Freedom For All Ireland Report – September 2017

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A-Catholic Families Forced to Flee Belfast Homes- Four Catholic families were forced to flee their homes after being told by the constabulary they were under death threat from loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force paramilitaries. The families were driven out of the Cantrell Close area in Belfast, a new Housing Executive project aimed at cross-community housing. The IRISH NEWS noted that “if similar threats happened anywhere else in Ireland or Britain or the western world, it would likely make international headlines.” UVF flags had already been draped around this estate since June to mark the area as UVF territory.

B-English Protests over British Trooper Prosecutions- Supporters of Dennis Hutchings, a former British trooper charged with shooting dead John Pat Cunningham in Benburb, marched in London protesting prosecutions of any former British troopers for Troubles murders. The victim, then 27 with learning difficulties and a fear of troopers, was shot in the back while running away. Because of new inquests, and investigations, a few rubberstamped killings by British crown forces are now being seriously investigated for the first time. Troopers fear facing charges. During the protest, speakers expressed outrage that Hutchings  at age 75 could be prosecuted for a 1974 killing. The angry protest took place one day after the crown announced it would proceed with charges against Belfast Republican Ivor Bell,80, for a 1972 incident despite Mr. Bell’s severe medical issues.   

C- DUP Demands Funds Cutoff for Relatives For Justice- Democratic Unionist Party MP Emma Little-Pengelly demanded that the victims’ group have its funding ended because RFJ representatives had attended an anniversary Mass for three Tyrone IRA Volunteers, killed by the SAS twenty-nine years ago. She pointed to an RFJ message that it was “privileged” to be at the Mass for Brian and Gerard Mullin and Martin Harte.RFJ said it would “support all victims and survivors without fear or favor.” Little-Pengelly is the daughter of Noel Little, a member of Ulster Resistance which helped to bring in South African arms for loyalist paramilitaries.

D-Orange Order Insulted by Reconciliation Efforts– Rev Mervyn Gibson, the Grand Secretary of the Orange Order branded efforts to persuade Unionists that they would be better off in a united Ireland as “insulting.” Rev. Gibson told the IRISH NEWS, that he “finds it insulting when people even try and convince me of a unionist place in a united Ireland”. He said claims of financial betterment were a “bribe” or “attempt to buy unionists”. Gibson also said that the Conservative Party-DUP deal might mean restoring Orange Order Parades in Drumcree and other nationalist areas where they had been blocked.

NEW YORK FFAI MARK THOMPSON RFJ TOUR DATES SET

Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice will be speaking at five New York AOH FFAI events in January, arriving on January 9th,returning to Belfast January 15th.

  • Wednesday, January 10th– Suffolk County co-sponsored by Nassau
  • Thursday, January 11th– in Manhattan co-sponsored by NY City counties
  • Friday, January 12th– Rockland
  • Saturday, January 13th– Albany
  • Sunday, January 14th– Peekskill

Mark is a great speaker who has given truth, hope and a small measure of justice to many families whose loved ones were murdered by the British directly or by their loyalist agents. If we can make this tour a success he is willing to return because he understands the importance of American and AOH pressure on the British.

SPECIAL ENVOY WIN

Last month we noted that the AOH joined Congressman Crowley and other groups in demanding that a new Special Envoy be appointed for the north. The announced decision not to appoint one has been reversed with AOH support.

Hope to see some of you at the “Spirit of 1916 Awards” Bronx Fundraiser Sunday October 22nd at the Rambling House, Katonah Avenue in Woodlawn 3pm-7pm.In addition to honoring our National Secretary Jere Cole, Past NY County President Thomas Beirne, and Hugh McMorrow, we are honoring MacBride Principles champion, Pat Doherty. (914-589-7105)

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.

Slan
Martin Galvin,
NYAOH FFAI Chair

Tallon Memorial Gaelic Sports Tournament

The 9th Annual Firefighter Sean Tallon Memorial Gaelic Sports Tournament will be held on Sunday, November 5, 2017, 10:45 AM at Gaelic Park in the Bronx. The tournament is conducted under the jurisdiction and direction of The New York Gaelic Athletic Association Minor Board. The tournament will host over 30 youth teams competing in Gaelic Football and Hurling. The teams that will be participating will come from the 5 Boroughs of New York City, as well as teams from Westchester, Rockland, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It is expected that overall there will be over 250 youths participating in the tournament. There will be 3 Football Divisions and 1 Hurling Division, with a trophy/cup presented to each Division Champion. All participating players will receive an AOH Tournament Medal.

The tournament is possible due to a tremendous collective effort from various AOH County Boards and Divisions from The Greater New York City area. This year, the tournament is co-sponsored by The GAA Minor Board, The AOH Bronx County Board, The AOH New York County Board, The AOH Queens County Board, The AOH Westchester County Board, AOH Division #18 of Peekskill, and The AOH Myles Scully Division #1 of Yonkers, NY.

The Tournament is dedicated to the memory and legacy of FDNY Firefighter Sean Patrick Tallon, a native of Yonkers, NY who lost his life responding to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. For more information on Sean Tallon, you can visit his memorial webpage at: http://www.fdnytenhouse.com/911/details/sean_p_tallon.htm

NY State Fall Meeting Announced

The NY State Board Fall Meeting will take place in Pearl River on Saturday, November 4, 2017, 10:00 am at the Pearl River AOH Hibernian House, 28 Railroad Ave., Pearl River, NY 10965. 

The Holiday Inn in Orangeburg, New York has set aside rooms for this event. Reservations can be made by calling (845) 359-7000. Please mention the Ancient Order of Hibernians when making your reservations. The rate of $109.00 is available for Friday, November 3rd and Saturday, November 4th

Officers are asked to bring 75 copies of their reports.

Click here for information regarding the Rambling House Event on Friday evening, November 3rd, at Hibernian House in Pearl River.

 

Historical Happenings for October 2017

A RIVALRY THAT BECAME A FRIENDSHIP

By Mike McCormack, NY State Historian

On October 30, 1963, Cahirciveen, County Kerry saw the largest outpouring of grief since the loss their favorite son, the great Daniel O’Connell in 1847. This time it was for another one of their own – Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty. Although he was born in Kiskeam, County Cork and grew up in Killarney, Msgr. Hugh retired to Cahirciveen three years before his death and was honored as one of their own. He was also honored with many decorations, including Commander of the British Empire and the US Medal of Freedom for Hugh O’Flaherty was a very special man who was mourned throughout the world, including in a front page tribute in the New York Times.

Young Hugh had a vocation for the priesthood and as a seminarian he was posted to Rome in 1922, the year that Mussolini came to power. He earned a degree in Theology and was ordained in 1925. Continuing his studies, he earned doctorates in Divinity, Canon Law and Philosophy. He became a skilled diplomat and served the Vatican at posts in Egypt, Haiti, San Domingo and Czechoslovakia before being called back to Rome to serve the Holy Office at the Vatican.

Father O’Flaherty was an excellent golfer, having learned at the Killarney Golf Club where his father was employed. While in Rome, he played regularly with Mussolini’s son-in-law and other social luminaries. In 1934, he was elevated to Monsignor and enjoyed a high standing in the social life of Rome which he made use of  after 1937 when Italy joined Germany and Japan as part of the Axis.  The new Monsignor was from an Irish nationalist background and in his youth witnessed atrocities by Black and Tans during which a number of his friends were killed.  When WWII began in 1939, he refused to take sides believing that the Brits were as bad as the Nazis; however, that soon changed.  When the Americans invaded at Salerno on Sept 3, 1943, Italy left the Axis and an armistice was declared on Sept 8 between Italy and the Allies. When Germany learned that the Italians signed an armistice, they took over critical defensive positions in Italy and on Sept 10 they occupied Rome.

The Nazis began to crack down on prominent Jews and aristocratic anti-fascists.  Having socialized with these people before the war, the Monsignor hid them in farms, monasteries, convents and his own residence.  O’Flaherty’s views changed after he saw the violence perpetrated by the Nazis.  He visited Allied prisoners held in harsh conditions in Italian jails and began to offer shelter to Allied servicemen who turned up at the Vatican looking for sanctuary. He expanded his operations to help escaped allied prisoners-of-war and shot-down pilots.  He gradually recruited a group to assist him and set up a network of safe houses.  Allied military who evaded capture made their way to the Vatican or to the Irish Embassy to the Holy See – the only English-speaking embassy open in Rome during the war.  The great Irish singer, Delia Murphy, was the wife of the Irish Ambassador at the time and she was one of Msgr. O’Flaherty’s aids.

By the war’s end the Monsignor and his group had helped more than 6,500 allies escape the Nazis and he was referred to as ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican’.  He became a master of disguises to avoid capture from the Germans when he had to go beyond the ‘White Line’ on his rescue missions.  The line was painted on the streets outside the Vatican on the instructions of Herbert Kappler, the head of the Gestapo, to mark the point where the Vatican’s authority ended and Nazi rule began.  Kappler had learned of O’Flaherty’s operation and reminded O’Flaherty that if he was caught beyond that line he would be executed!  In March 1944, after the Italian Resistance killed 33 German soldiers in a bomb attack Hitler demanded revenge so Kappler drew up plans to kill 10 Italians for each German soldier killed.  His men killed 335 people in the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome.  It was the worst atrocity on Italian soil during the War.  This was the man who tried several times to kidnap and kill O’Flaherty; he even put a bounty of 30,000 Lire on his head.  Meanwhile, O’Flaherty continued to outwit Kappler with fake credentials and documents printed in the Vatican; through his secret communication network and by disguising himself to evade capture by the Gestapo.

At the War Crimes trial after the war, Kappler was sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole for the Ardeatine Caves massacre.  In a surprising move, Italy’s most hated prisoner wrote to his old rival inviting Msgr O’Flaherty to visit him in prison; the Kerry cleric immediately went to meet with his former foe.  Their meetings became regular affairs during which they discussed religion and literature.  The Monsignor joked, “Here I am with this man who a price on my head and now we are sort of pals.”  The feeling was mutual as Kappler described O’Flaherty as “a fatherly friend”. After his sentence Kappler, who was Protestant, called on the Monsignor and the two men prayed together after which Msgr O’Flaherty received Kappler into the Faith.  In what was probably Monsignor O’Flaherty’s greatest victory, Italy’s most notorious Nazi was welcomed into the Catholic Church by the very man he had tried so hard to kill.

Kappler remained in prison in Italy until he contracted cancer in 1975 and was transferred to a military hospital in Rome. In August 1977 his wife dramatically smuggled him out of the hospital into a waiting car and took him back to Germany where he died in 1978.  As for his courageous rival, in October 1963, (54 years ago this month) the village of Caherciveen, County Kerry saw the biggest funeral it had ever seen.  Representatives from the Vatican and officials from the British and Irish governments and friends from his days in Rome were among the mourners.  The 1983 film ‘The Scarlet and the Black’ with Gregory Peck describes his wartime activities, but the rivalry, forged in wartime, which became a friendship created in peacetime remains one of the most fascinating stories to emerge from World War II.

Special Screening “How to Defuse a Bomb”

A special screening of the internationally acclaimed film “How to Defuse a Bomb” The Project Children Story will be shown on Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 2:00pm in the Hudson Hall Auditorium at Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, N.Y.

“How to Defuse a Bomb” is the extraordinary untold story of how an NYPD bomb disposal expert played a key role in helping defuse the decades old “Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Question and answer period to follow with Project Children founder Denis Mulcahy. See the flyer below for more information and how to RSVP.

Questions about Project Children?
Email: info@projectchildren.com
Visit the Project Children Chapter webpage:
http://projectchildren.org/chap.php

Orange County AOH/LAOH Family Day

Members of the Orange County AOH and LAOH Hibernian family, along with their families and friends, came together at the Annual Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Family Day Picnic on Saturday, September 16, 2017. The event took place on the sprawling grounds of the Father Donald J. Whelan Division 2 Hall grounds in Cornwall, NY. Music and comic entertainment was provided by Kevin McElroy who played throughout the afternoon’s event.  Additional entertainment was provided by the AOH Division 1 Pipes and Drums. Under the direction of Orange County AOH President, Ed Burke, members from Divisions 1 in Monroe, Division 2 in Cornwall and Division 4 in Middletown pitched in to make the day an enjoyable event for all.

In the photo are pictured (l-r): Division 1 Vice President Neil O’Riordan, Division 4 President Kevin Dooner, 2017 NY Rose of Tralee Sinead Kirnan, NYAOH Organizer and Co-Webmaster Kevin Cummings, District 8 Director Kevin Moore, Division 2 President Bill Kirnan and (front row) Orange County Board President Ed Burke.  Additional event photos can be found here.

 

45th Annual Nassau County AOH Feis

Photo Courtesy of John O'ConnellA successful Nassau County Irish Feis and Festival was held on Sunday, September 17, 2017.  The event was sponsored by the Nassau County Ancient Order of Hibernians and promotes Irish arts, culture, history and helps “keep the traditions alive” and well throughout central Long Island. This year’s event showcased over 400 Irish dancers, nine bagpipe bands, numerous Irish musicians and traditional Irish singers, Irish language speakers and storytellers. The Feis also played host to vendors selling Irish-themed jewelry, clothing and other wares.

In the photo on the right: New York State AOH President Vic Vogel (also a bagpiper with the Roisin Dubh Irish Pipe Band) visits with A. Warren Scullin, Nassau County AOH Organizer in the NYAOH Recruitment Tent. Brother Scullin and other Nassau County AOH members provided information to men and women seeking admission to the AOH and LAOH.

Additional photos of the day’s funfilled events and competitions are available courtesy of John O’Connell and can be viewed here.

Annual Jack Burns Memorial Golf Tournament

This Event Has Been Cancelled

Schenectady AOH Division 1 is hosting the 21st Annual Jack Burns Memorial Golf Tournament on Saturday, October 7, 2017. The fundraiser will be held at Briar Creek Golf Course, 2347 Pangburn Road, Princetown, NY 12056. The cost is $75.00 per person. A delicious meal will follow at the Schenectady Hall.  See flyer for additional contact information.

Click to enlarge

 

 

Suffolk Recruitment Event A Success

Members of the Suffolk County Divisions 5 ,8 and 9 manned the tent at the Brookhaven Township Fall Fair held on the weekend of Septemeber 9th-10th at Longwood Estates. Approximately 20,000 people were expected to attend the two day event. Division members provided information on the good works of the Order and membership information and brochures to potential candidates for membership in the Order. 

Left to right Tom McKenna, Walter Butler, Frank Knappi, Don Tamargo and Pat Spero.