by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair
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.
NYAOH FFAI Chair