Historical Happenings for September 2020

Who Fears To Speak Of ’98

by Mike McCormack, NY State Historian

The 1700’s was a Century of Revolution.  When England’s American colonies struck for independence in 1775 during an age of the Divine Right of Kings, it was an unheard of act.  Yet it not only succeeded, it inspired France to revolt in 1789 and 1792 and they too succeeded.  Another attempt inspired by America took place in 1798 as the Irish rose to break the shackles of Empire.   Yet, that one’s not in our history books because it failed, though it was equally justified.  It didn’t even earn the term revolution; if mentioned at all, it is called a rebellion.  Revolution is defined as the forcible overthrow of a social order in favor of a new system while rebellion is defined as an act of defying the authority of an established government.  After King William defeated King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, a century of oppression drove the Irish into a depressed rage.  By that time, the religious prejudice, long a factor in English-Irish relations, had changed.  William offered a fair treaty in 1691 to end the fighting, but it was broken by England’s Irish administrators to insure power to their own class by the subjugation of all others. The basis of that power was a privileged position accorded to Church of Ireland members.  All others were subjected to Penal Laws that restricted their economic existence, including Presbyterians and other dissenting Protestant sects, though not as severely as Catholics.  Then came Theobold Wolfe Tone.

A Protestant graduate of Trinity College, he returned to Ireland after two years as a Lawyer in London and, influenced by Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man, he developed a philosophy of national independence based on religious suffrage.  In September 1791, he wrote his greatest pamphlet: An Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland.  Aimed at non-Church of Ireland Protestants, it urged support of Catholic emancipation and was praised by Catholic and Dissenter alike.  He was invited to Belfast and helped organize the Society of United Irishmen. They called for a union of all Irish to peacefully block English influence by parliamentary reform. They even chose a color to symbolize their new Union; it was a blend of St. Patrick’s Blue for the Catholic tradition with Orange for the Protestant tradition. The blended green became identified with Irish nationalism ever since.  Tone then formed a second branch of the United Irishmen in Dublin with patriot Napper Tandy. 

Meanwhile, exaggerated reports of their activities were coming in from informers seeking favor with the Brits.  However, there was no evidence on which to arrest anyone.  Then in 1795, a representative of France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs called on Tone to determine the chances of success for a French invasion.  France had been fighting England ever since they supported the Americans in their Revolution.  France’s representative was arrested as a spy and Tone was exiled to America.  That turned Tone from a parliamentary reformer to a military advocate.  In America, he contacted the French Minister in Philadelphia to determine if the French were serious in aiding a full scale rising of the United Irishmen.  He went to France and secured that aid and in December 1796, a French invasion force sailed for Ireland.  On board, in the uniform of a French Adjutant General, was Theobald Wolfe Tone.

On December 21, a French fleet with 12,000 troops arrived at Bantry Bay, but the ship carrying the invasion commanders had separated from the fleet.  The landing was delayed until their arrival, but as they waited, a full scale hurricane scattered the French fleet.  One by one the ships returned to France.  It was later revealed by a British Admiralty official, that the captain of the commanders’ ship had accepted a bribe to take the Commanders on an alternate route.  Tone returned to France to plead for another expedition.  Meanwhile in Ireland, the United Irishmen were defined as disloyal and had become targets of a new group formed among Church of Ireland men who felt that not enough was being done to exterminate ‘Catholic troublemakers’.  They called themselves the Orange Order; they raided homes d businesses, murdered Catholic tenants and burned their homes to the ground.

Society headquarters shifted to Dublin where men like Lawyer Thomas A. Emmet, Doctor William McNevin and Lord Edward Fitzgerald were involved.  Fitzgerald had served in a British regiment in the American colonies and felt that the guerrilla tactics of the colonists should be used.  Under his influence, the Society grew from a reform movement to an underground army. The leaders argued to wait for French aid, but Lord Edward urged a general rising across the country.  An informer gave the names of the leaders and location of their meeting to Dublin Police who arrested them all except Fitzgerald.  On March 30, the Brits put the country under Martial Law and there followed brutal methods of interrogation – a wooden triangle to hold a man for flogging with a cat o’ nine tails; a portable traveling gallows to half-hang a man and pitch-capping by massaging a mixture of tar and gunpowder into the hair and setting it alight with agonizing effect.  Fear of pitch-capping caused many to crop their hair short even though they ran the risk of being identified as United Irish supporters; they earned the name Croppys.  The song The Croppy Boy may now have more meaning for you.

On May 23, 1798, individual groups of United Irishmen rose in several counties but  were put down by soldiers billeted there.  With no central command to the rising, government successes soon led frenzied Orangemen to engage in ‘croppy hunts’ causing entire villages to flee before them.  The once well-planned reform movement had degenerated into clashes between leaderless mobs and the Brits easily won control.  General Cornwallis, recently defeated by an American army made up primarily of Irish emigrants, was given a chance to redeem himself by a furious King George III.  In June he sailed for Dublin.  Meanwhile, the Brits drove the largest group of rebels in Wexford back to a final stand on a hill near Enniscorthy.  That hill, once covered with wild berrys, had the old local Gaelic name of Fidh naGcaer (Fidh – the Hill; na – of; Caer – the Berrys); it was now covered with people.  Unable to pronounce the Irish, the Brits called it Vinegar Hill, which was also appropriate for what happened there was bitter wine indeed.  On June 21, 10,000 British troops, with 20 pieces of artillery, opened a bombardment on the 20,000 men, women, and children herded together on the summit.  After a day and night of assault, the Irish were massacred.  By August 20 it was over.  The rebellion lasted three months and cost more than 25,000 lives of which only 2,000 were loyalists.  But what happened to the French aid?

That answer came 2 days later on August 22 as General Humbert and a force of 1,000 French troops arrived at the wrong time and at the wrong place – Killala Bay in County Mayo on Ireland’s west coast.  Tone was following with a larger force and behind him the indomitable Napper Tandy with yet more troops.  Could the rising begin again?  The word went out: The West’s Awake!  Humbert recruited a thousand local Irish and marched on the English at Castlebar.  He routed them and marched inland.  Cornwallis consolidated the powerful British army and split his forces to surround Humbert and the Irish.  On September 8, he closed the net at Ballinamuck, County Longford.  Humbert was hopelessly outnumbered.  After a half-hour battle, he surrendered his 850 troops and 1000 Irish allies to the British army of 30,000.  The Irish were slaughtered to a man while Humbert and his forces were repatriated back to France as honorable foes, but not before British Captain Packenham disgraced Humbert on the field of battle by taking his sword and stripping his epaulets.  An angry Napoleon dismissed Humbert to a position in the French colony at New Orleans where he later retired.  However, he and Packenham would meet again 14 years later as now General Packenham led the British forces in an attack on New Orleans in the American War of 1812 and Humbert came out of retirement to fight by Andy Jackson’s side to defeat his old enemy; but that’s another story.

On October 12, Wolfe Tone and reinforcements arrived in yet another disjointed piece of the overall revolution.  They ran directly into a waiting British fleet.  Tone commanded a battery of ships guns, but after 6 hours the French fleet was destroyed, and Tone was captured.  On October 16, Napper Tandy, with yet another fleet, landed in Donegal and learned of Humbert’s surrender and Tone’s capture.  He wisely sailed back to the continent.  Wolfe Tone was taken to Dublin and sentenced to be hanged as a traitor.  He requested to be afforded the death of a soldier, to be shot, rather than hanged, but his request was denied.  He died in prison of a neck wound at the age of 35.  History records his death as a suicide but there remains some doubt.  The rank and file of the United Irish society were pursued and eliminated.  Loyalists, believing that all Catholics had all been part of a conspiracy to slaughter them, intimidated the majority of the population into a slave-mentality that crippled the spirit of resistance for a whole generation.  Ireland remained a most depressed country until Daniel O’Connell began raising the cause of Catholic emancipation once again in the 1840s and the Irish began to raise their heads.  When they did, they heard the voice of Thomas Davis and the Young Irelanders resurrecting the doctrines of Wolfe Tone who was now recognized as the Father of Irish Republicanism.  Tone’s revolution was, in fact, the very first thrust for National independence.  Previous risings were merely attempts at reconfiguring relations with the Crown.  The 1569 and 79 Desmond rebellions; the 1593-1603 Nine Years War of O’Neill, O’Donnell and Maguire; the 1640-42 Confederation War in support of Charles II; the 1690 Rising in support of the Jacobite claim to the Crown would all have left Ireland still a colony of England.  As the spirit of true independence once more began to beat in Irish hearts, a verse appeared in the April 1843 edition of the rebel newspaper, The Nation.   It read:

“Who fears to speak of ‘98?  Who blushes at the name?
When cowards mock the patriot’s fate, who hangs his head for shame?
He’s all a knave, or half a slave who slights his country thus;
But true men, like you men, come fill your glass with us.

2020 NYS AOH/LAOH President’s Testimonial Dinner


The NYS AOH/LAOH President’s Testimonial Dinner will be held at Anthony’s Banquet Hall, Route 23B, Leeds, NY on Saturday October 31, 2020.
Being honored at the dinner are:

Thomas A. Lambert
 President, New York State AOH

Marybeth Durkee
President, New York State LAOH

and


Past National AOH President Brendan Moore
2020 Burns Hayes Award Recipient

 

Download the commemorative journal contract if your county, division or individual members wish to recognize our honorees.  The deadline For submitting the contract is October 15, 2020.
 
Overnight accommodations are available at: 
 
Gavin’s Country Inn                                   Shamrock House
118 Golden Hill Road                                2388 Route 145
Cornwallville, NY 12418                            East Durham, NY 12423
518-634-2582                                            518-634-2897 or 347-241-6489 
 
 
 
 
 

2020 NYS AOH Fall State Board Meeting

I am optimistically announcing that the AOH and LAOH Fall 2020 State Board meetings will take place in East Durham, NY on October 31, 2020.  An official Call To Meeting will be sent in September.  I am advising all of our plans so as reservations may be made by anyone seeking lodging.  We have secured the same number of rooms we would have used on the cancelled Spring AOH/LAOH weekend at both Gavin’s Country Inn and the Shamrock House.  Please contact either location ASAP to arrange for rooms.  Rates will be the same as we would have had in May.  Availability is for Friday 10/30/20 and Saturday 10/31/20. 

The NYS AOH/LAOH President’s Testimonial Dinner will be held at Anthony’s Banquet Hall, Route 23B, Leeds, NY on Saturday October 31, 2020.  More details to follow.

Gavin’s Country Inn                                   Shamrock House
118 Golden Hill Road                                2388 Route 145
Cornwallville, NY 12418                            East Durham, NY 12423
518-634-2582                                            518-634-2897 or 347-241-6489 

Thank you,
Tom O’Donnell,
Secretary, NYS AOH

Bronx County AOH Irish Language Mass

The Ancient Order of Hibernians, joined by Gaelic Societies, Irish community groups and parishioners in the strongly Irish Woodlawn-McLean area will host their annual Irish language Mass on Saturday, September 12th, at 2 pm. This year’s Irish Mass, celebrated by Fr. Brendan Fitzgerald, will be available live across the country and Ireland on the St. Barnabas Parish Facebook page. Dedicated to those who kept Irish language and culture alive, the Irish Mass takes on added meaning this year for an Irish community overcoming COVID in the spirit our ancestors overcame being denied Catholic Church and Mass by British Penal Laws.

NATIONAL

 The Bronx AOH began hosting an Irish language Mass, as part of a New York State AOH initiative, proposed by past New York State President Vic Vogel. This year under AOH National President Danny O’Connell, Hibernians across the country are being encouraged to view the service on the St. Barnabas Facebook page www.facebook.com/stbarnabascatholicchurch. Irish-English translations of the liturgy were prepared, so that anyone can follow the prayers in English as they hear the Mass said in Irish – download the Mass Booklet here. A special Irish musical program will feature the Dawn Doherty School of Irish Music, and include Sean Ruane.

The AOH sponsored event flyer uses the symbol of a Mass Rock, celebrating the spirit of ancestors who overcame British Penal Laws to hear Mass said in Irish, as an example to those who are keeping Irish language and tradition alive today despite COVID.

Bronx County AOH President, and National Freedom for all Ireland Chair Martin Galvin noted:

“The Irish language is an important and indestructible part of our Irish heritage. Measures to wipe out the Irish language began even before penal laws to wipe out the Catholic religion in Ireland. Ireland’s cherished landmarks include Mass Rocks, where Gaelic speakers risked death or imprisonment simply to worship. COVID has given these Mass Rocks an added symbolism, for those prevented from attending Church by the health crisis.

” As an organization formed to promote Irish ideals, culture, history and national freedom, we can think of no more fitting way for AOH members to honor Irish heritage than an Irish Mass embodying all of these themes.”

“There has been a great response from AOH leaders nationally, Gaelic clubs, Woodlawn Irish community groups, musicians and individuals who would just like to hear the Mass said in the language of our ancestors. We are grateful to St. Barnabas and Fr. Fitzgerald for hosting the Mass and making it available nationally via the parish Facebook page.”

The Mass will be held in the St. Barnabas Main Church,409 East 241st Street near the Bronx River Parkway, Deegan Expressway or Metro-North Railroad, on Saturday September 12th at pm. It will go out live on the St. Barnabas Facebook Page. Safe seating restrictions and face masks will be required from those attending in person.

Submitted by Martin Galvin, Bronx County AOH President

Historical Happenings for August 2020

UTICA NY GIFTS A HERO TO CHICAGO

by Mike McCormack, NY State Historian


On 31 May 1885 a monument was unveiled at Calvary cemetery in Chicago to honor the memory of Colonel Jamdes A. Mulligan, the hero of Lexington, Missouri.  He was born 30 June 1830 in Utica, New York to Irish immigrant parents.  When his father died, his mother remarried and moved the family to Chicago, Illinois. James studied law there, supported local Catholic activities and joined a military company in Chicago named
The Shields Guards and reached the rank of Captain.  The Shield Guards were formed in 1854 in honor of Irish-born James Shields, a veteran of the Black Hawk War, a breveted Major General in the Mexican War and Brigadier General in the eastern theater of the Civil War; he was also the only man to serve as Senator from three states (but that’s another story).

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Mulligan raised the 23rd Illinois Infantry Regiment, known locally as the Chicago Irish Brigade, which included the Shield Guards.  The term Brigade was used by many Irish units of less than Brigade strength in memory of Ireland’s Wild Geese forced into exile to become the Irish Brigades in European armies after the faithless 1691 Treaty of Limerick.

In September 1861, Mulligan led his troops to Lexington, Missouri, as that vital river town faced attack by the Confederate army under Gen. Sterling Price.  In one of those brother vs brother moments, Price’s forces included Kelly’s Irish Brigade, a St. Louis-based Irish militia unit whose colors proclaimed ‘What Washington did for America – We will do for Ireland.’   On 13 September, Price’s army of approximately 18,000 men began an all-out assault on Mulligan’s 3,500-man command.  Mulligan and his men held their own against the overwhelming odds, even pushing Price’s force back once.  Confederate cannon fire rained down for seven days during ‘attack and defend’ battles.  However, by 2PM on the 20th, Mulligan had no choice but to surrender when no relief arrived and his men ran out of ammunition. General Price was so impressed by Mulligan’s courage and conduct during and after the battle that he offered his own horse and carriage and ordered him safely escorted back to Union lines with his Brigade’s colors: a green flag with a golden harp in the center.

His men were exchanged later and continued to distinguish themselves in battle.  In 1864, around Leetown, Virginia, during the Second Shenandoah Valley Campaign, they faced Confederate General Jubal Early. Federal troops were retreating in the face of Early’s relentless advance down the Shenandoah Valley. Hoping to buy time to concentrate Union forces and supplies, Union Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel ordered Mulligan to hold at Leestown for as long as possible to allow other Union forces to safely withdraw. Being vastly outnumbered by the Confederates again, Mulligan bought them the valuable time needed, but on 24 July, he was mortally wounded. When his men attempted to carry him from the battlefield  he ordered, “Boys, don’t lose the colors of the Irish Brigade”; as they tried to lift him he said, “Lay me down and save the flag”. They regretfully did as he ordered and Mulligan was captured by General Early’s forces, he died from his wounds two days later.

Twenty-one years later, Chicago’s Daily Inter Ocean newspaper for 31 May 1885 reported that several hundred mourners were carried by special train to Calvary Cemetery in Chicago to see the dedication of a monument to the courageous Irish-American from Utica, NY. It was erected, they reported, ‘by the people, for the preservation of whose liberties he fought and yielded up his life.’  As the train arrived, a procession formed up led by the Hibernian Rifles of the AOH followed by 40 members of his old regiment wearing black and silver badges provided by Mrs. Mulligan, delegates from the Mulligan Post of the Grand Army of the Republic and Sons of Veterans Chicago Post Number One, all behind a Brass Band playing a dirge as they marched to the monument situated just inside the Main Gate.  The monument was described as ‘richly carved of eastern granite and in design is modern gothic.  It comprises a massive base nine feet square from which arises four sides.  On one face is a fine likeness in bold relief of Colonel Mulligan, two other faces have raised laurel wreaths; on the west face is carved, ‘This monument has been erected by the State of Illinois and the citizens of Chicago, July 26, 1884.’  A 35-foot column rises from the base surmounted by a richly molded Celtic Cross.’  Just west of the monument a platform was erected for the dignitaries and Mrs. Marian Mulligan, their three daughters and other family members. The ceremony included many remembrances of Col Mulligan and ended with a song written for the occasion entitled Lay me down and save the Flag!  The newspaper article concluded with the editorial comment that, ‘His Brigade proved that the Irish were as ready to fight and die, if necessary, for their adopted country as the native-born citizens were.  Colonel Mulligan’s chief idea was to raise an Irish Division commanded by an Irish general. He said, “Give Shields a Division, make it Irish and Fontenoy will live again.” It was men like Colonel Mulligan that defeated the biased treatment of Irish immigrants in early America – and that was their greatest victory!

Thanks to Paul Winslow, Historian of AOH Father Tim Dempsey Div 1, St. Louis, MO, for some of the information in this story.

Passing of Life Member James J. Kelly

James J. Kelly
February 6, 1939 ~ July 14, 2020 (age 81)
 
We lost a great man and a true friend. Brother Jim Kelly personified the meaning of a true Hibernian!
 
Jim was born in Wicklow County Ireland in February 1939. He served in the Irish Army, then emigrated to America and served in the US Army 82nd Airborne Division. Brother Kelly joined the AOH Division 1 Monroe, NY in 1978. Brother Kelly served as Orange County AOH Division 1 President from 1996-97, District 8 Director 1992-94, AOH Orange County Board President 2001-2005, AOH County Historian 1990-2014, Founder of the Fleming Scholarship Fund and was Chairman of that committee from 2001-2013. Brother Kelly initiated the Seamus Comisky Memorial Shamrock Degree and served as Degree Coordinator from 2004-2014.
 
In 1992, Jim was the Grand Marshal for the Mid-Hudson Saint Patrick’s Parade.
 
In 2016 Brother Jim Kelly was awarded The Burns-Hayes Award. The Burns-Hayes Award, is the highest award that can be bestowed to a Hibernian in the State of New York, by the AOH.
 
As well as a highly valued member to the AOH, Brother Kelly was a bagpiper and played a huge part in the Orange County AOH Pipe and Drums for 38+ years. Brother Kelly joined “The Old Brigade” in 1978. He was a stellar teacher and was the type of leader we were all proud of. Brother Kelly also mentored bagpipers at the West Point US Military Academy from 1991-1996, earning himself the SGM Jack Harris Award. Brother Kelly quickly raised through the ranks and became Pipe Sergeant in 1982 all the way through to 1997. He then became Pipe Major from 1997 until the year 2001.

Brother Kelly was a retired Detective for the New York City Police Department & an Analyst for the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration.Here are a few words from Brother Kelly’s Lifetime Membership Application:

“Sharing my knowledge of the AOH Constitution and By-Laws with new members of our respective Division and County. Imparting the history of the Irish and the Irish American People and the contributions they made over many centuries as immigrants, their hardships, rejections and sufferings. And, of course, on a positive note, the many accomplishments they contributed to their adopted country…I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Please keep Jim Kelly, his wife Breda and his children, William and Maria and their families in your prayers.

May St. Patrick guard you
wherever you go,
and guide you in whatever you do–
and may his loving protection
be a blessing to you always.

Bill Coffey
President
Joseph Duelk Jr. AOH Division 1
Monroe, NY

Read the full obituary.

Note to those wishing to pay their respect:

Division #1 and other AOH members will participate in a Wake Service at 6:00 pm on Sunday, July 19.  The Division #1 hall will be open at 5:00 pm if anyone is interested in meeting there before heading over to Flynn Funeral Home.

On Monday, July 20th the Division and Band will lead a short procession of the hearse as it leaves from Flynn’s for the funeral.  This will be at 9:15 am.

At 10:15 the Division and band will lead an escort into St. Columba’s in Chester for an 11:00 am funeral Mass.

Burial will follow at the Orange County Veterans’ Cemetery in Goshen.

County Members, if you plan to attend, please wear your parade uniform.

Freedom For All Ireland Report – Chairman’s Report for the National Convention 2020

A chairde,

Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster recently boasted she would never see a referendum on Irish unity in her lifetime, much less a united Ireland. A British Appeals Court ruled it was solely  up to Britain, if, when, or what to consider, before allowing any Irish unity vote. The British are designing new measures to bury the truth about the legacy murders of nationalists and to deny Republicans conflict injury pensions.

The British are clearly signaling their intent to hold onto the six counties permanently and to deny justice in order to cement that hold. Ireland needs America to play a vital role to get justice and national freedom for all Ireland. AOH leadership and initiatives are crucial to getting America to fulfill that vital role.

Under the leadership of our Worthy National President and National officers, the FFAI National Committee, including Brendan Moore, Gerry McHale, Malachy McAllister, Jim McLaughlin, Sean O’Dowd, Bob Bolbach and myself were assigned to implement the following Constitutional and Presidential Directives.

Article X-Section 15

FFAI Chairman is the major information resource relative to promoting support for a 32 county Ireland. As such, he is tasked with using all opportunities and means to provide members with background on developing issues and concerns. 

His responsibility includes providing varied means for communicating the AOH membership’s position on critical issues related to the above.

The chairman shall also organize and facilitate the annual FFAI Christmas appeal.

Presidential Directives

Support and inform the membership on all Congressional, state, and local government legislative action  relating to the abolition of the Partition of Ireland, or to injustices arising from the denial of freedom for all Ireland, including where feasible  initiating  and supporting resolutions or other legislative actions.

Prepare and submit articles reflecting AOH POSITIONS on issues relevant to freedom for all Ireland or injustices arising from the denial of freedom for all Ireland for publication in Irish-American, or Irish outlets.

Following these directives since our last National Convention, FFAI initiatives included:         

1-The AOH conducted national speaking tours on the Ballymurphy Massacre with Carmel Quinn, on the denial of legacy justice with Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice, and on British complicity in collusion with Professor Mark McGovern.

2-In Congress the AOH arranged for speakers to brief the House Foreign Affairs Committee and obtained a series of Congressional Letters on Legacy issues which put British officials on notice they were under American Congressional scrutiny. We have lobbied in Washington and district offices to build a growing Congressional network that can be counted upon.  

3-In state legislatures, New York among others, held formal ceremonies celebrating  the centenaries of Ireland’s Declaration of Independence and 1918 vote for freedom (and were scheduled to commemorate the 1920 heroes of the Black and Tan War).

4-FFAI worked together with our National Immigration Committee and National Treasurer, to help FFAI Committee member Malachy McAllister in his quarter century fight against unjust deportation, as well as backing Irish political deportees and other immigration issues which are directly interconnected with the Irish conflict and denial of freedom for all Ireland. 

5-A 37 member AOH-LAOH delegation in February 2019, led by our National President and LAOH National President, attended the Ballymurphy Inquest, visited  Belfast, Derry, and Tyrone and represented AOH concerns to Irish government officials.

6- The AOH-LAOH had a record setting Christmas Appeal, approving grants for Relatives for Justice, Pat Finucane Centre, Holy Cross Ardoyne, EALU center for Tyrone Republican ex-political prisoners, New Lodge Commemoration Committee, Conway Mill Trust,  Cairde Strabane, St. Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, Duchas Oiriall-South Armagh, Bridges beyond Boxing, Belfast, Down Patriot Graves, Green Cross, Belfast National Graves, Omagh Basketball, Omagh Choir, and first time recipients Ballymurphy Families Committee, Museum of Free Derry, Tyrone National Graves and the Witness Project.

7-The monthly FFAI Bulletin is now part of the monthly email blast carried on the National and state AOH web sites. These bulletins provide monthly updates on a few key events in the north with short analysis. Our bulletins are now requested by other Irish organizations and individuals. Through these materials the AOH is influencing the agenda for these organizations.

8-Most recently, under a proposal by National Vice-President Danny O’Connell, the AOH initiated a series of video interviews with leading advocates of justice and freedom for all Ireland, beginning with Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice, Joe Austin and Brendan McFarlane of Belfast National Graves, and John Kelly and Adrian Kerr of the Bloody Sunday Trust and Museum of Free Derry. These interviews  explain and promote the work done by our Christmas Appeal grant recipients, and provide updates on important issues. These interviews also let our members hear firsthand how much AOH FFAI political work, financial contributions and publicity mean.  

NATIONAL SPEAKING TOURS  

Nothing is as inspirational as hearing firsthand from those still denied freedom in Ireland. Because of the work and interest of AOH members across the country the AOH was able to send speakers to Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Connecticut and Virginia along with New York, Philadelphia, Albany, New Jersey, and Washington DC. 

 AOH national tours made news in Irish and Irish American They gave AOH members opportunities to show leadership and build the organization locally. Other Irish organizations supported our events and  joined issues and priorities set by the AOH. These tours also gave a morale boost to victims groups in Ireland, as speakers returned and reported that America and the AOH was behind them.

These speaking tour events give a major boost to our Christmas Appeal

Proposals:

1-We are hoping to make a firm proposal for a new speaking tour in November which could provide a speaker for some of our Christmas Appeal events, follow-up on FFAI political issues post-election and motivate more areas to support our FFAI political and fundraising initiatives.

2-In the interim we will be working on the initiative of our National VP Danny O’Connell to bring updates or interviews to you via computer. We understand this is not as effective as bringing speakers here for you to meet, ask your own questions and share your concerns personally. 

3-FFAI has submitted a resolutions in anticipation of the 40th anniversary year of the 1981 Hunger Strike, to promote  national and local commemorative events about the legacy of the Hunger Strike martyrs and a resolution on British moves to cut off the truth on legacy killings. FFAI will recommend speakers relating to these issue.

CONGRESSIONAL INITIATIVES  

At the request of AOH FFAI, the House Foreign Affairs Committee hosted a special briefing by Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice and Professor Mark McGovern, only 9 days after Boris Johnson announced plans to stop prosecutions of British troopers during the 1969-98 conflict. Congressman Eliot Engel scheduled the briefing, attended by Congressmen, many Congressional aides, two observers  from the Irish Embassy and an observer from the British Northern Ireland Office. Mark Thompson  and Professor McGovern urged Congress, to take a lead along with Irish America and the Irish government in opposing a trooper amnesty which would be a political disaster and violation of the Good Friday agreement.

Among Congressmen present were Eliot Engel, Brian Higgins, Brendan Boyle, Tim Burchett, Bill Keating, Thomas Suozzi and Dan Kildee. Other Congressmen sent key aides, led by Billy Tranghese representing Congressman Richard Neal. The Irish government was represented by Deputy Head of Mission Emer Rocke and Political Counsellor Brian Cahalane.

The British pay close attention to American Congressional scrutiny. FFAI was able to organize this hearing and also a series of Congressional letters to the British Ambassador.

FFAI speakers from Ireland also help in AOH efforts to build up a network of Congressmen, who are aware of key FFAI issues and the importance of Irish issues to voters in their district. Brothers living in Congressional districts across the country, are a key part of this effort.

Proposals:

1-FFAI is calling upon AOH members across the country to contact your local Senators and Congressmen, and advise them that issues like legacy justice are important to Irish voters in their district. Try to establish contacts in local offices that we can contact about speakers from Ireland or Congressional letters etc   

STATES-CITIES HONOR HUNGER STRIKE MARTYRS LEGACY

 The AOH has been successful in getting some states, cities and municipalities to hold formal ceremonies commemorating the centenaries of Ireland’s Declaration of Independence and 1918 vote for freedom . After building credibility through ceremonies honoring the events of a century ago, next year we can try a more recent event. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike, the  death of Bobby Sands MP and nine others. The Hunger Strike and what it represented should be the theme of resolutions in states, cities and municipalities across the state and nation. 

We can again show state and local officials that the AOH wants Irish issues and history treated with the same attention that other ethnic groups get for their issues and history.

Next year is also the centenary of the six county state. It is important to remember that the British are celebrating an area carved out of Ireland against the democratic wishes of the Irish people expressed in the all-Ireland vote of 1918 and Declaration of Independence. The Hunger Strike also highlights that the six county  Orange State treated Irish patriots as criminals and tortured them as part of a British propaganda strategy..

Proposals:

1-The National FFAI Resolution submitted to the Convention about the legacy of the 1981 Hunger Strike, will be modified and circulated across the country with AOH members nationally encouraged to seek state and municipal resolutions and ceremonies across the nation.

MALACHY McALLISTER AND DEPORTEES

Malachy McAllister and other Irish political deportee cases involve FFAI and Immigration issue. I have worked on these cases jointly with Immigration Chair Dan Dennehy and National Treasurer Sean Pender.

We are all disappointed at the injustice done Malachy McAllister. He of course is a personal friend and a key member of the National FFAI Committee. We should not overlook all that Malachy accomplished.

Few individuals could have inspired the support needed to keep Malachy in America so long. Senators Menendez, Schumer, Congressmen King, Engel, Smith, Neal and Pascrell among others personally intervened. Cardinal Dolan called the President. Many law enforcement and military officials appealed for him. The Irish Embassy backed him. The AOH and other Irish organizations campaigned for him. Malachy became a leading AOH member fighting for others.

Malachy has multiple grounds which should have entitled him to  legal permanent residence under American law. He was a political prisoner decades ago, in a war now long over. He and his children were targeted for assassination. The Good Friday and Weston Park agreements were said to hold promises for ex-prisoners which were never kept. 

Malachy McAllister became a political pawn, in Britain’s game of criminalization. The British want to brand Republicans as criminals. In the north they manipulate definitions of victim to disqualify injured Republican ex-prisoners from conflict pensions. Here Britain wants an American rubberstamp on criminalization through deportations and visa denial. 

We will continue to fight for him and also fight to insure that DHS/ICE does not try to victimize others at Britain’s behest.

February 2021 Fact-Finding Tour 

In 2019, Hibernians completed a highly publicized nine day fact-finding mission led by President Jim McKay and LAOH President Carol Sheyer and including leading Hibernians from 13 states. This fact-finding tour had a tremendous impact on everyone who attended. It was also a major morale boost to groups in Ireland who count on AOH support.

Next year we have hoping conditions will allow us to sponsor a similar tour. Following our Resolution about the 1981 Hunger Strike legacy, FFAI makes the following proposal.  

Proposal

1-In February of 2021,we are proposing a tour that would include meeting the families of all of the Hunger Strikers as well as discuss the continuing legacy and political meaning of the 1981 Hunger Strike today.

CHRISTMAS APPEAL

The 2019-2020 Christmas Appeal was a record breaking success with almost $100,000 awarded to a total of nineteen  groups.

Grants were awarded based on written applications, and recommendations from the National FFAI Committee. Final determinations were made by our National officers.

Every designated donation to approved groups was honored and groups named for designated donations got additional monies because we wanted contributions to reflect your feelings.

New applications were approved for the Ballymurphy Families Committee, Bloody Sunday Trust (which oversees the Museum of Free Derry), Tyrone National Graves, and the Witness Project headed by Sean Murray.

Repeat recipients included -Relatives for Justice, Pat Finucane Centre, Holy Cross Ardoyne, EALU-(means Escape in Irish)is a center for Republican ex-political prisoners, New Lodge Commemoration Committee, Conway Mill Trust, Tyrone AOH, Cairde Strabane, St. Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, Duchas Oiriall-South Armagh, Bridges beyond Boxing, Belfast, Down Patriot Graves, Green Cross, Belfast National Graves, Omagh Basketball and Omagh Choir. 

Donations can be sent to our PO Box:

AOH-FFAI
PO BOX 904
JEFFERSON VALLEY, NY 10535

Obviously we are concerned about the impact the health crisis may have on the 2020-21 Christmas Appeal. All states should be   involved in supporting the Christmas Appeal.

Proposal

1-FFAI is proposing that every state President, personally or through an appointee, support the Christmas Appeal within their state. States and county boards are encouraged to combine donations to earn the award given for $1,000 donors.    

FFAI MONTHLY BULLETINS

In response to requests for information we established a monthly FFAI Bulletin. All issues are now part of the monthly email blast. They are now carried on the National AOH site and the New York State web site. The aim is to give you monthly updates on a few key events in the north with short analysis and explanations.

SPECIAL THANKS

Special acknowledgement and thanks to our National officers, to the members of the FFAI National Committee, Brendan Moore, Gerry McHale, Malachy McAllister, Jim McLaughlin, and Sean O’Dowd, Bob Bolbach and to every AOH member across the country who works for Freedom for all Ireland!

Slan
Martin Galvin
June 10, 2020

Historical Happenings for July 2020

BATTLE OF THE BOYNE

by Mike McCormack, NY State Historian

CAN ANYBODY TELL ME WHY, ORANGEMEN MARCH ON THE TWELFTH OF JULY?

       Battle of the Boyne, July 1, 1690

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, a religious and political upheaval known as the Protestant Reformation splintered Catholic Europe. Reformers like Luther, Calvin and her father, Henry VIII, had challenged the Papacy for religious and political redistribution of wealth and power. Elizabeth died in 1603 without an heir and the House of Stuart replaced the House of Tudor when the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, took the throne as James I. Born Catholic, he was brought up Presbyterian and as King he was the head of the Anglican Church. When he died in 1625, his son Charles I took the throne and offended his Anglican, Puritan and Presbyterian subjects by marrying Henrietta Maria, a Catholic French princess. He also failed to help Protestants enough in their Thirty Years’ War against Catholics. His marriage and religious policies made him mistrusted by those who thought his views were too Catholic. As a result, by late 1648, Oliver Cromwell’s Model Army took control of England and Charles was tried, convicted, and executed in January 1649.

The monarchy was abolished and a Commonwealth established. After Cromwell’s died in 1658, his son Richard proved to be a poor leader and the public resented the strict Puritanism of his administration. In 1660, the monarchy was restored as the son of Charles I was invited to the throne as Charles II. As head of the Anglican Church, he accepted the Test Act that no one could be elected to a position of power unless they belonged to that Church. He had Cromwell posthumously convicted of treason and his body disinterred and hanged from a gallows at Tyburn. In 1670, Charles signed a treaty with French King Louis XIV to support France’s war against the Dutch. His younger brother, James, was made Duke of York and engineered the seizure of New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664 and renamed it New York in his honor. Charles’s wife, Queen Catherine, failed to produce a male heir, and by 1677 many Protestants feared his Catholic brother, James, would soon assume the throne. To appease the public, in 1677 Charles arranged for James’ daughter, Mary, to wed the Dutch Protestant William of Orange. However, Charles got the last word and angered his subjects when he converted and became a Catholic on his deathbed. His brother then became James II of England and his Catholicism was grudgingly accepted since he was 52 years old, had no sons and as King he was head of the Anglican Church. Further, his daughters, Mary and Anne, were Protestant and Mary was heir apparent so all was well. Then James’ wife gave birth to a son!

James Francis Edward Stuart was born on 10 June 1688 and everything changed; a male heir insured a Stuart succession and a Catholic dynasty. Further, James suspended the Scottish and English Parliaments when they refused to repeal the anti-Catholic Test Act. His Anglican supporters remained loyal until he prosecuted seven Anglican bishops who opposed him publicly in June 1688. They took that as an assault on their church and it led to widespread anti-Catholic riots throughout England and Scotland destroying his political authority. Several prominent English Protestants, fearful of James’ promotion of Catholic power and a Catholic succession, invited William of Orange to lead an army to England and call a new Parliament to discuss James’ legitimacy. James was sure his forces could repel such an invasion, but when his Protestant officers deserted to the enemy, James fled to France! On 12 February 1689, Parliament declared James had abdicated and offered the crown to William and Mary Stuart and William III became the first Orange king by deposing his Father-in-Law in a bloodless coup. William and Mary became co-regents of England, Scotland and Ireland.

James saw Ireland as a way to reclaim his crown. Unlike England, Ireland was predominantly Catholic and in March 1689, James landed in Ireland with a force supplied by King Louis XIV of France. William decided to assert his power and arrived in Ireland in June 1690. Amazingly, William was supported by Pope Alexander VIII because the Papacy was part of a “Grand Alliance” opposing Louis XIV’s war in Europe and since Louis supported James, the Pope supported William!! Arriving in Ireland, William intended to march south to take Dublin, but James had established a defensive line at the river Boyne 30 miles north of Dublin. William had to cross the river which was a problem, however, he had an advantage over James: his 36,000 men outnumbered James’ 23,500. The battle took place on 1 July 1690 and William defeated the Irish who retreated south. Meanwhile, James deserted his army in the field and fled to France (by now he knew the way well). He lived out his days in exile as the last Catholic King of England. He also earned a title bestowed by the army he deserted ─ Seamus a Caca!  No year in Irish history is better known than 1690. English historians refer to the Bloodless Revolution, but there was a great deal of bloodshed in Ireland until the Treaty of Limerick ended the conflict in October 1691. The treaty offered generous terms to Catholics if those who opposed William would leave Ireland forever. When the ‘Flight of the Wild Geese’ saw the cream of Irish forces leave to be absorbed into the Irish Brigades of foreign armies, the Treaty was broken and Penal Laws invoked to reinforce Protestant domination throughout Irish life. And it all started with the Battle of the Boyne which the Orangemen celebrate to this day. However, there’s more to the story!

A papal bull issued by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 had dropped 10 days from the Julian calendar creating the Gregorian calendar followed today. Though the Orange Order has been commemorating the battle on 12 July for nearly 300 years, it actually took place on 1 July 1690 according to the calendar changed 108 years earlier. Either way, that’s not the only thing they are wrong about, is it?

SO NOW YOU SEE WHY THEY CELEBRATE, THE PROBLEM IS IT’S ON THE WRONG DATE!

AOH-LAOH 2020 Convention Goes Virtual

Dear Brother and Sister Hibernians:

Today, [June 2, 2020] we have the unfortunate responsibility to notify all members of the AOH and LAOH that the 2020 national convention will move to a virtual convention due to COVID-19. The health and safety of our membership is the reason for this change. Details of both the AOH and the LAOH virtual convention will follow as plans are finalized.

Please DO NOT contact the Rosen Centre Hotel to cancel your reservations. All reservations will be automatically canceled and you will receive a cancellation confirmation email. If by some chance you do not receive a cancellation confirmation by the end of next week, you may contact the hotel as a follow-up.

The AOH and LAOH National Boards and membership wish to thank the local convention committee and the Rosen Centre hotel staff for their great work preparing for this convention. It is our hope that we can be in Orlando in 2024 to complete what we began four years ago.

Please do not contact the Convention committee. Refunds for packages will begin to process immediately. If you do not receive information on your refund by the end of next week you may contact the convention committee directly.

The challenge presented to us today includes opportunities for continued success of both the AOH and LAOH. We anticipate participation from delegates virtually who would otherwise not be able to participate in the 2020 AOH LAOH national convention. We look forward to a successful and historic convention as we go virtual for the first time.

Thank you,

James F. McKay, AOH National President and Carol Sheyer, LAOH National President