Freedom For All Ireland Report – December 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A – Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest opens- Forty-seven years after the Ballymurphy Massacre, new Inquests opened in Belfast, as family members of the 11 victims, many holding hands, witnessed  the proceedings. The Inquest was technically limited to the 10  victims shot dead by British troopers between August 9th-11th,1971 in the Ballymurphy section of Belfast. However, as the Coroner’s representative, it also covered the killing of Paddy McCarthy, who died of a heart attack after being subjected to a mock execution.

The Inquest began with statements by relatives of Catholic priest Fr. Hugh Mullan, and nineteen year old Francis Quinn, who were the first to die. Family statements from relatives of Joan Connolly, shot while helping wounded victims, along with Daniel Teggart, shot 14 times, and Noel Philips were linked as part of a second incident. Joseph Murphy was wounded, taken into custody and shot again while in the barracks. Edward Doherty, John Laverty, Joseph Corr and John McKerr were killed over the next two days. British Military Police then claimed the dead were gunmen to justify the murder. The families are fighting to get the truth and exonerate their loved ones.

Already there have been a number of shocking revelations. The  head of a British veterans group, Alan Barry suborned perjury by instructing troopers to ignore subpoenas or pretend complete memory loss in answering questions. British  technical experts reported that victims’ hands had been swabbed for gunshot residue. Nothing was found, meaning none had handled or fired weapons. However that was ignored by the British. An autopsy confirmed that Joseph Murphy was shot a second time while in the barracks. British troopers boasted to family members and witnesses about “having no time for arrests only killings” as they threw “dead bodies onto a truck like animals”. Families received threatening hate mail mocking the dead. The Inquest continues.

 B – Crucial Brexit Vote looms at Westminster December 11th- The European Union agreed terms with British negotiators to avoid a disastrous hard border across Ireland with British withdrawal from the EU set for March 29,2019. That deal is in danger of being vetoed by the British Parliament in a vote scheduled for December 11th. Hard line Brexiteers within Prime Minister Theresa May’s Tory Party, joining with the DUP, and Labour can vote the deal down. They complain about the proposed backstop or safety net that would only come into play if a full trade agreement is not otherwise reached. No agreement would make the six counties Europe’s border with Britain, with customs, tariff and immigration checks.  The EU and Ireland offered to permit the north to remain in the customs union, with customs, immigration controls etc beginning in the Irish sea, meaning at entry points into England, Scotland or Wales. This would benefit the north. However the DUP bitterly condemned even this deal, denouncing preferences for the north as a slippery slope towards a united Ireland. The November 14th deal would require goods coming into the north to meet EU standards and keep Britain in the Customs Union until there was a new agreement. These terms have been called a betrayal by both hard-line Brexiteers and the DUP. Theresa May is now besieged by Tory hardliners, led by Boris Johnson, calling for a hard Brexit and the DUP’s “blood red lines” against preferential terms for the north. The vote on December 11th threatens this new deal and also threatens May’s position as Prime Minister.

– AOH Tour boosts Ballymurphy Massacre Campaign Families– An Irish Embassy reception, Congressional meetings, and major public events in Albany, Cleveland, Philadelphia, the Bronx, New Jersey, Manhattan and Long Island heard Carmel Quinn’s call to “stand with us” in the fight for Ballymurphy justice.

Ms Quinn was hosted by the Irish Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Lonergan. She met Senator Schumer who issued a public statement, and key Congressional leaders Congressmen Eliot Engel, Joe Crowley, Richard Neal, Mike Doyle, and aides for Congressmen Chris Smith, Brendan Boyle, Peter King, and Conor Lamb. Pennsylvania State Legislators Michael Driscoll, and Kevin Boyle, joined Ms. Quinn on the stage in Philadelphia  to present a House of Representatives Citation, to the Ballymurphy Campaign for “their unrelenting pursuit of justice… for all those killed in the Ballymurphy Massacre.” City Councilman Bobby Henon presented a Philadelphia City Council Resolution honoring Ms. Quinn and the Ballymurphy Campaign.

Ms. Quinn spoke in New Jersey, Cleveland, Long Island, Albany at the prestigious Fr. Murphy Awards event, was honored by Bronx County AOH along with Congressman Crowley and IRISH ECHO Editor Ray O’Hanlon, and concluded the week in midtown Manhattan hosted by New York State Board AOH with a presentation by State President Vic Vogel. AOH members from across Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan traveled long distances to attend the Cleveland event. Proclamations were presented from Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kapture ,Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson  and City Council President Kevin Kelley. This event was videotaped at the request of AOH Boards around the country, who can now hear and see Ballymurphy’s appeal via Facebook or the National AOH Website. AOH support  was highlighted in the main Belfast paper, the IRISH NEWS as well as the Irish-American papers.

D – Tony Taylor released after 994 days Internment by License-

Derry political activist Tony Taylor was released from Maghaberry Prison after spending almost 3 years imprisoned under draconian procedures likened to Internment by License. Mr. Taylor had served a sentence on Republican charges and was released. Then while shopping with his family he was arrested and told he had violated his license or parole, but that neither he nor his attorney would be informed of how. He later got a legal hearing where he, his own political and legal counsel were put out of the room so they could not hear  much less put up a defense to the accusations. He was released under severe censorship restrictions and cannot speak about his unjust imprisonment. Internment by License is being used to intimidate other prominent Republicans who were released early for political offenses.

CHRISTMAS APPEAL

You have received the AOH Christmas Appeal mailing. Britain’s actions, imposing Brexit, denying an Irish Language Act, calling  legacy justice investigations like Ballymurphy  witch-hunts, all show they want to shut the door on Irish freedom forever. We can  donate to groups supporting Freedom for all Ireland but only if you members who I know care so much, make donations happen. Please ask your State Board, County Board or Division to respond to the FFAI mailing at your meeting and give to the Christmas Appeal for Freedom for all Ireland. AOH donations to carefully chosen charities through monies raised by the FFAI Annual Christmas Appeal, alongside our political and educational campaigns, are the cornerstone of our FFAI initiative. Our National Officers have asked for a commitment from everyone to participate and support FFAI with a donation or fundraising event. Help make Freedom for all Ireland, not an aspiration or endeavor but the reality for those Irish people still denied it! America can make a difference, but only if the AOH and LAOH, as the  voice of the Irish in America, lead the way.

CONGRESSIONAL CALL TO ACTION

Last April sixteen Members of Congress joined a  breakthrough bipartisan letter sponsored by the AOH to the British Ambassador about legacy truth. Both the British Ambassador and colonial British Secretary Karen Bradley had to reply. Attached is a draft Congressional letter to the British Ambassador about the Ballymurphy Inquest. Congressman Engel who met Carmel Quinn twice, became the first to send a letter to the British Ambassador that America is watching the Ballymurphy Inquest. FFAI is calling upon AOH members across the country to contact your local Senators and Congressmen, and ask them to send a letter to the British Ambassador. Send me a copy of any letters that go out so that we can publicize here in the US and in Ireland.

 IRELAND’S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

During our National Convention, a resolution was passed to 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.

FFAI TOUR

We are now planning on a week long AOH FFAI Tour visiting Belfast, Derry and Tyrone beginning around February 10th.Please check the AOH web page and watch for further details.

FFAI MONTHLY BULLETIN

Please check for the monthly FFAI Bulletin 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.

NOLLAIG SHONA DAOIBH!
Merry Christmas   

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.                              

Slan,
Martin Galvin

Freedom For All Ireland Report – November 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

During our May State Board meeting, I reported on New York’s FFAI accomplishments, under State President Vic Vogel, which many Brothers here made happen. Our national leaders heard what New York was doing and I think it is a credit to our state leaders and to many of you who work on FFAI, that I was appointed National FFAI and directed by our National President and leaders to take the same approach combining politics, publicity and fundraising which worked here and try to make it work across the country.    

Last January New York State hosted Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice, in a weeklong 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. When I met with him in June a dozen victims’ families arrived and asked me to bring back a message thanking you for that success and telling you never to forget how much AOH backing means.

BALLYMURPHY TOUR

The Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest, scheduled to begin on November 12th is key. Eleven people, including a Catholic priest and mother of eight children were murdered. If the British do not allow justice in a case like that, how can we expect justice in any killings where British crown forces or their agents are involved?

Two of our National leaders, Danny O’Connell and Jere Cole met with the families in Ballymurphy and had a great impact. We have gone from a 5 city tour to a 5 state tour beginning next week, hosting Carmel Quinn, whose brother John Laverty was one of the Massacre victims. This tour will include an Irish Embassy Reception; which is a major political breakthrough; as well as Congressional meetings, and events in Philadelphia, New Jersey hosted by Sean Pender, and Cleveland organized by Danny O’Connell.

In New York she was hosted by our State President and Suffolk County President on Tuesday November 13th, at the Suffolk County AOH Division 2 Hall, 27 Locust Avenue Babylon, at O’Lunneys, 145 West 45th street November 19th, in Albany on Friday November 16th at the AOH Hall, 375 Ontario Avenue, and at the Bronx County Dinner where she was honored alongside Congressman Joseph Crowley and IRISH ECHO Editor Ray O’Hanlon at Rory Dolan’s, on Sunday November 18th by Bronx County AOH.

We are also hoping to get a copy of the film BALLYMURPHY PRECEDENT, for showings especially in areas where we were not able to reach.

CONGRESSIONAL INITIATIVES

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.

We will be circulating individual letters and asking Congressmen to write to the British Ambassador expressing concern about the Inquest being affected by British statements in Westminster about British troops being “scapegoated”, “witch hunts”,and “subjected to ridiculous investigations.”

IRELAND’S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

During our National Convention, a resolution was passed that we commemorate the centenary of Ireland’s Declaration of Independence. On January 21, 1919, representatives elected in the 32 county elections 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. That day will be celebrated as Martin Luther King Day in Albany but we are trying to have a formal commemoration like our last April’s event commemorating the 1918 Freedom Mandate. We have had meetings on this and will be taking it up after Election Day.

FFAI CHRISTMAS APPEAL

You should have received the national mailing about the FFAI CHRISTMAS APPEAL.I want to especially thank our Past President Brendan Moore for all of his assistance and guidance with the Appeal. Our donations to carefully chosen charities through monies raised by the FFAI Annual Christmas Appeal, alongside our political and educational campaigns, are a cornerstone of our FFAI initiative. We have built up relationships with groups like Relatives for Justice by our donations.

This year our National Officers have begun new FFAI education and information programs about British injustices in the six counties. Some of you have made proposals, which I believe were intended as constructive suggestions. We now have a national committee with Brendan Moore, Malachy McAllister, Gerry McHale, Jim McLaughlin, Sean O’Dowd, Roger Weist and myself. I met with many of you in Rockland to get your input. I am willing to hold more meetings. I am especially interested in your ideas for giving greater credit to contributing Members, Divisions, County and State Boards.

Last year a motion was passed requesting National leaders to establish dialogue with New York State about New York State contributions to FFAI Christmas Appeal. I hope since my appointment I have done enough to begin that dialogue.

EASTER LILLIES AND ENGLAND GET OUT OF IRELAND BANNERS

Former NY State FFAI Chair Tim Myles had organized a drive to encourage “England out of Ireland” banners as a reminder of FFAI in St. Patrick’s Day and other parades. The banner always gets a great response alongside organization banners. I always wear an Easter Lilly pin.

I encourage everyone to wear pins or carrying banners which remind everyone that the AOH remembers those still denied freedom in Ireland.

FFAI MONTHLY BULLETIN

In response to requests for information and analysis, I began a monthly FFAI Bulletin. All issues are available on the state web site by clicking Reports and FFAI (thanks to Brother Cummings). We are now carried on the National AOH site (thanks to Brothers Nisler and Cosgrove). The aim is to give you monthly updates on a few key events in the north with short analysis and explanations.

A few of the key events already covered include:Tory-DUP Deal, breakdown of the Stormont talks, Brexit, Pardons proposal for British troopers, Catholic Families forced to flee their homes, Orange sectarian parades, the Ballymurphy Massacre Inquests, fight to carry Irish flags in St. Patrick’s Day Parades etc.

I thank members who email me with constructive criticisms, and suggestions. These bulletins are only worth doing if our members find them worth reading! Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM

Carmel Quinn Ballymurphy Massacre Appeal

October 28, 2018

Saying “the ‘Ballymurphy Massacre’ families need American help in their 47-year battle for justice”, Carmel Quinn, a sister of one of 11 victims John Laverty, will begin a five state American tour as the Inquest opens in Belfast. The tour follows attacks by 150 Tory MPs and British Prime Minister Theresa May aimed at discrediting investigations of British forces for ‘Troubles’ killings in the north of Ireland. A founding member of the ‘Ballymurphy Massacre’ Campaign and member of Relatives for Justice, Carmel Quinn will ask for American help at public events and Congressional meetings in a tour organized by the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Relatives for Justice, but now assisted by a growing list of Irish-American groups.

AT STAKE

Since August 1971 the Ballymurphy families have said that 11 people, including Catholic Priest Fr. Hugh Mullan, and mother of 8 children Joan Connolly were murdered over a three-day period. The British whitewashed these murders by smearing the victims. These families want their loved ones exonerated by an Inquest with eyewitnesses and cross-examination of anyone claiming these killings were justified. They have met with repeated delays, jibes about “innocent victims” from DUP head Arlene Foster, and the deliberate cutoff of Inquest funding.

Last week 150 MPs called for an end of former British troopers being “hounded and pursued” by murder investigations, and Theresa May praised the ‘heroism’ of British crown forces who “upheld the law.” While not specifically referring to Ballymurphy, such claims may impact an Inquest considering whether British forces upheld the rule of law by 11 murders.

AOH Freedom for All Ireland Chair Martin Galvin added:

“The Ballymurphy Massacre is a fundamental test of Britain’s ability to give legacy justice. If victims cannot get justice where 11 people, including a Catholic priest and mother of 8 children were killed by British troops, how can we expect justice in any killings or collusion murders where British forces were involved? AOH National Vice-President Danny O’Connell and National Secretary Jere Cole recently promised the Ballymurphy families that America would stand behind them in their battle for justice. We are committed to keep that pledge”.

SCHEDULE

  • Ms. Quinn’s first public address will take place in Philadelphia on Sunday, November 11th at the FOP Lodge 5 Ballroom, 11630 Caroline Road, Philadelphia, beginning at 3pm.organized by Gerry McHale and Pearse Kerr (267-767-7854).
  • On Monday, November 12th, she will speak in New Jersey at the Bayshore Catholic Center 12 Rt. 36, Middletown at 7PM, organized by Sean Pender, Malachy McAllister and Rich O’Brien (vp@njaoh.com).
  • On Tuesday, November 13th, Ms. Quinn will be at the Suffolk County AOH Division 2 Hall, 27 Locust Avenue, Babylon, at 8pm, hosted by New York State AOH President Victor Vogel and County President Jerry Belmont (jnlcbel@verizon.net).
  • Ms. Quinn will travel to Washington DC for a series of key Congressional briefings on Wednesday, 14th and Thursday 15th before returning to New York City for an event at O’Lunneys, 145 West 45th Street Thursday, November 15th. She will speak in Albany on Friday, November 16th at the AOH Hall, 375 Ontario Avenue, Albany where the prestigious Fr. Murphy award will be presented.
  •  The Midwest will host her Saturday, November 17th, at the Cleveland West Side Irish-American Club, 8559 Jennings Road Olmstead Turnpike, organized by Danny O’Connell, Marilyn Madigan and Roger Weist (216-235-1551).
  • Carmel Quinn will be honored alongside Congressman Joseph Crowley and The Irish Echo Editor, Ray O’Hanlon at Rory Dolan’s, on Sunday, November 18th by Bronx County AOH at 3pm, hosted by Bob Nolan  (347-880-1403).

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM

Slan
Martin Galvin
(718) 665-1800

Freedom For All Ireland Report – October 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

               FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A – Bradley admits sent to rule with no clue about north – Karen Bradley, picked by Prime Minister Theresa May to administer British rule in the six counties, said she had no understanding of the north when picked for the post. Bradley made her frank  admissions to House magazine, a weekly parliamentary magazine giving Westminster MPs puff piece interviews. Bradley confessed she had did not understand basic facts of the north’s politics, elections and deep-rooted issues saying it was all “a very different world from the world I come from.” She said:

“I didn’t understand things like when elections are fought in Northern Ireland people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice-versa… Unionist parties fight the elections in unionist communities and nationalists in nationalist communities… I was slightly scared of Northern Ireland because of my impression and images from 20 years ago…

I freely admit that when I started this job, I didn’t understand some of the deep-seated and deep-rooted issues.”

Bradley age 48, never visited the six counties until going to preside as British Secretary. Elected to Westminster in 2010, she learned little from debates, discussions of new laws, or party briefings and conferences in eight years. Like most British secretaries, she apparently views the north as a place to audition for some other post she would rather have in some other place she would rather be.

Bradley will judge the Legacy Consultation. Having admitted  she had no understanding how elections are fought in the north,  she seems to have no understanding of how British troops fought there by shooting down civilians in places like Ballymurphy.

B – No deal Brexit and hard border disaster threatened –Due to exit the European Union on March 29,2019, Britain has offered no acceptable deal with the EU to avoid a disastrous hard border across Ireland. The biggest obstacle is Theresa May’s dependence on 10 DUP votes at Westminster. The Irish, British and EU want to avoid a hard border across the island. Without a deal, the six counties becomes an external EU border, requiring customs, immigration and tariff controls. There are 300 border crossings.  The EU and Ireland have offered to permit the north to remain in the EU customs union. Customs, immigration controls etc could then begin in the Irish sea, meaning at entry points into England, Scotland or Wales. This would be beneficial for the north. However the DUP fears preferential regulations for the north as a slippery slope towards a united Ireland. They say they will topple Theresa May and veto any deal in which they are not exactly the same as England, Scotland and Wales. The EU will not offer permanent customs union preferences to Britain. Theresa May is now caught with Tory hardliners, led by Boris Johnson, calling for a hard Brexit and the DUP’s “blood red lines” against preferential arrangements for the north. French President Emmanuel Macron summed up the EU’s reaction to May’s latest proposals saying “Brexit is the choice of the British people, pushed by those who predicted easy solutions… Those people are liars.”    

– AOH Leaders meet Ballymurphy Massacre Campaign Families

Saying they came “to pledge American support for Ballymurphy in its battle for truth and justice,” National AOH Vice-President Danny O’Connell, and National Secretary Jere Cole met Ballymurphy Massacre families on Sunday September 23rd. The AOH leaders were escorted by family members to the murder scenes and given a moving account of each killing. The fact-finding visit was also attended by Relatives for Justice. Danny O’Connell said:

“Both Jerry Cole and I have visited Ballymurphy before and were familiar with the events, but hearing the deep pain in the voices of family members as they spoke of the murders of their loved ones, while standing in the spots where these murders were committed, was deeply moving. Eleven innocent people including a priest and mother of 8 were murdered. Their families are entitled to truth about the killings of their loved ones”.

D – “Hooded Men” court fight on torture-The “Hooded Men” vowed to win their legal fight to brand Britain guilty of torture in British Courts, even as the European Court of Human Rights declined to review its 1978 judgment holding Britain guilty of inhuman and degrading treatment. The torture case goes back to August 9,1971,and the start of Internment. Men picked up without charge were used as human guinea pigs and subjected to sensory deprivation torture techniques. They were hooded, made to stand in strained positions for hours, deprived of sleep, water and food, alternated with beatings and threats. Some were made to run gauntlets etc. Ireland took a case on their behalf. The European Commission ruled that the British were guilty of torture. The European Court modified the finding to guilty of inhuman and degrading treatment. English tabloids ran headlines “Britain Not Guilty!” omitting that they had been convicted of inhuman treatment.RTE Irish television in June 2014, did a program ‘The Torture Files’ which uncovered proof Britain lied to the European Court and withheld files that Britain approved the torture techniques at the highest level of government. Ireland attempted to have the torture ruling reinstated based on this evidence but the European judges said it was too late. The men are already pursuing a separate legal case in the Belfast High Court and have won legal rulings that Britain subjected them to torture. That case is expected to end with Britain in the dock of its own Supreme Court in London.    

BALLYMUPHY MASSACRE TOUR CALL TO ACTION

Carmel Quinn, whose brother John Laverty was a Ballymurphy Massacre victim, is coming to America to the AOH. She will speak on Sunday November 11th at a Philadelphia FFAI event organized by Gerry McHale, and Pearse Kerr; Monday in New Jersey organized by Sean Pender and Malachy McAllister; Babylon AOH Hall on Tuesday; going to Washington DC on the 14th-15th with event by Jim McLaughlin returning Thursday night 15th for event at O’Lunneys in Manhattan; Friday in Albany organized by John Levendosky and Dolores Desch. National VP Danny O’Connell will bring Carmel Quinn to Cleveland Ohio on Saturday before she is honored Sunday in the Bronx together with Congressman Joe Crowley and ECHO Editor Ray O’Hanlon. More events may be announced.

 CONGRESSIONAL CALL TO ACTION

Last April sixteen Members of Congress joined a  breakthrough bipartisan letter sponsored by the AOH to the British Ambassador about legacy truth.

Both the British Ambassador and colonial British Secretary Karen Bradley had to reply. FFAI is calling upon AOH members across the country to contact your local Senators and Congressmen, and ask will they make time to hear Carmel Quinn in Washington D.C. on November 14th or 15th. 

CHRISTMAS APPEAL

The Christmas Appeal mailing will arrive shortly. The need is obvious. Today Britain still denies truth and justice to the families of victims murdered by the crown or loyalist agents in places like Ballymurphy. Brexit threatens catastrophe .They even refuse an Irish Language Act. Instead of opening the door to national freedom, Britain and the DUP want to nail that door shut. America can make a difference, but only if the AOH and LAOH, as the  voice of the Irish in America, lead the way. Our donations to carefully chosen charities through monies raised by the FFAI Annual Christmas Appeal, alongside our political and educational campaigns, are a cornerstone of our FFAI initiative.

This year our National Officers have begun new FFAI education and information programs about British injustices in the six counties. They are implementing many of your ideas to enhance the Appeal. Our National Officers are asking for a commitment from everyone to participate and support FFAI with a donation or fundraising event. Please donate and help the AOH and LAOH make the difference.  Help make Freedom for all Ireland, not an aspiration or endeavor but the reality for those Irish people still denied it!

FFAI MONTHLY BULLETIN

The monthly FFAI Bulletin is now available on the New York State and National AOH web site by clicking Reports and FFAI. We want to give you monthly updates on key events in the north with short analysis and explanation.

REMEMBERING IRISH PATRIOTS WITH PRIDE

Ruan O’Donnell, of Limerick University gave the Hibernian Lecture at Notre Dame: “America and the Irish Revolution 1916-22”.Professor O’Donnell says that our work for FFAI is part of a long history  and without America no part of Ireland would be free! You can see this great Hibernian Lecture by going to the National AOH web site and clicking on it.

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.                              

Slan
Martin Galvin

Freedom For All Ireland Report – August 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A-Retaliatory arrests of NO STONE UNTURNED Filmmakers-Trevor Birney, and Barry McCaffrey, whose thrilling documentary film exposed collusion and cover-up in the Loughinisland murders, were arrested in retaliation. Just before the 1994 ceasefire, patrons watching Ireland play Italy in World Cup soccer were marked for death. Six were murdered and others wounded. Items containing DNA, including the getaway car, weapons, and clothing were recovered. A gunman’s wife posted a letter and made an anonymous call to the constabulary naming the murderers. Her voice gave away her identity, since she worked for the RUC.  The film title, NO STONE UNTURNED, quoted an RUC member who pledged no stone would be unturned in the search for loyalist killers. It became a term of scorn for families who saw no killers charged, despite massive evidence, because the loyalist criminals were protected as British agents. The families turned to investigative journalists and ombudsman Michael Maguire. The filmmakers found and filmed one of the killers. The AOH FFAI noted “these arrests say it is ‘NO STONE UNTURNED’ when it comes to going after journalists who reveal truths the crown wants kept hidden.” Families also turned to filmmakers about the Ballymurphy Massacre and collusion killings. These arrests send a chilling message that the crown will go after press and filmmakers who embarrass them. The two men were released but documents were seized and the threat of prosecution hangs over them. The pretext for the arrests seems to be that they “stole” items which they explain in the film were sent to them anonymously. The action came weeks after Constabulary Chief

George Hamilton was welcomed to the West Belfast Feile. As Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin comes to Washington, on September 12-14,lawyer Niall Murphy wants the AOH to brief Congressmen to raise this issue.

B- British trash investigations on Ballymurphy Inquest eve-With the Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest set to begin on September 10th, past and current British commanders began rubbishing any legacy investigations of British crown or collusion killings as a “witch-hunt”, “macabre charade” or” legacy scandal”. They are timed to discredit the Ballymurphy families who have waited 47 years for truth and justice. After the first Internment raids, Paratroopers barracked in Ballymurphy came out and opened fire without warning. A Catholic priest, waving a white handkerchief, Fr. Hugh Mullan, nineteen-year-old Francis Quinn, mother of 8 children, Joan Connolly, were shot dead going to wounded victims. Daniel Teggart, felled by a bullet to the leg, was shot a total of 14 times. Noel Philips was shot dead that first night. Joseph Murphy was wounded, taken into custody and shot a second time inside the barracks before his death. Edward Doherty, John Laverty, Joseph Corr and John McKerr were murdered over the next two days. An eleventh murder victim, Paddy McCarthy, died of a heart attack, when troopers placed an empty gun inside his mouth in mock execution. British Royal Military Police whitewashed troopers making the dead guilty. With the Inquest set to begin September 10th, British Army Commander Nick Carter proclaimed that British Troops in the north had done a “remarkable job”, were “chased by people making vexatious claims” but “that will not happen on his watch.”Former British commander Bramhall wrote that the Britain “must by whatever means put a stop to this “macabre charade.” Colonel Tim Collins, wrote in the first in a series of “STOP THE LEGACY SCANDAL” essays in the BELFAST NEWSLETTER that almost all British crown forces “shootings were within their legal duty.” Why are British Army commanders so worried about the verdicts and findings of their own British courts and judges?

C-DUP will not budge on Irish language act says Foster-Almost 600 days after the collapse of power-sharing, former First Minister Arlene Foster said her DUP party would never accept an Irish language act, which was “non-negotiable”. Foster and the DUP also staged a “Sinn Fein end the boycott” protest in front of Stormont, demanding that nationalists return, while talks on outstanding issues take place. It is unclear how any talks could progress, if main issues are “non-negotiable”. Ironically Foster’s red-lining of an Irish language act follows Sinn Fein removing its redline over Foster as First Minister. The late Martin McGuinness resigned on January 9,2017 over Foster’s refusal to stand aside while her Renewable Heat Initiative(RHI) “money to burn” scandal was under investigation. Foster blames approval of a 500 million pound plan paying a profit to burn fuel, on her advisors. This scandal is under an ongoing public inquiry. In February 2017, Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein said power-sharing with the DUP had been ten years of “deliberate provocation, arrogance and disrespect.” Talks earlier this year ended in a Valentine’s Day breakup after the DUP reneged on a deal for an Irish language act coupled with Ulster Scots and an overriding Respecting Languages Bill.

D- Unionist fury at Limerick Hurlers’ Song-Unionists were outraged that Limerick hurlers sang Sean South of Garryowen at Croke Park, while celebrating their All-Ireland victory. They did not watch the match or post-match singing live. Apparently video of the spontaneous celebration was distributed online by Unionist groups, to get complaints. The song, by the Wolfe Tones about the 1957 IRA attack on Brookborough Barracks, includes the lyrics “And the leader was a Limerick man- Sean South of Garryowen”. The incident came weeks after outrage at the Wolfe Tones singing Celtic Symphony at the West Belfast Feile or Festival. Unionists feel entitled to parade and play Orange songs a everywhere in the six counties then dictate that Republican songs not be sung anywhere in Ireland. 

FFAI NATIONAL COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS

In order to do the work of being “the voice of the Irish in America” on FFAI across the country, our national leaders have directed formation of a National FFAI Committee. This committee is tasked with being the major information resource for members and Divisions on FFAI issues. The initial appointments by our National President and officers were made in early August, however since then, I received several other requests and recommendations and we are looking to expand the National Committee in the near future. The initial appointments are:  

1-Past National President and Former FFAI Chair Brendan Moore, for overall experience and guidance;

2-Jim McLaughlin- of Virginia whose location allows him to assist anytime we go to Washington, as well as coordinate in the south.

3-Gerry McHale-Philadelphia is a current state FFAI Chair in the key FFAI state of Pennsylvania;  

4-Sean O’Dowd in Chicago will be working throughout the Midwest.

5-Malachy McAllister-in New Jersey and overall help with political, publicity and fundraising initiatives.  

BALLYMUPHY MASSACRE CALL TO ACTION

The voice of the Irish in America must be heard in support of the Ballymurphy Massacre families and their fight for justice.  National Vice-President Danny O’Connell and Secretary Jere Cole will be in Belfast to meet the families and to show AOH support. Carmel Quinn, whose brother John Laverty was murdered by British Paratroops is coming to us to give the AOH an up to the minute report on the inquest. This tour has been expanded to take in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and other locations. We also want 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.

REMEMBERING IRISH PATRIOTS WITH PRIDE

Ruan O’Donnell, of Limerick University will give the Hibernian Lecture at Notre Dame: “America and the Irish Revolution 1916-22” on September 21st at 4:30 pm at McKenna Hall. Professor O’Donnell says that our work for FFAI is part of a long history and without America no part of Ireland would be free! It is open to everyone.

James McGlashin will speak at the Robert Emmet Statue, 1700 24th Street NW Washington, DC on September 30th at 11:30am.

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.                              

Martin Galvin

Freedom For All Ireland Report – July 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

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.

BALLYMUPHY TOUR CALL TO ACTION

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.

CONGRESSIONAL INITIATIVES

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.

IRELAND’S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

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.

REMEMBERING IRISH PATRIOTS WITH PRIDE

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.

Slan
Martin Galvin

Freedom For All Ireland Report – June 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

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.

EMMET MONUMENT REDEDICATION

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.

TOM CLARKE-KATHLEEN DALY CLARKE MEMORIAL

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.

NATIONAL CONVENTION

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.

Slan
Martin Galvin

Freedom For All Ireland Report – May 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A-False claims raise Legacy Consultation concerns- British Prime Minister Theresa May’s patently untrue claims that British crown forces were the only ones being investigated for legacy killings, sparked charges that she misled Parliament, and raised concerns about legacy bad faith. Statistically investigations of British killings amounted to less than a third. Unlike Republicans such as Gerry McGeough and Seamus Kearney, no British trooper has been jailed. May’s appointee Karen Bradley published a consultation paper for hundreds of legacy killings, outlining four devices: (1) Historical Investigations Unit-(HIU),taking over investigations done by the Ombudsman and Historical Enquiries Team; (2) Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR)for private requests by family members about the deaths of loved ones; (3) Oral History Archive (OHA) collecting research and new and existing oral history on the Troubles; (4) Implementation and Reconciliation Group (IRG) to review implementation. Bradley took plans Britain agreed in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement and put them up for renegotiation, then offered 150 million pounds in legacy funding, set aside years ago but never released. Bradley echoed May’s false claims and said “that is why we needed a consultation”.

Nationalists and human rights groups reacted angrily. Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre took out a half-page ad in the GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER publicly charging that May had misled Parliament. She was even refuted by former Justice Minister David Ford, current Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson and PSNI constabulary statistics. May’s rhetoric raised questions about whether Britain intended the new legacy mechanisms to give truth to victims or cover to crown forces. A potential national security blanket, DUP veto, or quota on investigations of British killings which ignores collusion, provide opportunities for a state forces cover-up. Meanwhile the British have refused to stop veterans groups from instructing former troopers to ignore requests for cooperation by the Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest.

B-Foster wants military covenant as Stormont absence hits 500 days- Democratic Unionist Party head Arlene Foster wants the “military covenant” in the north as another concession to get talks restarted, 500 days since the collapse of the Stormont Assembly. The military covenant would give preference to former British troopers and Ulster Defense Regiment members in housing, school placements, and medical waiting lists etc. Martin McGuinness resigned over Foster’s refusal to stand aside while her Renewable Heat Initiative, “money to burn” scandal was under investigation. Foster approved a plan which pays a profit to burn fuel, costing 500 million pounds. She blames her advisors. Talks had ended in a Valentine’s Day breakup after a compromise that would have allowed an Irish language act with Ulster Scots and an overriding Respecting Languages Bill. That compromise dropped objections to Foster, despite the continuing inquiry. Now Foster wants more concessions. 

C-Corbin neutrality not enough for Unionists- Jeremy Corbin, of the British Labour Party made his first visit to the north since becoming leader of the opposition. He was slammed by unionists for saying he would be neutral in any border poll under the terms of the Good Friday agreement and that he regretted all deaths in the conflict, without one-sided condemnation of the IRA. Corbin, who had visited the north and Sinn Fein during the conflict, took pains to state that he was not advocating a border poll and that he was against all violence. He was merely saying he would abide by the agreement. However this even-handedness brought angry reaction from Unionists, led by Gregory Campbell of the DUP who wanted a special meeting with relatives of those killed by Republicans. Campbell is one of ten DUP MPs propping up Theresa May as Prime Minister.    

D-RUC partied in the back of Loughgall death van-A former member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary bragged about holding parties in the bullet-ridden van where IRA Volunteers were killed by the SAS in a May 1987 ambush. The revelation was posted on a Facebook page administered by former SAS members. It appeared alongside photographs of the van and slain Volunteers. Eight IRA members and a civilian were killed in the incident now due for a legacy inquest. Some members of this feared IRA Unit were believed shot after capture. The van was hit by 125 bullets. The post boasted that RUC members held parties in the van during continuity training in 1988, while a former SAS member posted underneath “it was one of the best nights of my career”. Relatives of the dead were shocked and hurt. A sister of one of those killed, Mairead Kelly said it was “depraved” and “no one with common decency would make fun of the dead”. Brian Arthurs said his brother Declan “gave his life in a struggle for the freedom of his country.” Meanwhile, the DUP continues to condemn dignified commemorations for slain IRA members.

REMEMBERING PATRIOTS WITH PRIDE

Special congratulations to George McLaughlin, Seamus Boyle and all of those who helped dedicate headstones for Thomas Darragh and Robert Cranston, two of the six Fenians rescued in a great escape from imprisonment in Australia and brought safely back to America on the Catalpa. The ceremony took place on May 5, 2018 in Philadelphia.

Congratulations also to all those in Suffolk County who were responsible for the Thomas Clarke-Kathleen Daly Clarke and who were honored by the Tyrone AOH in Thomas Clarke’s hometown of Dungannon. A full account of the ceremony is posted on the New York State web site and am arranging to deliver their plaque from Ireland.

On 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, a United Irishman 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.

YOUR FFAI EFFORTS ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

Having just returned from Ireland, I was deeply moved by how much our AOH FFAI work has meant to victims of British rule. At a meeting with Mark Thompson in Dungannon about a dozen families turned up. Each of them mentioned how important Mark’s Emergency Tour in January, the Congressional letter, and Congressional hearing were to them. They feel they have been told lies and stonewalled by the British for decades, when they ask for the truth about the murders of their loved ones. These families think that the British will use the DUP to cancel out any pressure for justice in the north, but that American pressure can make a difference.

These families, who have suffered so much, are grateful for our AOH FFAI help and are counting on us to continue. Mark is willing to return and also to enlist speakers from families of campaigns like the Ballymurphy Massacre which will be making headlines as the inquest begins this fall.

Every County who hosted an event last year had a tremendous success. I would like to host more tours and need your help for venues so I can propose something for our State President’s approval.

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.

Slan
Martin Galvin

Freedom For All Ireland Report – February 2018

by Martin Galvin
NYAOH FFAI Chair

A chairde:

FFAI ISSUES UPDATE

A-Valentine’s Day break-up at Stormont Assembly talks- Talks between the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein to end the 13 month Stormont stalemate broke off, with Arlene Foster claiming “no current prospect” of any deal, and Michelle O’Neill saying the DUP collapsed the talks. The breakup came after British Prime Minister Theresa May and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar traveled to Belfast for an expected signing.

Between an understanding reached Friday, and the arranged signing on Monday, unionist hysteria over leaked proposals of an Irish language act made Foster and the DUP back out, later denying any draft agreement.

The thirteen page draft agreement was then published by journalist Eamon Mallie and can be read on his website. Sinn Fein would accept Foster as First Minister, despite the ‘money to burn’ heating scandal that caused Martin McGuinness’ resignation. An Irish language act would have been included as one of three language bills, alongside an overriding “Respecting Language and Diversity Bill” and Ulster-Scots Bill. Legacy inquest funding and legacy mechanism funding would be covered separately by the British government. The DUP now denies agreeing to anything and called on the British to implement direct rule. Eileen Paisley, widow of DUP founder Ian Paisley blamed current party leaders for “creating this mess.”

B-Time for Truth March in Belfast-Thousands of victims’ families and campaigners converged on Belfast City Hall, demanding truth about murders of their loved ones. Many of the marchers carried crosses or large pictures with the names of murdered loved ones. Marchers from a number of victims’ campaigns joined together to slam the British government for giving the DUP a veto on legacy justice. John Teggart of the Ballymurphy Massacre families said the rally was about “telling the Government that people’s right to the truth is not some bargaining chip for political talks.” He called on the crown to release inquest funding requested by Chief Justice Declan Morgan. Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice, said it was wrong for the British government to say “if you guys can get a deal we will give victims their rights… these rights are obligations under the European Convention and Human Rights Act.”

C-Brexit border plan rejected by May and DUP- Legal proposals by the European Union to avoid customs and immigration barriers across the six counties after Brexit, were rejected by Theresa May and denounced by the DUP. The proposal by EU negotiator Michael Barnier in Brussels, was based on a December agreement between May and the European Commission President. The EU and Irish government want a common regulatory area with no internal borders and free movement of goods as a ‘backstop’ or ‘default’ arrangement, if a full trade deal or technological solution to the border could not be devised. May said no British “Prime Minister could ever agree to it” and Arlene Foster called it “economically catastrophic”. Ireland and the EU noted that the British still have no real alternative to a hard border.

DNewry parade battle for Irish flag-Following the successful fight against St. Patrick’s Day Parade bans on the Irish flag in Strabane and Derry, Newry has taken up the battle. Councillor Stephen Murney called the ban an “attempt to suppress and erode any display of Irish culture and heritage on a day of worldwide recognition of Irish culture”. In this heavily nationalist town marchers have been told that they are forbidden to carry the Irish national flag or even a flag with four provinces. Marchers are now threatening to defy the ban or boycott unless this ban is lifted.         

ENGLAND GET OUT OF IRELAND BANNERS

Rules of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade allow only two banners between the Irish and American flags. The only banners allowed are those identifying marching units and “England Get Out of Ireland”. These banners are a key theme of our parades. Once “Erin go Bragh” flags were used and were revolutionary. “Ireland forever” meant an Irish nation would exist and one day be free, outlasting British rule. This idea, often outlawed in Ireland, was carried proudly in American parades, where patriots among them Tom Clarke, John Devoy, O’Donovan Rossa etc would pledge to make it so and did.

Today the words “England Get Out of Ireland” signal our support for those still denied freedom for all Ireland. The words note that British rule serves English interests. Brexit, the DUP  veto, and the denial of legacy truth for those murdered by British crown forces or their agents are prime examples. 

IRELAND’S 1918 FREEDOM MANDATE

 The 1916 Easter Rising and Proclamation of an Irish Republic on April 24,1916 was a historic event. This year Ireland will celebrate another centenary without which 1916 would have lost much of its meaning.

The British, joined by the Irish papers and establishment politicians of the day denied any popular support for the Rising or an Irish Republic. The Irish party leader at the time John Redmond even told Westminster that the Irish people regarded 1916 “with utter detestation and horror”. They hoped to make 1916 one more unsuccessful rising, to be forgotten. Over the next two years all of that changed utterly.

Events like the executions, brutal treatment of those interned, death of Thomas Ashe, campaigns for prisoner candidates, ballads, and poets would awaken Ireland to the true meaning of 1916 and the Proclamation. At the 1918 British General Election, Ireland voted a mandate for freedom, by choosing representatives who pledged to go a free Irish parliament or Dail Eireann instead of Westminster.

At our New York State Convention the AOH resolved to remember and commemorate Ireland’s 1918 mandate for freedom. FFAI encourages this theme for speakers at Easter Commemorations or other appropriate occasions. Under the leadership of our worthy New York State President Vic Vogel we are even hoping to get a formal recognition at the State Legislature.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!

Please contact me at MGALVINESQ@AOL.COM.

Slan
Martin Galvin

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