone County President Gerry McGeough presented plaques to New York State Secretary John Manning and Freedom for all Ireland Chairman Martin Galvin, in Thomas Clarke’s home town of Dungannon, on May 29th, in an event co-hosted by the Thomas Clarke Gaelic Football Club at O’Neill Park. The New Yorkers, on behalf of State President Victor Vogel presented a signed copy of the 1918 Irish Freedom Mandate measure passed by the State legislature, which was immediately put on display in the museum room.
The ceremony was opened by Tyrone County President Gerry McGeough He noted:
“Tyrone AOH is fully aware and deeply appreciative of the work done across the United States and particularly in New York State by the AOH, most recently the 1918 Irish Freedom Mandate. We do not often get the chance to thank you directly. Tyrone is especially proud that Thomas Clarke was a Tyrone man and a Dungannon man. We learned of the beautiful memorial that New York State AOH and Suffolk County have erected at his American homesite. We wanted to give special recognition to you and are grateful to your State President Victor Vogel, and to you for coming and accepting these awards. County Tyrone AOH continues to grow, helped by groups like the Thomas Clarke Gaelic Football Club, here with us today, and the efforts of the AOH in America”.
New York State Secretary John Manning said in reply:
“On behalf of the New York State Ancient Order of Hibernians and representing our State President Vic Vogel, we are deeply grateful to County Tyrone AOH and the Thomas Clarke Gaelic Football Club for honouring us with these presentations.
“As an organization that cherishes Irish history and is deeply committed to Freedom-for-all Ireland, we take pride that in addition to being a Tyrone man and a Dungannon man, the great patriot Thomas Clarke was also an American citizen, who lived in Brooklyn and Manorville in Suffolk County New York before returning to Ireland and beginning the work of organizing and leading the Easter Rising of 1916.
“The Memorial to him at his home site in Suffolk County and the many commemorations we hold across the state and across America, reflect our continuing commitment to see Thomas Clarke’s county and all of the six counties get the national freedom and sovereignty he and the other Easter Week leaders proclaimed and pledged in 1916.
“These awards will be carried back and displayed in a special place of honor in our AOH halls and be a sign of further cooperation between us. Our State President Victor Vogel has asked me to convey a message that he hopes to visit you soon”.
Martin Galvin New York State Freedom for all Ireland Chairman then presented a copy of the New York State legislature’s measure honoring the centenary of Ireland’s 1918 Mandate for Freedom to Michael Corrigan, the Chairman of the Thomas Clarke GFC, who hosted the ceremony. He said:
“It is very special for us as New York Hibernians to receive recognition in Ireland. One of the main objectives of the AOH in America is to promote Freedom for all Ireland. This year we will mark the centenary of the all Ireland vote where the Irish people voted an overwhelming mandate for freedom, for a thirty-two county all-Ireland parliament or Dail Eireann, and for the 1916 Rising. Tragically Britain answered this democratic vote for freedom with military oppression, sectarianism and partition and the price paid here in Tyrone and across the six counties. It never again permitted one all-Ireland vote.
“New York State AOH wishes to present you with a copy of the Irish Freedom Mandate Resolution, bearing the seal of the New York State Senate and Assembly, as a token of our continuing commitment and efforts throughout the year to support your right to freedom for all of Ireland”.
Michael Corrigan Chairman of the Thomas Clarke GFC, accepted the Mandate and announced it would permanently displayed in the Museum Room of the Stadium alongside a framed handwritten letter written by Thomas Clarke while in prison along with other historic items.
Other dignitaries include, Dungannon Historian Bertie Foley, GAA official Art McCrory, Ladies AOH officers Michelle Robbins and Catherine Sewell, and Sperrins Mountains Environmental campaign activist Martin Tracey.
RELATIVES FOR JUSTICE
Following the ceremony, Martin Galvin attended a meeting hosted by Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice at its Dungannon office. Representatives of a number of victims’ families attended.
Mr. Thompson and the families briefed Mr. Galvin on the newly published legacy consultation document made public by British colonial secretary Karen Bradley. Family after family talked about the delays, stonewalling and deceit which they have suffered over decades in trying to get justice. These tactics have made these victims deeply worried over what will emerge from new legacy structures. They were also deeply encouraged by the Congressional initiative and new awakening stemming from the Mark Thompson’s emergency tour hosted by the New York State AOH earlier this year.
NYS AOH Freedom for All Ireland Chair