State Board Spring Meeting Announced

The NY State Board Spring Meeting will take place in East Durham on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at the Shamrock House beginning at 10:00 AM.

Officers are asked to bring 75 copies of their reports.

Location:
Shamrock House
Rte. 145
East Durham, NY 12423

Contact Info for Shamrock House East Durham
518-634-2897

Additional information on weekend events and on the Mass at the Our Lady of Knock Shrine to follow.

James F. Hayes Annual Golf Outing

The James F. Hayes Annual Golf Outing will take place this year at The Sunny Hill Resort and Golf Course. The date of the event is Friday May 4, 2018. This event, which benefits the Austin V, Carew Scholarship Fund, is run in conjunction with the semi-annual board meetings which are held on Saturday May 5, 2018.

The cost is $80 per golfer. There will be a 8:30 am sign-in followed by shot gun start at Sunny Hill Resort & Golf Course. Fee includes: Continental Breakfast, Green Fee, Cart, Bar-8-Q at turn and Awards Dinner. Format for this event is a four person scramble, we encourage golfers of all levels to participate.

Hole sponsors are $100 each. Your personal sign will be prominently displayed on the course and at the awards dinner. The sign is yours to take home afterwards.

If you need any additional information or any questions, feel free to email Michael Byrne, NYAOH Sports Chair  at: mikenyaohsports@gmail.com or call 516-782-4762.

Download the registration form, tee sponsorship and information packet

Veteran’s Affairs – March 2018

Veterans Affairs
John Ryan, VSO

VA HEALTH BENEFITS

Home Health Care

Home Health Care includes VA’s Skilled Home Health Care Services and Homemaker and Home Health Aid Services.

Skilled Home Health Care Services

These services are in-home services provided by specially trained personnel, including nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and social workers.  Care includes; clinical assessments, treatment planning, treatment provision, health status monitoring, patient and family education, reassessment, referral, and follow up.

Homemaker/Home Health Aide Services

These services are personal care and related support services that enable frail and disabled Veterans to live at home.

Family Caregivers Program

This program provides support and assistance to caregivers of Post 9/11 Veterans and Service Members being medically discharged.  Eligible Family Caregivers can receive a stipend, training, mental health services, travel and lodging reimbursement, and access to health insurance if they are not already under a health care plan. For more information; contact www.caregiver.va.gov, or call 1-877-222-8387.

President’s Report – March 2018

President
Vic Vogel

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all;  I hope everyone has the opportunity to celebrate our Patron Saint in a way that expresses the true ideals of the Order.  I’ll look for you on the Avenue!

I would like to congratulate and thank the New York State Chairs for their outstanding accomplishments to date. Many of their events are known to the general membership, but not nearly all of them. I would like to recognize some of the highlights:

Tom Beirne:  Catholic Action – Miles for Miracles that raised more than $15,000.

Martin Galvin:  FFAI – The Mark Thompson Speaking Tour that raised awareness of the plight of Relatives for Justice.

Kevin Cummings:  Organizer – Two new divisions organized in NYS in the past year with an assist from Tim McSweeney.

Jack O’Brien:  Pro-Life – March for Life in Washington, DC had a significant Hibernian presence due to his networking.

Mike Byrne:  Sports – Organizing the Inaugural Annual NYS AOH Irish Football Tournament at Gaelic Park coming this April.

Kevin Ellis and Kevin Cummings:  Webmasters – Continued excellence in maintaining the highly professional NYS AOH Website.

Liam McNabb:  PEC – Initiative in contacting the NYS Irish Legislators’ Society regarding NYS AOH Resolution.

Dermot Moore:  Special Projects – Hosting Rambling House, NYS Board Meeting and Mark Thompson event in Style!

Dan Dennehy:  Immigration – Involvement on numerous occasions with government officials taking up the case of the Irish.

Mike McCormack:  History – Donating many of his historical, non-fiction books to the Irish Cultural Collection at the East Islip Library.

Brian Clancy:  Buy Irish – Organizing the Celtic Connection in Suffolk County that will soon be introduced to other Counties.

Barry Heathwood:  Commodore Barry – Donating Commodore Barry material for the Irish Cultural Collection at the East Islip Library.

Tom McKenna:  Editor – Continued excellence in publishing the Empire State Hibernian.

Matt Buckley: Charities and Missions and Barry Griffith: Deputy Charities and Missions – Documenting charitable donations of all counties and divisions according to the new guidelines enumerated in the NYS AOH By-Laws.

John O’Connell: Publicity and Jeff Nisler: Deputy Publicity – Documenting events in NYS for publication in the National Digest.

John Ryan:  Veterans’ Affairs – Keeping our veterans aware of their rights.  Thank you for your service!

Jim Russell:  Scholarship – Placing all scholarship information on the NYS Website.

Pete Durkee:  Calendar – Always working toward 100% sales.

Jim Burke:  Audit Committee and Deputies Kevin O’Reilly, Ken Ferguson and Mike McNabb – Maintaining and establishing guidelines within which the NYS budget should operate.

Jack Ryan:  Liaison – Establishing Food Pantry programs in conjunction with the NYS LAOH.

I am truly blessed to have the advantage of working for this group of talented Chairmen.  Given the opportunity, there is no limit to the success they will achieve.

I look forward to seeing my Hibernians Brothers at the next State Board Meeting in East Durham on May 5, 2018.  Please be prepared to discuss Delegates to the National Convention.

Ancient Order of Hibernians Call on President to Appoint Special Envoy

With Collapse of Talks in Northern Ireland, Ancient Order of Hibernians Calls on President Trump to Fulfill Pledge to Appoint Special Envoy

With the collapse today of talks seeking to restore the devolved Northern Ireland Government, the Ancient Order of Hibernians expressed their concern over the future of U.S. brokered Good Friday Agreement and renewed their calls for appointment of a U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland

In a letter to President Trump, Secretary of State Tillerson and members of Congress, AOH Political Education Chairman Neil Cosgrove writes:

“The statement made today by DUP leader Arlene Foster that there is no prospect that continued negotiations will lead to a restoration of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government indicate that the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and the progress of the past twenty years are in dire peril.

For Ms. Foster and the DUP to raze the Northern Ireland government over the canard that an Irish Language Act is a “new demand” is unconscionable. The commitment to an Irish Language Act is stipulated in decades-old signed agreement and is another example of the DUP’s failure to act in good faith. The intransigence of the DUP to enact an Irish language act is a renunciation of their Good Friday obligation to act with “mutual respect for the identity and ethos of both communities and parity of esteem”. The DUP should no longer be enabled in their cynical attempts to reverse the roles of victim and offender by attacking those who seek nothing more than the fulfillment of their previous commitments.

The refusal of the DUP to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as he attempted to aid in negotiations is an arrogant repudiation of the Republic of Ireland as co-signer and partner in the Good Friday Agreement. That the DUP again demonstrated that they possess a veto over Prime Minister May’s Northern Ireland policy decisions highlights the absurdity that the British Government can simultaneously honor its GFA commitment to act with “rigorous impartiality” in Northern Ireland while dependent on ten DUP seats to cling to power.

The Good Friday Agreement was a landmark in U.S. Diplomacy; the devolved, power-sharing government of Northern Ireland a milestone achievement. A return to direct rule from Westminster coupled with the prospect of a Brexit “hard border” will do incalculable damage to the Good Friday Agreement and the twenty years of peace it has engendered. Good Friday was only made possible when the U.S. signaled its interest in Northern Ireland by appointing a capable Special Envoy in the person of Senator George Mitchell. It is time for the U.S. to reaffirm its commitment to a lasting peace with justice in Northern Ireland. In September 2017, President Trump committed to appointing a Special Envoy to Northern Ireland; the AOH reminds the president of his pledge and asks him to honor it before the Good Friday Agreement is irretrievably undermined”

(note this article originally appeared on the National AOH Web Site)

No Stone Unturned – A Documentary on the 1994 Loughinisland Massacre

Rockland County Pearl River Division 3 will host a showing of the award winning documentary “No Stone Unturned”  an investigative documentary on the 1994 Loughinisland Massacre. We are honored to have relatives of the victims as well as their attorney with us to present the film, answer questions, and provide commentary.

FRIDAY, MARCH 2nd 7:30 pm
HIBERNIAN HOUSE
28 RAILROAD AVENUE, PEARL RIVER, NY
FREE ADMISSION

NO STONE UNTURNED

Investigative documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney—best known for 2008’s Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and at least a dozen others—turns his sights on the 1994 Loughinisland massacre, a cold case that remains an open wound in the Irish peace process. The families of the victims—who were murdered while watching the World Cup in their local pub—were promised justice, but 20 years later they still didn’t know who killed their loved ones. Gibney uncovers a web of secrecy, lies, and corruption that so often results when the powerful insist they are acting for the greater good.

BIOGRAPHIES

Emma Rogan MLA. Life long campaigner for Loughinisland Justice Group. Emma was 8 years old when her father Adrian was murdered at the Heights Bar Loughinisland, and was 18 when the families gathered to campaign for Truth and Justice on the 10th Anniversary of the atrocity. Emma is now 30 years old and was co-opted in June 2017 as the MLA for South Down, representing Sinn Féin.

Clare Rogan. Emma’s mother and widow of Adrian. Clare has campaigned tirelessly in respect of her husbands murder, always believing that the State had covered up terrible crimes to prioritise their intelligence agenda. Clare has made presentations to Parliaments in Stormont, Dáil Éireann, Westminster, Brussels, Strasbourg and Washington DC and is a predominant narrator in the film No Stone Unturned.

Niall Murphy. Niall is a partner at KRW Law LLP, a leading human rights practice, based in Belfast. The practice is instructed by a significant number of clients engaged in legacy litigation relating to conflict related deaths and injuries, appearing for those bereaved as a result of atrocities such as Loughinisland, Loughgall, Claudy, Clonoe, Kingsmill, the Dublin-Monaghan and McGurks Bar Bombings, the Glenanne Gang series of killings, Ormeau Road Bookmakers, the 1974 Birmingham Pub Bombing amongst others. Niall is instructed on behalf of several families to act at the reopening of the ‘John Stalker / Shoot to Kill’ Inquests, relating to the murders of 6 unarmed men in 1982 by the RUC.

Niall is a Director of Belfast based NGO, Relatives for Justice and has made representations at the European Parliament in Brussels, to the EU Human Rights Commissioner in Strasbourg and also to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva as well as having presented lectures to Universities in Washington, Pittsburgh, Jersey City, Fordham University New York and Harvard, Massachusetts .

Niall is a director of Brassneck Theatre Company, a Panel Member of the Human Rights Fund, an Honorary Chair of the Belfast International Homecoming and also sits on the Antrim GAA Human Resources Board. Niall is vice chairman of St Enda’s GAC and a founder and Governor of Gaelscoil Éanna.

State and National Immigration Chair Recognizes Contributions

On Sunday, February 11, 2018, Dan Dennehy, Hibernian National Immigration Chair visited the home of the General Philip Sheridan AOH Division in Stamford, CT to join in a celebration of two Hibernians, who have made significant contributions to their community, and recently became naturalized US citizens.

Dennehy said, “This gathering shows we as Hibernians value recent additions to our community, and welcome every naturalized US Citizen.  As we work to end 52 years of inequity toward the Irish in US immigration law, we encourage similar events and recognition for all Hibernians and all Irish organizations nationwide.”

Freedom For All Ireland Report – January 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

MARK THOMPSON – RELATIVES FOR JUSTICE
AOH TOUR FOR VICTIMS’ FAMILIES

Click to view event photos

Mark Thompson ended a week long emergency American tour which generated a new Congressional initiative, five public events and formal proclamations of support by the New York State Senate, Assembly and local governments. Sponsored by the New York State Board Ancient Order of Hibernians, the tour brought together other Irish American organizations, and commitments to help Relatives for Justice and the victims they represent break the deadlock on legacy truth.

The emergency tour was an AOH response to crown moves to give British troopers and constabulary an amnesty, while denying Inquest Courts and Ombudsmen investigators needed funding. Mark Thompson  made an emergency appeal for American help, noting that the AOH and Irish-American grassroots had been a driving force behind every American initiative for Irish justice.

Before his first public meeting, Mr. Thompson held the first of several prearranged telephone briefings, beginning with Congressman Richard Neal’s office. These briefings would climax  in a meeting with Congressman Joe Crowley and a proposal for a new Congressional initiative to support legacy victims.

SUFFOLK

Mark Thompson’s first public address took place at the Suffolk County AOH Hall, in Babylon, Long Island, hosted by New York State AOH President Victor Vogel. AOH officers including Past State President Jim Burke, Suffolk County President Jerry Belmont and Nassau County President Pete Begley packed the hall, alongside relatives of legacy victims. Chris Thompson of the Suffolk County Brehon Law Society, and noted MacBride Principles campaigner Patrick Doherty, now with New York State Comptroller DiNapoli’s office, also attended. Here RFJ received the first of many legislative Proclamations of support for its work, sponsored by New York State Senator Phil Boyle.

New York Freedom-for-all-Ireland Chair, Martin Galvin noted:

“the phrase to get away with murder was literally true of British policy. British crown forces, or their paid agents who colluded and carried out murders, were shielded. Now as Relatives for Justice threatens to use British justice mechanisms to get truth for these victims, the British are starving their own courts, inquest judges and Ombudsman investigations of funding while moving towards pardons dressed up as statutes of limitations.”

MANDATED BY FAMILIES

Mark Thompson began by saying that “Relatives for Justice was mandated to represent hundreds of families in the north whose loved ones, were not alone murdered but then slandered to justify their murders”. He pointed in the audience to relatives of Maura Meehan and Dorothy Maguire, killed by British troops in Belfast in 1971,and to relatives of John Boyle, shot by British SAS troops in 1978.He detailed the circumstances of these killings and the legal cover-up which followed, to explain how the British mistreated hundreds of families .

He said, “now as families get near truth after years pushing against a wall of deceit, the British want to use amnesties and a funding cut-off to lock the door on justice. Victims’ families want(a)no amnesty pardons for British forces,(b)funding for legacy inquests and Ombudsman inquiries, and (c implementation of the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House in 2015”.

He quoted an expression that “when America sneezes Britain catches a cold and we want Irish America to sicken the British with demands for legacy justice”.

MANHATTAN  

The next night, Mr. Thompson spoke in mid-town Manhattan at an event co-hosted by Queens, Brooklyn, New York and Bronx AOH.

The crowd included, AOH national officers Jere Cole, Sean Pender  Dan Dennehy Jeff Nisler and Tom Beirne, State President Vic Vogel and Treasurer John Manning. Special thanks to Walter Cooper , Jim Sullivan, back from Florida and Parade Committee  Chairman Denis McCarthy. Hibernians were joined by Jennifer Frankola of the Brehon Law Society, and Leslie Cassidy of the Irish American Unity Conference.

Here RFJ received a State Assembly Proclamation of support sponsored by Assemblyman Dinowitz and  a Bronx Borough Proclamation presented on behalf of the Borough President by Gabriel and Patricia Megahey, friends of long time Bronx resident Liam Ryan. David Tubiolo presented a Proclamation from Westchester County. These Proclamations made special note of RFJ’s work for this American citizen, murdered in his native Tyrone.

This time Mr. Thompson pointed to Malachy McAllister, the proprietor of the Wolfe Tone Pub, who escaped an assassination attempt in Belfast, at the hands of British agents as well as the killing of Liam Ryan in Arboe County Tyrone. He explained the facts of these cases, how the British hid the truth and appealed for AOH and American help.

ROCKLAND

Mark Thompson then traveled to Rockland County for an event at the Hibernian House, arranged by Dermot Moore and co-chaired by Vincent Tyer and John McGowan.

Again Mr. Thompson met relatives and friends of victims killed by crown forces or crown agents. A cousin of Sam Marshall and friends of Rory and Gerard Cairns were in the audience. Mark Thompson started with an explanation of these killings as well as recent developments in the Loughall inquests. He used these specific cases to illustrate, the obstacles that the British have used to stonewall the families in the battle for truth.

One of the most emotional moments came when one relative asked whether the British would ever allow truth about these murders.

Mr. Thompson replied that “the families will never give up, have gained a lot of progress that once seemed impossible and it is important that RFJ and Irish America never give up supporting them”.

The event also included presentation of a Rockland County Legislature Resolution of support by Vincent Tyer, donations to RFJ and was attended by Past National President Brendan Moore.

CONGRESS

Before traveling to Albany, Mark Thompson detoured to Queens and a formal meeting with Congressman Joe Crowley. He was accompanied by AOH members Sean Pender, Bob Nolan, Dermot Moore and Martin Galvin. Here Congressman Crowley agreed to lead a formal Congressional sign-on letter to the British government.

Mr. Thompson then headed to Albany and the AOH Hall in Albany where the prestigious Fr. Murphy award was presented to Ciaran Geraghty, Past NYS FFAI Chair by past State President Tim McSweeney. The event was co-chaired by Dolores Desch and John Levandosky, with National Director Liam McNabb as Master of Ceremonies, State President Vic Vogel piping the dignitaries in  and State Vice-President Tom Lambert among a host of State and National officers in attendance.

Here Mark Thompson explained that it was the anniversary of the murder of his brother Peter Thompson. The Thompson family had been laughed at, then threatened when they tried to find out the truth. He explained that that murder, that cover-up and that injustice was the driving force which had motivated him to help form and lead Relatives for Justice, and why he felt so deeply about other families put through the same grief.

PEEKSILL

Mark Thompson’s final public event at the Quiet Man Pub, Peekskill hosted by National Director Dan Dennehy, FFAI Chair Bob Bolbach, County President Brian Duffy, District Director Aidan O’Kelly Lynch and Division President Clive Cronin. Here Mark Thompson said he was overwhelmed at by support he had received night after night, from Irish America and the AOH. He noted again how grassroots Irish-America had spearheaded every initiative to help victims of British rule that had come from America. He found everywhere he had spoken, a tremendous willingness indeed desire to help. He said he victims’ families will be encouraged by the groundswell of support he found in America.  

State President Vic Vogel then presented Mr. Thompson with a special plaque, memorializing the five tour events where Mr. Thompson spoke. The State President, who had authorized the tour attended multiple events as did National officers, Jere Cole, Sean Pender and Dan Dennehy.

ISSUES UPDATE

A- New British colonial secretary had never been in six counties

British Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Karen Bradley to succeed James Brokenshire to preside over the six counties. Bradley had never even visited the north of Ireland before her appointment. Now she will preside over talks to restore Stormont power sharing despite her lack of interest, much less knowledge of Irish issues. She named former British trooper Kris Hopkins, as a Special Policy Advisor (Spad).Hopkins had survived IRA attacks in Belfast and South Armagh. The appointment was criticized by Mark Thompson of RFJ, who said the selection was made as the “Tory/DUP alliance seeks to push an amnesty for British soldiers through Parliament.”

B- UVF Commander and British Agent Gary Haggerty gets minimum sentence for 5 murders and 202 terror crimes

Former Ulster Volunteer Force loyalist killer and British informer Gary Haggarty, received a sentence in Belfast Crown Court that will free him for a new life under the PSNI/MI5.

The original sentence of 75 years for 5 muders,23 conspiracy to murder and 4 kidnapping counts among 202 terror offenses was reduced to six and one half, allowing Haggarty to walk free to his new life almost immediately. Among the murder victims was grandfather Sean McParland, shot dead in front of his children

two Catholic workman eating lunch on the job, Eamon Fox and Gary Convie, Sean McDermott and John Harbison. Fox’s son Kieran said he was “gutted” by the sentenc. “The man is a serial killer. He was a paid State informer. The RUC knew he was killing at will and let it continue.”

C- Free Tony Taylor calls after 700 days Interned by License

Derry Republican Tony Taylor has now spent over 700 days imprisoned in Maghaberry by order of British secretaries despite repeated calls for his release or due process. Mr. Taylor,a respected Derry Republican was jailed under procedures described as Internment-by-License. He served a sentence for possession of a weapon but was then jailed based on secret information that the British refuse to release to him or his lawyer for defense.

D- Battle to Ban Irish flag from St. Patrick’s Day Parades

While Irish flags are proudly carried around the world and in most of Ireland in St. Patrick’s Day Parades, an announcement was made that the Irish flag would be banned in the strongly Republican town of Strabane on the West Tyrone-Donegal border.

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council announced that the Council wanted a “cross-community” event that would be inclusive and promote reconciliation by banning flags.

When Independent Republican Councillor Paul Gallagher protested, he was told that Irish flags have long been excluded from St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Derry, Belfast, Newry and Downpatrick.

Councillor Gallagher challenged the ban at a Council meeting and is asking why British flags can be flown in events funded by unionist dominated councils but Irish flags can be excluded.

In Strabane the ban on Irish flags may rescinded but uncertainty continues as well as the status of the ban in Derry and Newry.

Special Thanks With Apologies

Brothers I want to thank each of you who helped make the Mark Thompson tour so successful. This tour through the events and publicity in Irish-American papers has gotten a great response, not only from those who attended, or read about it, but perhaps most important from the victims’ families in Ireland who welcome our AOH backing in their fight for truth and justice. We are now working on a Congressional letter and other initiatives including ideas for additional tours.

I apologize to everyone whose name is not included.

Please contact me at mgalvinesq@aol.com

Slan,
Martin Galvin

Historical Happenings for February 2018

A PROMISE FULFILLED

By Mike McCormack, AOH NY State Historian

Stagg Grave

Republican Plot Memorial, Leigue Cemetery, Ballina, Co. Mayo

On 12 February, 1976, Ireland lost a patriot son.  His name was Frank Stagg of County Mayo.  He was from a long line of Irish patriots as his father had fought in both the War of Independence and the Civil War.  In the 1970s, Frank emigrated to London, where he worked as a bus conductor.  He joined Sinn Féin in 1972 and shortly thereafter joined the IRA.  In April 1973, he was arrested in Coventry and, under archaic Conspiracy Laws used to convict IRA members when there was a lack of hard evidence, Frank Stagg, Father Patrick Fell, and five others were convicted of conspiracy to commit arson and given 10-year sentences.  Taken to Albany Prison, Frank was frequently punished with solitary confinement for claiming political prisoner status and refusing to don the uniform or do the work assigned to criminals.

In March 1974, he was moved to Parkhurst Prison, with fellow Mayo man Michael Gaughan.  Together, they joined a hunger strike in support of the fight begun by Marion and Dolores Price in Brixton prison demanding political prisoner status and repatriation to Ireland to be near family.  All were force fed by authorities, despite the fact that such methods had been condemned by Amnesty International and the Court of Human Rights.  Eventually, the strikers were repatriated to Northern Ireland except for a few that included Stagg and Gaughan.  Both men continued to suffer forced feeding.  According to the National Hunger Strike Commemoration Committee, six to eight guards would restrain the prisoner and drag him or her by the hair to the top of the bed, where they would stretch the (back of the) prisoner’s neck over the metal rail, force a block between his or her teeth and then pass a feeding tube, which extended down the throat, through a hole in the block.  After 64 days of this torture, Michael Gaughan died on June 3 at age 24 weighing just 84 pounds.  The Brits said he died of pneumonia, but it was found that he died from infection by food lodged in a lung punctured by a feeding tube.

His coffin, draped in the same Tricolor that was used for hunger-strike Mayor Terence McSwiney’s funeral 54 years earlier, was carried in solemn procession across Ireland to Leigue Cemetery in Ballina where he was given a full military burial and laid to rest in the Republican plot.  Thousands turned out to pay their respects in Dublin and along the route to his final resting place in Mayo.

Following Gaughan’s death, negotiations began and the hunger strike was called off.  But the talks were a ruse just to halt the strike and prevent more deaths which were being highly publicized.  Instead of meeting the prisoner’s demands, the authorities moved Frank Stagg to a solitary confinement punishment cell in Wakefield Prison, where he remained under 23-hour lockdown with no furniture, radio, newspapers nor cigarettes, and was prevented from sleeping by a bright light in his cell day and night.  On 14 December 1975, a worn Frank Stagg began his final hunger strike for repatriation.  He battled starvation for 62 days before he died on 12 February 1976 – again from forced feeding.  His last request was to be buried next to my republican colleagues and comrade, Michael Gaughan. Embarrassed by the public demonstration at Gaughan’s funeral, the Fine Gael/Labour Government moved to avoid the prospect of another high-profile funeral of an IRA Volunteer.

As Stagg’s widow and friends waited at Dublin airport to receive his remains as instructed, the plane carrying Frank’s body home flew right over them.  It had been diverted to Shannon where Gardaí Special Branch seized the coffin.  It was removed by helicopter to a small cemetery near Ballina and buried far from the Republican Plot under massive state security, on Feb 21, 1976.  1,600 police and soldiers couldn’t stop the IRA from firing a volley of shots over the grave in Frank’s honor as 6 to 7 thousand people threw rocks at the police and soldiers at the funeral.  As far away as America, 3,000 people marched through New York City and over 1,000 attended a special mass in Boston for the martyred patriot.

In Ballina, the grave was filled with six feet of concrete and a 24-hour guard was posted to prevent the removal of the coffin and the fulfillment of Stagg’s last wish.   A Requiem Mass was allowed to the family, but they boycotted it in protest.  The following Sunday, the Republican Movement held its own ceremony at the republican Plot, despite a massive police presence.  A volley was fired following an oration by the late Joe Cahill who made an emotional promise to the fallen patriot.  He said: I pledge that we will assemble here again in the near future when we have taken your body from where it lies.  Let there be no mistake about it, we will take it, Frank, and we will leave it resting side by side with your great comrade, Michael Gaughan.

For six months, all was quiet and the government, finding it hard to justify the expense of a 24-hour guard on a dead IRA volunteer, removed the guard.  Then, on the night of November 6th, 1976, a group came to dig a grave in the plot next to the Stagg grave, presumably preparing for a new burial.  The plot had actually been purchased months earlier by Frank’s brother, George.  When the grave was deep enough, they tunneled horizontally, beneath the concrete covering Frank Stagg’s coffin, and quietly removed it.  Frank Stagg was re-buried as he had wished, next to Michael Gaughan in the Republican plot, where a Catholic Priest led a litany of prayers and his comrades fired a volley of shots over him.  In his honor, Seamus Robinson of Belfast, who had written the song TAKE ME HOME TO MAYO for Michael Gaughan, composed a song BRAVE FRANK STAGG. Today there are 3 graves with the Stagg name on them: The empty concreted grave with the original tombstone, an empty grave bought by his brother, and a Republican grave next to that of Michael Gaughan where Frank now rests and where Sinn Fein annually makes pilgrimages.  Joe Cahill had kept his promise.

Rockland County Emerald Ball

Each year the start of the St. Patrick’s Day season begins with the Rockland County Emerald Ball and once again, the Rockland County Men’s and Ladies’ Ancient Order of Hibernians invite you to support this special event. The Emerald Ball is a night to celebrate our Irish culture and traditions with great friends, food, music, and also serves as the primary fundraiser for the 56th Annual Rockland County AOH St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year’s ball will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at the Pearl River Hilton at 7 p.m. As always, we will honor individuals who distinguish themselves through their actions and personify our motto of “Friendship, Unity & Christian Charity.” As such, we are proud to announce that our 2018 honorees are:

Hibernian of the Year: William Young
Businessperson of the Year: Neill Acer, Defiant Brewing Company
Parade Commander: Francis T. Duffy, USMC
Grand Marshal: Emmett Woods
Aide to the NYC Grand Marshal: James Russell

There are a variety of ways that you can support this year’s event including attending the Emerald Ball, sponsoring an ad in our journal, attending the Parade Day Breakfast, or making a direct donation. The cost to attend the Emerald Ball is $125 per person and the Parade Day Breakfast is $35 per person. Details for purchasing tickets and journal ads or making a direct donations can be found on the enclosed form as well as on our website at www.rocklandcountyaoh.com.

We thank you in advance for supporting the 56th Annual Rockland County AOH St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

Sincerely,

John McGowan
Rockland County AOH President

Lillian Murphy
Rockland County LAOH President

 2018 Emerald Ball
February 24th at the Pearl River Hilton Cocktail Hour 7 p.m.–8 p.m., Dinner & Dancing 8 p.m.–12 a.m. with the Bainbridge Avenue Band

Parade Day Breakfast
March 18th, at the Pearl River Hilton, immediately following the Parade Mass

56th Annual Rockland County AOH St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 18th, 1 p.m., Middletown Road to Central Avenue in Pearl River

Pearl River Hilton
500 Veterans Memorial Drive, Pearl River, NY 10965 845.735.9000 – Special room rates available, mention Rockland Co. AOH Emerald Ball

Souvenir Journal Sponsorship Information