NYS AOH Board Scholarship Awarded to Elizabeth Encke

(l-r) Tom Beirne, NYAOH Treasurer, Lisa Encke, Elizabeth Encke, 2020 NYAOH Scholarship recipient, John Encke, Financial Secretary, Division 2 Orange County, Dermot O’Connor Moore, NYAOH Scholarship Chair and Kevin Cummings, NYAOH Assistant Webmaster and Scholarship Committee member.

On May 27, 2020, the New York State AOH Board 2020 Scholarship was presented to Elizabeth Encke, daughter of John and Lisa Encke of Highland Mills, NY.  Elizabeth’s father, John is the Financial Secretary for Division 2 in Cornwall, Orange County.  Elizabeth was presented with a check in the amount of $3000 and a certificate in recognition of her outstanding achievement.  Presenting the award and representing the NYAOH Board were Tom Beirne, NYAOH Treasurer, Dermot O’Connor Moore, NYAOH Scholarship Chair and Kevin Cummings, NYAOH Assistant Webmaster and Scholarship Committee member.

Receiving the AOH Scholarship will allow Elizabeth to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. She was recently accepted to the nursing program at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT and hopes to complete part of her studies in Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland where the university maintains an affiliate clinical site. Elizabeth is excited about the opportunity which will give her a chance to visit the area where her great-grandparents lived as well as visit with cousins still living in Ireland.

Elizabeth will soon be graduated from Immaculate Heart Academy (IHA) in Bergen County, New Jersey, where her mother Lisa is on the faculty and where Elizabeth pursued a well-rounded and rigorous academic program. While attending IHA, Elizabeth served as the service president of Campus Ministry and coordinated Midnight Runs to feed the homeless of New York City. She also served as vice president of the National Art Honor Society. Elizabeth served as Secretary of her parish youth group for three years and volunteered in various activities with the Sisters of Life, and the Franciscan Friars of Renewal. Elizabeth also spent time assisting at the warming station for individuals experiencing homelessness, a pastoral activity coordinated by the Newburgh Ministry.  She also accompanied her father and his AOH brothers as they prepared and delivered Christmas turkey dinners for families in need in the surrounding communities. Elizabeth thanked the committee and asked that they covey her sincere gratitude for the opportunity to pursue a career where the Order’s motto is practiced.

According to Dermot Moore, NYAOH Scholarship Committee Chair, “The committee received 28 applications from across the state and it was incredibly difficult to choose a winner from all the highly qualified applicants–all exceeding bright young men and women.” Moore continued, ” All those who applied should be proud of their accomplishments and we wish them the best of luck in their future studies.”  Moore added “I want to thank the NYAOH Executive Board for allowing me to lead this effort and I thank the Scholarship Committee members:  Neil Cosgrove, Kevin Cummings, Tim McSweeney, Michael Tobin and John Wolfe for their long hours during this difficult but highly successful application cycle.”  

(l-r) Tom Beirne, NYAOH Treasurer, Elizabeth Encke, 2020 NYAOH Scholarship recipient, Dermot O’Connor Moore, NYAOH Scholarship Chair and Kevin Cummings, NYAOH Assistant Webmaster and Scholarship Committee member.

AOH-LAOH 100th Anniversary 2020 Convention

The AOH – LAOH 100th Anniversary Convention will take place in Orlando, Florida on July 22-26, 2020.  New York State has two candidates standing for election to the National Board of the AOH–Liam McNabb for National Treasurer and Tim McSweeney for National Organizer. They need your vote counts so please make every effort to attend the biennial convention representing your division, or your county and the New York AOH.

The convention will be held in the beautiful Rosen Centre Hotel in the heart of Orlando nearby all the area attractions. For additional information on rooms and convention packages please visit the official convention website.

Saffron United Pipe Band Honors Medical Heroes

The Saffron United Pipe Band (SUPB) from Suffolk County’s Division 2 in Babylon had the honor of playing for the heroic doctors and nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.  The band, led by Pipe Major John Henderson, is based in Babylon and was originally formed in 1962 by a small group of bagpipe music enthusiasts from around the area and within the Babylon AOH. SUPB grew to being a competition worthy band and nearing it’s 60th anniversary, it is one of the oldest pipe bands in the Tri-State area.  View/download a video of the band’s hospital performance.

Information, photo and video provided by Jerry Belmont.

Call to Semi-Annual Spring (Virtual) Meeting

The attached Call to Virtual Meeting was sent via US Mail on April 2, 2020 by our Worthy NYS Secretary, Tom O’Donnell to all State Board Officers, County Board Presidents and Division Presidents. The virtual meeting will be held on MAY 2, 2020. Contact information will be forthcoming. We never rescheduled the State Board Meeting to June 6, 2020, only the LAOH did that. If that date holds (uncertain at best in this pandemic environment), it did not appear that the hotels would have had sufficient rooms available for both the AOH and the LAOH. If anyone has additional questions, please feel free to contact me at 716-796-7687 or at Tomlambert12@aol.com. Stay safe!  

Tom Lambert,  
President NYS AOH

To View the Attached Call to Meeting, Please CLICK HERE

Division 2 Babylon Brothers Provide Comfort Food To Hospital Workers

On Thursday April 16, 2020, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 2 Babylon Brothers sent 15 trays of Irish comfort food (shepherds pie) to Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip to the delight of the hardworking nurses, doctors and staff. The food was much appreciated by those who put themselves on the front line, day in and day out.  Pictured is President Jim Killen and Charities and Missions Chairman Tom Bennet.


Five Hibernians Receive Irish Echo’s 40 Under 40 Awards

Five of our worthy Brother Hibernians received the prestigious 40 Under 40 Award from the Irish Echo, America’s oldest Irish-American newspaper recently. At a gala dinner held on Friday, February 21, 2020 at Rosie O’Grady’s restaurant in New York City, the Irish Echo honored five of our Brother Hibernians in recognition for the tremendous contributions to the Irish-American community. View the online photo album.
The following Brother Hibernians were recipients of this award:
Brother Sean (“Seanai”) Kiely, of Hoboken, NJ. Brother Kiely is a member of New York County Thomas Cardinal O’Fiaich Division 7. Born in Waterford, Ireland, Brother Kiely moved to the United States in 2017 to take up a position with the law firm of Raoul Felder and Partners. Brother Kiely holds a degree from Trinity College in Law and German. He was called to the Honourable Society of Kings Inns, Dublin, where he trained as a Barrister-at-Law, being called to the Bar of Ireland in July 2016 by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ireland.is a member of the New York Bar as a practicing attorney. An avid hurler, he currently plays for the Hoboken Guards. His hurling team won the New York State Hurling Championship last summer in Gaelic Park against Tipperary New York. He is passionate about all Irish sport. Brother Kiely served as Fianna Fail’s Waterford Representative on the National Executive of the Party from 2013-2017. 
Brother Andrew Sharp of New Orleans and New York, NY. Brother Sharp is a member of Suffolk County Saint Patrick’s Division 2. A native of Bayonne, New Jersey, Brother Sharp has had a lifetime immersed in Irish music and culture since early childhood. He began playing the Uileann pipes professionally at the age of 15, performing with such legends as New York City’s own Black 47 and toured with iconic Irish music legends Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfetones. He is a dedicated teacher of the various types of bagpipes, and is a pipes instructor with the Saffron United Pipe Band in Babylon, New York. The band was just awarded “Champion Supreme” in the eastern United States and will travel to Glasgow, Scotland to compete at the World Pipe Band Championship. Besides being an Irish musician, Brother Sharp is a political campaign consultant. Brother Sharp is married to his lovely wife Alexandra, and they are expecting their first child.
Brother Sean McCann of Putnam Valley, NY. Brother McCann is a member of Westchester County Peekskill Division 18. He was the recipient of the Building America Award.  Along with his father, Frank McCann, he is active in supporting the Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural center in East Durham, NY. Brother McCann is a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 30, and graduated from the union’s three-year apprenticeship program in 2014. He obtained a New York State diploma in Stationary Engineering in 2014 and a Refrigeration Operators license from the FDNY. He currently serves as a High-Pressure Plant Tender for the City College of New York and is the shop steward assisting the Vice President of Local 983 representing High-Pressure Plant Tenders at multiple CUNY locations.He loves Irish music and attends different Irish festivals throughout the year. Brother McCann is married to his lovely wife Jackie.
Brother Tim Weklar of Averill Park, NY. Brother Weklar is a member of Albany County Father Henry Tansey Division 5. Brother Weklar graduated the University of Albany in 2002 with a BA, majoring in history and minoring in political science. He would then earn a Master’s degree from the College of Saint Rose in Adolescent Education. He currently teaches at City School District of Albany as a special education teacher at the Tony Clement Center for Education. Brother Weklar has served as an officer of his Division since 2009, and is the Worthy President. He also serves on Schenectady Major Degree Team and is the Past County President. Brother Weklar is married to his lovely wife Amanda. They have two children, Simon (6) and Theodore (1).
Brother Tomas McLaughlin of Baltimore, MD. Brother McLaughlin is an active member of the Order in Baltimore. He is the Director of the AFL-CIO Community Services of Central Maryland. He has been helping organize, train, and support workers in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Maryland his entire post-college career.  He focused his undergraduate studies thesis on the Irish Hunger Strikes. Although born in Brooklyn, NY, Brother McLaughlin was baptized in Belfast, County Antrim by the great champion of West Belfast, Father Des Wilson. Brother McLaughlin spent his first 18 summers living and working on a farm outside Ardara, County Donegal. He is the youngest member of the Fenian Memorial Committee of America’s Board of Directors, and actively supports Irish festivals and parades.
Our Brothers’ awards were presented by the AOH New York State Board Worthy Vice President John J. Manning.
Kudos to all five of our Worthy Brother Hibernians on being the recipients of this year’s Irish Echo’s 40 Under 40, bringing honor to the good name and reputation of our Ancient Order, aiding and advancing our Irish-American community and honoring our Irish heritage and Roman Catholic faith.
There is an old saying in the Irish-American community. “To be Irish is a blessing. To be a Hibernian is an honor.” These five Brothers bring both honor and blessings to our Order by their good works and serving our Irish-American community and in our Order’s ranks as worthy and esteemed Brother Hibernians.
Respectfully submitted for your review and consideration.
Fraternally yours in Our Motto,
Brother Denis P. McGowan
Vice President
Richmond County Board

Albany Hibernians Hold Annual Communion Breakfast

On March 1st, Albany Hibernians held their annual Communion Breakfast. AOH Albany County Chaplin, Deacon Jim O’Rourke was the guest speaker and spoke about his experience as a seminarian. Deacon Jim is currently a seminarian at Pope Saint John XXIII National Seminary outside of Boston and will be ordained into the priesthood in 2020. 
Pictured are Rear: Albany Div. 5 President Tim Weklar, Albany County Chaplin Deacon Jim O’Rourke and National Organizer Tim McSweeney. Front: National Director Liam McNabb, National Vice President Karen Keane, National Catholic Action Cathy Turck, Albany Div. 1 Kathleen Stevens and Albany Div. 1 Missions and Charities Shelia Mehling. 

Celebrating 100th Anniversary Schenectady Major Degree Team Confers Degree

The John F. Kennedy Division 1 Schenectady Major Degree Team (MDT) conferred the Major Degree of the Order on Saturday, February 29, 2020 in the Fr. Henry Tansey, Division 5 Hall in Albany.  In attendance were more than forty-five Brother Hibernians participating as degree team members, candidates and observers. Eleven Brothers from surrounding counties were inducted into the highest degree of the Order.

100 Years of Service to the Order

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy Division 1 Schenectady MDT.  On hand for this milestone occasion was Jack Schneider of Pennsylvania who is the National Chair for Rituals and Degrees who delivered greetings and congratulations on behalf of the National Board. The meeting and degree ceremony was opened by Kevin O’Reilly, District 1 Director who acted as presiding officer for the event. Also on hand was Tom O’Hagan, Past President of Montgomery County, PA who was representing Isle of Erin MDT, Kevin R. Cummings, NY AOH Co-Webmaster, Tim Carey, Immediate Past President of Albany Division 5 and Tim Weklar, President of Albany Division 5 who participated as a member of the John F. Kennedy Division 1 Schenectady MDT.  The degree team is led by Jim Gavin, Chairman and Owen Cole, Vice Chairman. Brothers from Division 5 and Schenectady Division 1 were well represented as observers at the event.

Freedom For All Ireland Report – February 2020


A chairde:

A-Stormont returns but bad faith on British financial pledges charged – Two days before the deadline threatening a new election, agreement was reached to restore the Stormont Assembly, after a three year absence. DUP head Arlene Foster returned as the north’s first minister, while Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill was named deputy first minister. The agreement to restore the assembly was welcomed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and accompanied by British promises of extra funding to meet the north’s economic crisis in areas like health and education. However almost immediately new Finance Minister Conor Murphy charged that the British had “stepped back from its financial commitments” and the actual financial package was “an act of bad faith”, far less than the parties had been led to believe keeping the north in an “austerity trap.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson termed it a “momentous day…after three years without devolved government, an executive can now get on with the job of delivering much needed reforms to the health service, education and justice”.”Taoiseach  Leo Varadkar commended the six county political parties “for their decision to put the people they represent first and make measured compromises to reach a deal”. In a surprising move the DUP backing Sinn Fein member Alex Maskey as speaker instead of the SDLP member in line for the position. Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill will now have to show if they can share power and deliver on the commitments in the new Stormont. The five largest parties in the north, the DUP, Sinn Fein Alliance, SDLP and UUP also got ministerial posts. With the exception of the role of justice minister, posts are picked using the D’Hondt system, according to numbers in the assembly. The Justice Ministry is different because the DUP will not allow members from the nationalist SDLP or Sinn Fein to hold this post. The key stumbling blocks were the petition of concern, which had been wielded as a veto by the DUP, and an Irish language act. The new deal requires use of the petition, be “reduced and returned to its intended purpose” and would “only be used in the most exceptional circumstances and as a last resort, having used every other mechanism”. The deal pledges legislation for both an Irish language commissioner and an Ulster-Scots commissioner. Irish language group Conradh na Gaeilge said it was a “historic advancement” but added it “falls very much short” of promises for an Irish Language act.

B-No honors for Black and Tans as planned ceremony backfires – A planned commemoration honoring the Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Metropolitan Police forces was “deferred” by the Irish justice minister after boycotts and popular outrage. The Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) were formed in the early 19th century to help keep Ireland under British rule. The prefix Royal was added to the name of Irish Constabulary because of their efforts to put down the Fenians, including many Irish Americans and American Hibernians who fought during America’s Civil War. The DMP identified the leaders of 1916 to be shot. During the Irish War of Independence (1919-21), the British government bolstered RIC ranks by recruiting thousands of ex- British soldiers, mainly from England. The RIC special reserve were nicknamed the Black and Tans because of their distinctive uniforms, while a group of former British officers were known as the Auxiliaries. They were described in ballads as “England’s foul horde”  using terror tactics against the Irish, targeting civilians and burning homes  and farms including Balbriggan and sections of Cork. Speaking about his decision to defer the event, Justice Minister Flanagan said: “There were those in the RIC who committed atrocities. The horrific record of the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries is well known. But there others officers who behaved with dignity and honour.” Dublin City councillors voted to boycott the Dublin Castle event with a motion that was passed by 38 votes to 10.The Wolfe Tone’s song “Come Out Ye Black and Tans” shot to the top of the play list. Newscasts and editorials reminded the public of the history of the force would be not just remembered but honored by a any such commemoration. The deferred commemoration is considered a  factor in the loss of popularity in opinion for Fine Gael in the upcoming Irish election.

C-Brexit comes but real problems only beginning – Hundreds of anti-Brexit campaigners held demonstrations along the Irish border as Britain left the European Union on January 31st. Protesters gathered at six locations along the border in counties Louth, Cavan, Donegal, Fermanagh, Monaghan and Donegal. Stormont Finance Minister, Conor Murphy of Sinn Fein, said: “This part of Ireland did not consent to Brexit, we voted significantly to remain within the EU and we are being taken out of the EU without consent. There is now an 11 month transition period where Britain remains in the EU’s customs union and single market and continues to obey EU rules but is no longer part of the political institutions. There are no longer any British MEPs in the European Parliament. Now Britain must negotiate a trade deal with the European Union that includes Ireland. Britain wants access for its goods and services to the EU but wants out the customs union and single market and an end the overall jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. All 27 member states and the European Parliament have to be in agreement on a trade deal. Formal talks might only begin in March and Johnson has said there will be no extensions to the transition period. If there is no trade deal  by the end of the year, then the Britain faces the prospect of tariffs on exports.

D-Wolfe Tones were targets of Miami Showband Massacre – The lead singer of the Wolfe Tones, believes they were the intended target of the loyalist attack that claimed the lives of three members of the Miami Showband. The Miami Showband were targeted after being stopped at a bogus patrol, manned by UDR and UVF members, in the early hours of July 31 1975.Lead singer Fran O’Toole, guitarist Tony Geraghty and trumpeter Brian McCoy  were murdered as they returned to Dublin after a concert in Banbridge, Co Down. All three were shot several times, after a bomb was placed under the band’s van to make it seem as though the group had been transporting explosives. Top of ForBottom of FormTwo members of the UVF gang behind the attack, Harris Boyle and Wesley Somerville, were killed when the bomb exploded prematurely. UDR members Thomas Raymond Crozier and Rodney Shane McDowell, and UVF member James Somerville, were convicted of the murders. Brian Warfield of The Wolfe Tones, said shortly before the Miami Showband attack the band were warned that their lives were at risk. Adding that they had been warned not to travel across the border in the mid-70s following an incident at a GAA club outside of Kilkeel when they had to flee the area by driving across the Mourne Mountains. Mr Warfield said: “I believe the massacre of the Miami was set up for the Wolfe Tones on that night.” “We were playing in a big marquee … I came out and the organizers

said to me ‘you can’t go home the main road’.”I said why is that and he said ‘because there is a blockade waiting for you down there’.”He said, “we’re going to take you over the mountains of Mourne”, which they did”.”The day we got back to Dublin the Special Branch said that the Wolfe Tones were not to go north again, that our lives were in danger.”I believe that the Glenanne Gang were in that front bar …getting ready to pick up the Wolfe Tones on the way home.


There is still time to contribute to Freedom for all Ireland and the Christmas Appeal. The Stormont Assembly was restored after three years, but the British government stepped back from its financial pledges putting the north in a new austerity trap. Brexit was pushed through with long term effects on Ireland that will not be fully seen for years. Legacy mechanisms promised at Stormont House in 2014, will finally be moved forward but only after the British and DUP have blocked truth and justice for families of victims murdered by the crown or loyalist agents. The British want to remove  Human Rights Acts protections formally written into the Good Friday Agreement, giving a legalized immunity for British troopers. The DUP wants to undercut investigations of crown forces by the Historical Investigations Unit.

Those still denied freedom in Ireland count on the AOH and LAOH to stand behind them. Those who participated in last February’s AOH-LAOH tour saw and heard firsthand how important our grants are.

We have already received more appeals for help than ever before from justice groups, ex-prisoners, cultural groups, etc.

Don’t let them down!!!

PO Box 904
Jefferson Valley,
New York 10535


At one time, it was commonplace at Irish events to hear speakers ask why American presidents never spoke about Irish issues like they took up the issues of other countries. That ended in 1992 because of the work done by John Dearie and the pledges given by candidate Bill Clinton, which changed the Irish political landscape so dramatically.

 The 1992 Presidential Forum was historic for Irish America because of pledges given by future President Bill Clinton about a visa for Gerry Adams, a special envoy which became George Mitchell, and the question about Joe Doherty and political asylum which led to deferred action for Irish political deportees like Matt Morrison, Gabriel Megahey and Brian Pearson etc.

 The most important step in any Irish political forum is guaranteeing a big enough crowd so that presidential candidates

feel it necessary to make time to speak about our Irish issues. Former Assemblyman John Dearie has asked the AOH for help. Judge McKay will be one of the panelists.

Please register for the event by emailing IrishForum2020@gmail.com, and include your name and telephone number. The forum will be held at 1 pm on April 26th at Fordham Law School, on West 62nd Street, New York.


Please read and distribute the monthly FFAI Bulletin. The is now available on AOH national email blasts, or on the New York State and National AOH web sites. We want to give you monthly updates on key events in the north with short analysis and explanation.


Martin Galvin
National AOH FFAI Chair

NB-Because of time constraints this must be sent out before the Irish General Election. Will have a full analysis in the next bulletin!

Major Degree Planned for Albany

The John F. Kennedy, Division 1 Schenectady Major Degree Team will confer The Major Degree of our Order on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at the Albany, AOH Division 5 Hall located at 375 Ontario Street, Albany, NY.  Candidates should report at 12 Noon. Observers should arrive by 12:45 PM. The ceremony will begin promptly at 1:00 PM. Presentable attire is recommended.


Degree candidate – $20.00.
Observer – $10.00
Payment may be made at the door.

Cost includes buffet dinner following ceremony.

Please RSVP by February 19, 2020 by contacting Tim Weklar at TimWek@yahoo.com.

View the event flyer here.