Special Historical Happenings for August 15, 2018

A Day to Remember

by Mike McCormack, AOH NY State Historian

August 15 is a special day for Catholics around the world because it is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. It is also special for our AOH cousins in Ireland who march that day to show pride in their heritage on ‘Lady’s Day’ as it’s called. However, on that day in 1995 an historic event also took place in Derry as the American AOH and LAOH joined with the AOH Board of Erin (BOE) to march in that parade.  Our National Presidents, Ed Wallace and Kathy Linton led the line of march behind the American and Irish flags alongside Hibernian leaders from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. It was an incredible show of unity, but only part of the reason for the American visit.

It all began at the Louisville, KY National Convention the year before when Ed Wallace was elected.  He authorized a joint project between the two Boards and BOE; BOE Treasurer Frank Kiernan was in attendance to carry the word home to Ireland.  The project was to be the first ever memorial in Ireland to the victims of the Great Hunger of 1845 – 52.  Significantly, it was to be dedicated on August 20th the 150th anniversary of the appearance of the blight that killed countless millions and forced into exile millions more. A committee led by immediate Past President George Clough and Massachusetts AOH leader, Dave Burke liaised with BOE representatives and members of the Clare County Council as it was decided that the memorial should stand across from a deserted workhouse and mass grave on the Road between Ennistymon and Lahinch. The memorial was funded and erected by a combined effort of all three after a Mass in Ennistymon and a parade to the site. After moving speeches by Presidents Wallace and Linton, they unveiled the monument. Minister of State, Donal Carey, representing Dail Eireann, noted that this was the first national monument in all of Ireland to the victims of the Great Hunger and it took the AOH to do it.  It was a proud moment for the AOH, and a visible indication of what can be done when the Irish at home unite with the Irish Diaspora.

The journey to that memorial was long and costly, but the AOH felt that it was worth the effort to erect a meaningful remembrance to those who suffered just as the Jews remember the victims of the Holocaust.  Every Irish person, at home or abroad, lost a relation in that tragedy, whether they knew of them or not, and the story of how their descendants remember their ordeal and commemorate their memory is a moving one, indeed. The monument was created by Alan Ryan Hall from Valencia Island, Co. Kerry, and depicts an account found in Book 4 of the Workhouse papers preserved in the Ennistymon Library. The account centers on a note pinned to the torn shirt of a barefoot orphan boy left at the workhouse door on the freezing morning of February 25, 1848. The note read:

Gentlemen, There is a little boy named Michael Rice of Lahinch aged about 4 years. He is an orphan, his father having died last year and his mother has expired on last Wednesday night, who is now about being buried without a coffin!! Unless ye make some provision for such. The child in question is now at the Workhouse Gate expecting to be admitted, if not it will starve” signed by Constable Robs.S.

One side of the memorial depicts a child standing before the workhouse door, while across from that is the head of an anguished mother and two hands clenched in frustration or anger above the sorrowful text of the pleading note. If you are fortunate enough to visit the memorial, breathe a prayer for the unnamed souls it commemorates and if you are a Hibernian, stand a bit taller!

Freedom For All Ireland Report – July 2018

by Martin Galvin

A chairde:


A-Paisley Jr. suspended for misconduct faces Westminster recall – Ian Paisley Jr. will be suspended 30 days for taking free luxury vacations in Sri Lanka, then lobbying against a UN resolution to investigate human rights violations in the former British colony. The suspension means a new election if 10% of North Antrim voters sign petitions over a six week period. The Democratic Unionist Party, founded by his late father, also suspended him. His absence will cost the British Prime Minister a crucial vote on Brexit and other close issues. Paisley Jr. became North Antrim MP in 2010. His father Reverend Ian Paisley, the arch-bigot and opponent of civil rights who became Stormont First Minister, held the seat from 1970.Pundits predict enough backing to force a new election but doubtful anyone would beat Paisley in the heavily Orange district,even  as an independent. Paisley did not declare two lavish family vacations funded by Sri Lanka in 2013.The English tabloid which broke the story put the value, including family air fares, luxury hotels, multiple helicopter trips etc. at near one hundred thousand pounds. In March 2014, he lobbied the British Prime Minister to oppose a UN Resolution to investigate torture and sectarian killings under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act. (Copying British Anti-Irish legislation) Westminster requires disclosure of gifts more than six hundred and sixty pounds.

B- May Brexit tour more about DUP than border – British Prime Minister Theresa May’s two day Brexit inspection visit to the north was less about Brexit issues, than cementing DUP support. She held a 2 1/2 hours’ private dinner with DUP heads Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds, while slotting 15 minutes each to the Ulster Unionists, Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance parties. During her keynote speech, May said she wanted British rule “to endure for generations to come” and that her government “would never be neutral in support for the Union.” This contradicted the neutrality believed to underpin the Good Friday Agreement. May offered nothing new on Brexit, blaming Ireland and the European Community if customs posts and border regulations follow Britain’s withdrawal from the EC. Europe would allow the north to stay within the EU customs area and single market, avoiding any hard border across Ireland. The DUP see any special deal for border regulations to begin in the Irish Sea, as a symbolic weakening of the Union, even though it would benefit people across Ireland including DUP voters. May depends on 10 DUP votes for her majority at Westminster.

C- Rioting in Derry and East Belfast sparked by July 12th – Six days of rioting on a scale unseen in years occurred in Derry, as the city was the site of its first July 12th parade in 5  years. In the build-up to the 12th, flags of the Paratroop Regiment of Bloody Sunday infamy were hung, along with Union Jacks, Ulster Volunteer flags and sectarian banners. Huge bonfires were again built across the north where Irish flags, photos of the Pope or of nationalist politicians and other symbols were burned. Petrol bombs, seen for the first time in years last April when Constabulary attempted to block a Republican Easter Commemoration, were thrown at the PSNI. Plastic bullets were fired and a number of arrests were made. Meanwhile there were no arrests or searches in east Belfast and Down where loyalists hijacked a bus at gunpoint, set 16 vehicles on fire, rioted and shut down Belfast City Airport for hours. Loyalists rioted after a Court ordered removal of bonfire materials from two dangerous publicly owned sites.

D-Grieving mother ordered from Belfast home while Fermanagh funeral disrupted A distraught nationalist mother preparing for her son’s wake and funeral was ordered out of her home by loyalist paramilitaries. The Ulster Freedom Fighters painted “All Taigs out”(meaning Catholics), on her garden wall, then smashed the windows of her home and told her to get out within 24 hours. When she pleaded that her son had just died, and asked to remain until after the funeral, they refused and cursed at her. She had lived in the house for 18 months but when loyalists saw Facebook sympathy posts about the funeral they realized the family were Catholics. Meanwhile in Fermanagh, a Catholic priest spoke to mourners about the PSNI Constabulary disrupting prayers at the funeral of Michael McManus. McManus a well known Gaelic Athletic Association club president, had been a founding member of Republican Sinn Fein in 1986, and had run as an Independent Republican candidate more than a decade ago. He died at 78. A helicopter flew overhead throughout the procession to the graveyard then remained overhead drowning out the graveside prayers. The priest expressed regret to mourners for the disruption of the prayers.


Newly appointed British Army Commander Nick Carter boasted that British Troops in the north had done a “remarkable job” and were being “chased by people making vexatious claims” but “that will not happen on his watch.” Carter’s words were hurtful and insulting to families who have been fighting for decades to get justice for murdered loved ones. This seems to reflect British policy under British Crown Secretary Karen Bradley.  The AOH is responding!

The Ballymurphy Massacre families have been making the “vexatious claim” that eleven innocent people, including a Catholic priest and mother of eight children, were shot down by British Army Paratroopers in August 1971. The British did a “remarkable job” of whitewashing these killings with made-up accounts to justify the murders. The inquest these families have been fighting for will begin in September.

The AOH in New York, already arranged a speaking tour at the halfway point in November. Carmel Quinn, one of the Ballymurphy Massacre families, has agreed to come to America and give the AOH an up to the minute report on the inquest which will answer British claims. The AOH can expand this tour nationally or bring other legacy victims’ speakers to other areas.


Last April sixteen Members of Congress joined in a bipartisan letter sponsored by the AOH to the British Ambassador about the hundreds of families still waiting for legacy truth. We got 16 signatures, because AOH members called or visited local Congressional offices until they signed.

Both the British Ambassador and colonial British Secretary Karen Bradley had to reply. Our initiative was a major story in Ireland and the IRISH ECHO and VOICE. Working nationally, along with our PEC, we can build on that Congressional initiative and show the British that American Congressmen and Senators are watching. During the Ballymurphy Massacre Tour we will be circulating a draft sign -on letter for Congressmen expressing concerns of their constituents and notifying the British they will monitor the evidence and verdict.


Another key Resolution voted unanimously at our national convention recommended that we commemorate the centenary of Ireland’s Declaration of Independence. On January 21, 1919, representatives elected in the 32 county election of 1918, assembled as a National Parliament, and voted Ireland’s Declaration of Independence. Like the signers of America’s Declaration of Independence, Irish patriots risked imprisonment or death at the hands of the colonial British government. We want to promote this proud event with state, city and local proclamations of Ireland’s Independence Day. It is also a reminder that Unionists will celebrate the creation of an artificial six county state, carved out by the British in violation of an all-Ireland vote for 32 county freedom and a Declaration of Independence.


Recently there have been a number of great AOH sponsored events honoring Irish patriots in America. Tyrone AOH honored Suffolk County for its Tom Clarke-Kathleen Daly Clark Monument. There were ceremonies in Philadelphia for two Fenian heroes who escaped on the Catalpa, with the help of the AOH led by Seamus Boyle. On July 22nd there was an impressive ceremony unveiling  a monument to Robert Emmet and members of the Emmet family in New Rochelle. Congratulations to everyone involved!

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.

Martin Galvin

Membership Recruitment Material & Organizer Resources

Available below are downloadable PDF documents that divisions may find useful in their recruiting efforts. Division and County Organizers should customize the available material so that potential members may locate their closest division.

Recruitment Material:

Organizer Information:

Recruitment Tent Information:


To reserve the tent or for questions regarding recruiting materials please contact:

Kevin Cummings
NYAOH Organizer

The Passing of Tom McNabb

It is with a heavy heart that we share that Thomas McNabb of Auburn, NY, Past National President and National Secretary Emeritus passed away peacefully last night, surrounded by family. The patriarch of the McNabb Family and a pillar of the Auburn and Hibernian Communities alike, he will always be remembered as Dad, Pop Pop, Councilor and Mr. Hibernian.


Brother McNabb will be waked Sunday, August 5th, at the Cheche Funeral Home, 1778 Clark Street Rd., Auburn, NY 13021.  Calling hours are 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Holy Family Church, 85 North Street Auburn, NY 13021 at 10:00 am on Monday, August 6th.

Thomas McNabb Biography:

Thomas McNabb was born and raised in Auburn, New York, where he joined the Auburn Hibernian Division in 1955. Known as ‘‘Mr. Hibernian’’ around town, Tom has served his division in every capacity. He started many local Irish-American traditions such as the Friends of Ireland Annual St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon; he was also the founder of Auburn’s Irish Festival.

Thomas McNabb also served on the AOH New York State Board as Secretary, Treasurer, Organizer, State Director, and Vice President. Tom rose through the ranks to become the youngest AOH state President in 1975.

Tom’s unwavering commitment to the AOH was recognized nationally when he was elected National Vice President in 1976 and then later became the second youngest National President in 1978.

Thomas McNabb was elected to his current position of AOH National Secretary in 1984. During his years in National Hibernian leadership, Tom met with numerous elected officials and prominent figures to promote and support Irish causes. Notable meetings included President Jimmy Carter, Members of Congress, as well as Catholic Bishops, Cardinals and Archbishops.

In addition to Tom’s great work in the United States, he has traveled to Ireland numerous times in support of the nation’s causes. Tom was instrumental in the funding, building, and dedication of the Great Hunger Memorial in County Clare in 1995. This monument was the first memorial in Ireland to honor those who suffered and were lost during The Potato Famine, now renamed The Great Hunger.

On top of his distinguished and devoted work for the AOH, Tom had worked as the Safety Inspector for the City of Auburn and served as an Auburn City Council member from 1995 to 2011.

Throughout his life, Thomas McNabb has fully embodied the AOH Motto—‘‘Friendship, Unity, and Christian Charity’’.

Source: US Congressional Record: https://www.congress.gov/crec/2014/07/31/CREC-2014-07-31-pt1-PgE1289-3.pdf

Historical Happenings for August 2018

Sidney – Another Gifford Girl

by Mike McCormack, AOH NY State Historian

Support for Irish nationalism often ran in families. The Gifford sisters – Sidney, Nellie, Grace, Kate, Muriel, and Ada – were six of the 12 children of Frederick and Isabella Burton Gifford. As was customary in a mixed marriage, the boys were baptized Catholics and the girls were baptized Protestant. However, their mother, Isabella, a domineering woman, raised all of her children as Protestant. The boys retained that Protestantism while the girls, except for Kate, all converted to Catholicism. In a further conversion, while the parents and brothers remained loyal to Britain, the girls became Irish Republicans!

The best known of the girls were: Grace, who married 1916 leader Joseph Plunkett hours before his execution at Kilmainham Jail and remained an active Republican; Nellie, who was active during the Rising and was imprisoned in Mountjoy and Kilmainham jails afterward and Muriel, who married Proclamation signer, Thomas MacDonagh. Muriel, an active member of Maude Gonne’s Inghinidhe na hÉireann (daughters of Ireland) and supporter of women’s suffrage, accidentally drowned in 1917. Ada emigrated to the U.S. and was active in Republican groups there. Sidney, who wrote under the pen name John Brennan, was the youngest born August 3, 1889 and was as notable as any of them. All were members of Cumann na mBan – the Ladies Auxiliary of the Irish Volunteers.

Sidney wrote for the Sinn Fein, Irish Citizen, Irish Freedom and Cumann na mBan newspapers before emigrating to New York in June 1914 where she became involved in working for the Republican cause; the New York Sun even published some of her articles. At the outbreak of WWI, Britain ran a campaign to enlist American support in the war, so Sidney joined a campaign to downplay the Britain campaign and focus on Irish independence instead. During one meeting of Irish Americans, Sidney made an impromptu speech, explaining the situation in Ireland and particularly the need of arms for the Irish Volunteers and Cumann na mBan. As a result, Dr. Gertrude Kelly, a dynamic feminist writer and activist and a prominent member of the Irish Women’s Council, asked Sidney to speak at a meeting she was organizing.

At that meeting, Sidney criticized the AOH. Afterward, the Chairman explained to the audience that Sidney was not referring to the American AOH, but the Board of Erin with whom she had bitter experience since they had broken up Republican rallies for Redmond’s Irish Parliamentary Party. Sidney saw the error of her remark and learned that the activist audience she was addressing consisted largely of members of the American AOH Ladies Auxiliary and that in America women had a greater influence in public life holding important positions in the professions and commerce. Impressed by the fact that the AOH had an active Ladies Auxiliary and the Clann na Gael did not, it was at this meeting that Sidney Gifford decided to form a branch of Cumann na mBan in America. She later wrote that, ‘the Ladies Auxiliary of the AOH proved to be some of our most valuable workers and the foundation of the first Branch of Cumann na mBan was followed by a second one, also in New York.’ Their chief activity was propaganda and fund-raising and Sidney became Secretary of the first American branch of Cumann na mBan.

In November 1915, James Connolly’s daughter, Nora, arrived in America with a letter from Countess Markievicz asking for Sidney’s aid in contacting the German Ambassador in Washington, which she did. Ever since England had declared war on Germany, Sidney received daily Irish and weekly Sinn Féin papers with news of arrests of prominent Republicans. She brought the papers to Patrick Ford of the Irish World newspaper. He was delighted to get them and published them with headlines and editorial comment. The result was that letters of support for Ireland flooded in from organizations and individuals all over the country. Ford asked Sidney to write on the leaders and organizations in Ireland and the articles that she wrote moved the paper’s aim to complete support for the Volunteer movement. Sidney married a Hungarian lawyer, Arpad Czira, a former POW who had fled to America. Their son, Finian, was born in 1917, but she and Arpad soon parted. When America entered WW1, anti-British propaganda ceased, but not support for the Republican militants right up to the Easter Rising.

After the Rising, the Irish tricolor had yet to be seen in America and at a big demonstration, likely in Carnegie Hall, to support Ireland, her sister Ada, who had spent the night sewing a tricolor, suddenly stood up in the balcony and swung it out over the audience. It received such an ovation that newspapers commented on it the following day. Bernard Shaw, asked to comment on the event, sent a cable which contained the words, ‘It was mad, glorious and republican.’ This also made headlines. The Gifford girls also introduced the tricolor to New York by flying it at the top of a Fifth Avenue bus and reported that it was quite encouraging to see NY Police recognize it and, at every intersection, stand to attention in salute.

In 1922, Sidney returned to Ireland with her son. As a member of Kathleen Clarke’s Women’s Prisoners’ Defence League she fought against the ill-treatment of Republican prisoners during the Civil War and continued to work as a journalist for the anti-Free State side in that conflict. In the 1950s her memoirs were published in The Irish Times and she worked as a broadcaster producing a series of historical programs. She died in Dublin on 15 September 1974 and is buried in Deans Grange Cemetery – one of the many Republican Women of Ireland who deserve to be remembered.

Suffolk County Board Honored By Tyrone AOH

At the Suffolk County Board meeting on July 18, 2018, Martin Galvin, NY State Freedom for All Ireland (FFAI) Chairman, delivered certificates which read: “From Tyrone A.O.H. to Suffolk County, NY in appreciation of Thomas J. Clarke – Kathleen Daly Clarke Monument, Manorville, NY”. The certificates were signed by Tyrone County President Gerry McGeough and were entrusted to Martin Galvin on a recent FFAI trip.

Presenting the certificate: (above, left to right) Rich Cremins (Thomas J. Clarke Division 8 Past President, Thomas J Clarke Memorial co-chair), Victor J Vogel (NY State President), Martin Galvin (NY State FFAI Chairman), Jerry Belmont (Suffolk County President), and Jeff Nisler (Suffolk County FFAI Chair, Thomas J Clarke Memorial co-chair).

Above Suffolk County Brothers in attendance at the county board meeting gather for a group photo in recognition of their receiving the certificates from the Tyrone AOH Board. The featured photo (below) shows Clarke Monument being Blessed by Fr. Mickey Bancroft in 2016.

Story and photos provided by Jeff Nisler, Suffolk County FFAI Chair, Thomas J Clarke Memorial co-chair and AOH National Webmaster.

Schenectady MDT Confers Degrees in Louisville

The Schenectady Major Degree Team conferred the Major Degree to 62 Candidates in Louisville, KY on Saturday, July 14, 2018. The Hibernian presence took root in Schenectady with Division 1 in 1880 and has thrived ever since. The Team Chairman, Michael Glenn noted that the Schenectady Team has been conferring the Ritual for 98 years continuously.

Photo submitted by Michael Glenn

Freedom For All Ireland Report – June 2018

by Martin Galvin

A chairde:


A-Pat Finucane family in Supreme Court appeal-The family of murdered civil rights lawyer Pat Finucane, took the fight for an independent judicial inquiry to the Supreme Court in London. Pat Finucane battled for justice in the British non-jury Diplock courts which replaced Internment, despite threats by British Minister Douglas Hogg, and Royal Ulster Constabulary members telling clients “Finucane would not be alive to finish your case”. Brutally murdered in front of his family on February 12,1989,British Army and RUC agents who were involved had warned crown officials of the planned murder. The case broke open denials of collusion. The family has been fighting for a public inquiry, where their lawyer could question witnesses, instead of a crown appointed judge merely reviewing documents.  Counsel Barry MacDonald called it “murder by proxy whereby the state engaged in terrorism through loyalist paramilitaries”. Geraldine Finucane pledged her family “had come for an inquiry and for justice. We will never stop”. A decision is expected in the fall.

B-Choice of Drew Harris as Garda Commissioner alarming-Civil rights and legacy groups are critical of the choice of the crown’s Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris as Garda Commissioner heading Irish police in the 26 counties. Harris was a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary before its name was changed to Police Service of Northern Ireland and worked closely with MI5 British intelligence. His father was a high ranking RUC officer killed by the IRA. Harris has been a major obstacle on legacy truth. Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice said “Drew Harris has had a stranglehold on legacy and has acted partially and with vested interest at all times not least concerning incidents of shoot-to-kill and collusion carried out by the state during the conflict”. The Irish government thought Harris’ appointment would be favorably received by unionists. Harris oversaw the decision to arrest, rather than interview former Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and veteran Republican Ivor Bell in connection with the Jean McConville case. Because Ivor Bell refused to inform on Adams, he still faces charges despite serious medical issues.

C-British troopers stonewall Ballymurphy Inquest- There are fears that the inquest into eleven Ballymurphy murders, scheduled to begin on September 11th,may be further delayed because British trooper witnesses refuse to comply. The “Ballymurphy Massacre” took place over a three day period, beginning on August 9, 1971. Ten people were fatally shot including Catholic Priest Fr. Hugh Mullan, and mother of eight Joan Connolly. An eleventh victim died from a heart attack after a mock execution. Victims were shot as many as 14 times. The British crown blamed all killings on the victims, claiming the Paratroopers were under fire, despite no British casualties nor IRA weapons found. British news broadcast crown accounts. Some troopers took part in Bloody Sunday, 5 months later. British troopers and veterans groups are trying to delay the inquest, crying “witch-hunt”, and refusing legal requests for testimony or contact information. Families of the victims have been fighting almost 47 years for a chance to prove their loved ones innocent.

D-Orange marching season hinders Stormont moves– While the Stormont Assembly deadlock continues, attempts at new talks will be hindered by the onset of the Orange marching season. The British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, after an eleven year interval, will meet on July 25th.This meeting would allow the governments to publish suggestions for new talks. The Orange marching season, extending through the summer will include huge bonfires where Irish flags, pictures of the Pope and various nationalist politicians are burned. British and loyalist flags fill towns and more than 4,000 parades will be held. This year the Mid-Ulster District Council, with its nationalist majority will be a special target. The Council voted to add signs in Irish to Council properties and wants to regulate bonfires located on council land. Loyalists responded by distributing specially made Mid-Ulster Council flags to be burned atop bonfires across the six counties. Last February the DUP backed out of an agreement, which would have put Arlene Foster back as First Minister, merely because it included an Irish language Act subject to a Respect for Languages Act and in tandem with an Ulster Scots Act. This was too much for unionists. No DUP compromises are expected in this political atmosphere.


The words “Emmet Monument” have a special place in Irish history. In the nineteenth century when all hope of freedom seemed to have been crushed, Emmet Monument Societies were created. The subtle joke was clear to any Irishman or woman. Robert Emmet told Norbury, known as the “hanging judge”, that he wished his epitaph to be inscribed on his tombstone only after Ireland “takes its place among the nations of the earth.” Emmet Monument Societies meant freeing Ireland from British rule, and became the forerunners of the Fenians and other patriot groups which made 1916 a reality.

On Sunday July 22, 2018 the anniversary of Robert Emmet’s rebellion, there will be a special rededication and unveiling of a monument to the Emmet family in Beechwood Cemetery, New Rochelle at 3pm.

The family plot includes the graves of Thomas Addis Emmet, an exiled United Irish leader, among other family members who were patriots of Ireland, as well as the United States. There will be a reception afterwards at the Heritage on McLean Avenue. For information call-718-877-0345.

Many of the organizers are young AOH members who started a new Division. This should be a great event.


During the Suffolk County meeting on July 18th, the framed certificates from the Tyrone AOH in appreciation of the Tom Clarke -Kathleen Daly Clarke Memorial will be formally presented to our State President Vic Vogel and to the Suffolk County members who built and maintain this great memorial.


Looking forward to the National Convention, meeting FFAI leaders from around the Country and sharing some of the ideas that have worked for us in New York with other states!

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.

Martin Galvin

Staten Island Hibernians Welcome Four New Brothers

(l-r) New Hibernians Martin Fleishman, Wayne Sommers, Michael King and John McDonald

Four new Brother Hibernians were initiated into the Order at the June 11th meeting of St. Columcille Division #4, Richmond County. The candidates were sworn into the Order by President Thomas F. Gray, and the initiation ceremony was witnessed by Brother Martin Crimmins, New York District 5 Director.

The Division bid a heart cead mile failte to new Brothers Martin Fleishman, Wayne Sommers, Michael King and John McDonald. Each newly-initiated Brother was presented with copies of a short history of the AOH, a lapel pin of the Emblem of the Order, and a document describing the meaning of the AOH Emblem by Brother Denis P. McGowan, Richmond County Board Recording Secretary.

The June Division meeting was well attended by over 40 Brothers, and we were delighted to have Br. Michael Hannon, CFC, Assistant Chaplain and faculty member of Msgr. Farrell High School, who led us in the Division’s opening and closing prayers.

The Irish history lesson being delivered by Brother Denis P. McGowan

The Division received a lecture on Irish history on the Molly Maguires of Pennsylvania from Brother McGowan, and the fight against injustice, brutal working conditions and their framing by a Pinkerton detective who was an agent provocateur or agitator. The Pinkerton detective led these Irish Catholic men to become victims of brutal retaliation from the rich mine owners’ private police force and the corrupt county prosecutor. Innocent Brother Hibernians were wrongfully convicted and hanged because of the false testimony of the Pinkerton detective. Over a century later, the Governor of the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania pardoned all of these Irishmen, recognizing their innocence and the travesty of justice that had occurred.

St. Columcille Division # 4 meets every second Monday at the Staten Island Elks Lodge No. 841 at 8:00 pm. The Division was established on April 3, 1970 by Brother Philip McCusker and Brother William J. Bartnett, and currently has over 196 Brothers. Several Division # 4 Brothers also serve on the Richmond County Board as officers. The Division is very involved with the Staten Island Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, the Staten Ireland Irish Fair, the Columcille Irish Cultural Center and the AOH CuChulainn Celtic Warrior Major Degree Team.

News item submitted by Brother Denis P. McGowan; photos submitted by Brother Denis P. McGowan and Brother Kevin Mannion

Tyrone AOH Honors NY Clarke Memorial

County Tyrone Ancient Order of Hibernians at a special ceremony in Dungannon, honored New York State and Suffolk County AOH, for its Thomas Clarke-Kathleen Daly Clarke Memorial in Manorville. Tyrone County President Gerry McGeough presented plaques to New York State Secretary John Manning and Freedom for all Ireland Chairman Martin Galvin, in Thomas Clarke’s home town of Dungannon, on May 29th, in an event co-hosted by the Thomas Clarke Gaelic Football Club at O’Neill Park. The New Yorkers, on behalf of State President Victor Vogel presented a signed copy of the 1918 Irish Freedom Mandate measure passed by the State legislature, which was immediately put on display in the museum room.

(from left seated) Tyrone AOH County President Gerry McGeough, NY State FFAI Chair Martin Galvin, NY State Secretary John Manning, Clarke Gaelic Club officer Art McCrory, Club Manager Michael Corrigan and Dungannon Town Historian Bertie Foley

The ceremony was opened by Tyrone County President Gerry McGeough He noted: 

 “Tyrone AOH is fully aware and deeply appreciative of the work done across the United States and particularly in New York State by the AOH, most recently the 1918  Irish Freedom Mandate.  We  do not often get the chance to thank you directly. Tyrone is especially proud that Thomas Clarke was a Tyrone man and a Dungannon man. We learned of the beautiful memorial that New York State AOH  and Suffolk County have erected at his American homesite. We wanted to give special recognition to you and are grateful to your State President Victor Vogel, and  to you for coming and accepting these awards. County Tyrone AOH  continues to grow, helped by groups like the Thomas Clarke Gaelic Football Club, here with us today, and the efforts of  the AOH in America”. 

New York State Secretary John Manning said in reply:

“On behalf of the New York State Ancient Order of Hibernians and representing our State President Vic Vogel, we are deeply grateful to County Tyrone AOH and the Thomas Clarke Gaelic Football Club for honouring us with these presentations.

“As an organization that cherishes Irish history and is deeply committed to Freedom-for-all Ireland, we take pride that in addition to being a Tyrone man and a Dungannon man, the great patriot Thomas Clarke was also an American citizen, who lived in Brooklyn and Manorville in Suffolk County New York before returning to Ireland and beginning the work of organizing and leading the Easter Rising of 1916.

“The Memorial to him at his home site in Suffolk County and the many commemorations we hold across the state and across America, reflect our continuing commitment to see Thomas Clarke’s county and all of the six counties get the national freedom and sovereignty he and the other Easter Week leaders proclaimed and pledged in 1916.

“These awards will be carried back and displayed in a special place of honor in our AOH halls and be a sign of further cooperation between us. Our State President Victor Vogel has asked me to convey a message that he hopes to visit you soon”.

Martin Galvin New York State Freedom for all Ireland Chairman then presented a copy of the New York State legislature’s measure honoring the centenary of Ireland’s 1918 Mandate for Freedom to Michael Corrigan, the Chairman of the Thomas Clarke GFC, who hosted the ceremony. He said:

“It is very special for us as New York Hibernians to receive recognition in Ireland. One of  the main objectives of the AOH in America is to promote Freedom for all Ireland. This year we will mark the centenary of the all Ireland vote where the Irish people voted an overwhelming mandate for freedom, for a thirty-two county all-Ireland parliament or Dail Eireann, and for the 1916 Rising. Tragically Britain answered this democratic vote for freedom with military oppression, sectarianism and partition and the price paid here in Tyrone and across the six counties. It never again permitted one all-Ireland vote.

“New York State AOH wishes to present you with a copy of the Irish Freedom Mandate Resolution, bearing the seal of the New York State Senate and Assembly, as a token of our continuing commitment and efforts throughout the year to support your right to freedom for  all of Ireland”. 

Michael Corrigan Chairman of the Thomas Clarke GFC, accepted the Mandate and announced it would permanently displayed in the Museum Room of the Stadium alongside a framed handwritten letter written by Thomas Clarke while in prison along with other historic items.

LAOH Member Michelle Robbins presenting plaque to NYAOH FFAI Chair Martin Galvin

Other dignitaries include, Dungannon Historian Bertie Foley, GAA official Art McCrory, Ladies AOH officers Michelle Robbins and Catherine Sewell, and Sperrins Mountains Environmental campaign activist Martin Tracey.


Following the ceremony, Martin Galvin attended a meeting hosted by Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice at its Dungannon office. Representatives of a number of victims’ families attended.

Mr. Thompson and the families briefed Mr. Galvin on the newly published legacy consultation document made public by British colonial secretary Karen Bradley. Family after family talked about the delays, stonewalling and deceit which they have suffered over decades in trying to get justice. These tactics have made these victims deeply worried over what will emerge from new legacy structures. They were also deeply encouraged by the Congressional initiative and new awakening stemming from the Mark Thompson’s emergency tour hosted by the New York State AOH earlier this year.

Submitted by:
Martin Galvin
NYS AOH Freedom for All Ireland Chair